Saturday, February 24Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Paper in Tagalog? History, Papermaking, and Manila Paper

Paper in Tagalog is called “papel,” and is a reliable partner of pencils, ballpens, and other writing tools. Despite the fast-changing technology that gradually introduces a paperless era, paper remains common. However, the global paper manufacturing industry is significantly impacted. The cost of making paper is also escalating. 

paper in tagalog
Manila paper in the Philippines

Remarkably, the paper boasts a rich history. The word “paper” originated from “papyrus,” a material derived from the papyrus plant, which was utilized as a writing surface by ancient Egyptians and Romans. However, the invention of the first paper-making technique is traditionally credited to a Chinese court official named Cai Lun (Ts’ai Lun), sometime in AD 105. 

Although “paper” already existed in Ancient China for centuries before Cai Lun’s time, he refined its production process. Lun created sheets of paper by mixing hem, mulberry bark, and rags with water. Subsequently, he mashed the mixture into a pulp and pressed out the liquid.  Once it turned into thin mats, Lun hung them under the sun. 

Nonetheless, the emergence of paper mills occurred in the Middle East several centuries later. It reached Europe sometime in the 11th century, especially in Spain. More paper mills were established in France, Italy, and all over Europe. The first paper mill in North America, known as Rittenhouse Mill, was built by William Rittenhouse in Pennsylvania in 1690. 

There are several kinds of paper, including bond paper, copy paper, glossy paper, matte paper, newsprint, and tissue paper. Incidentally, the Manila paper that we know was not invented by a Filipino, despite Manila being the capital of the Philippines. Instead, American brothers John Mark and Lyman Hollingsworth were granted a patent for it on December 4, 1843. 

Manila paper was originally made from a durable, yellowish-brown fiber known as Manila hemp ropes (abaca in Tagalog). The brothers got the idea of recycling abaca, which was initially used for ship-related purposes. Due to its affordability, Manila paper is commonly employed in the production of Manila folders and envelopes, but not in books and notebooks.

In the Philippines, the Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP) was established in Bislig, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, in 1963. Formerly known as Bislig Industries, PICOP was the only fully integrated pulp and paper mill in Southeast Asia at that time. However, due to legal and environmental constraints, among other factors, PICOP ceased operations in 2006.

Use papel in a sentence.


Kumuha kayo ang papel, magkakaroon kayo ng maikling pagsusulit maya-maya.


Get a piece of paper, you will have a quiz in a short while.


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