If you are a treasure hunter in the Philippines or if you do have an interest with the hidden Yamashita treasure then you might already came across some treasure maps. Your friend or one of your fellow treasure hunters might have shown you one. Or, you have seen one posted here on the internet.
The big question about these treasure maps especially coming from the amateurs is “how to know if they are real or fake?”
Yamashita treasure maps are indeed real where the JIA (Japanese Imperial Army) had drawn or sketched them on some kind of special papers and pieces of clothing.
On some cases, they also engrave maps on special wooden surfaces, rocks, and concretes.
Maps sketched on papers usually have specialized containers. This is to protect it and maintain its preservation.
One of the best containers that I have seen was made out of a bamboo tree. It was a capsule container with beautiful carving designs coated with varnish paint.
The map needs to be rolled before storing it inside the bamboo container.
The cap was also made out of bamboo which perfectly fit at the opening of the container.
Other containers which are more common that I have seen around were simply made out of wooden boxes. Majority that I have seen had engraved or painted Japanese Kanji on the boxes’ outside surfaces.
When it comes to clothing used by the JIA, I have commonly seen white special cloths that are made out of silk. In my opinion, they were probably cloths that they use in making their own JIA flags.
Aside from the white cloths, I have also seen brown cloths. In my opinion, it was what they used for their army uniforms. Some treasure hunters claims that the JIA had intentionally drawn their Yamashita treasure maps at the internal side of their uniforms particularly their coats.
Unlike treasure maps sketched on papers which can be easily confiscated, the maps sketched at the inner side of their coats will less likely to draw attentions when they got captured or when they surrender.
Surprisingly, the JIA also engraved treasure maps on surfaces of woods and rocks.
Most of my experience where I encountered engraved maps on wooden surfaces was on old houses used by the JIA as their temporary shelter.
However, the engraved maps were not obviously exposed but hidden somewhere around the corners of the old house. Common places where you can find them are at the inner side of the wooden floor, ceiling, and wall.
As for the rocks, the JIA had with them some kind of powerful chemical that can easily dissolve rocks. This explains why they were able to carve artistic symbols on surfaces of even the hardest type of rock around.
Going back to the question above, JIA treasure maps are real but someone can always create fake ones.
People who create fake treasure maps only have one intention which is to scam or trick someone.
Common fake treasure maps that are circulating around are printed copies. They are even being sold for a certain price.
At first, I thought that no one would fall for this trickery. But, I never imagined that many had already been tricked. Majority of them were complete amateurs and desperate treasure hunters.
How about those treasure maps engraved on rocks and wooden surfaces? Can they also be faked by someone?
The answer is, “yes”. Anyone today can easily do it because of the availability of tools that we now have today.
Intentionally carved and fake treasure maps or signs are referred by most treasure hunters as “planted”. Again planted markings are used by scammers to trick amateur treasure hunters.
In most cases, the scammer will ask for money in exchange for showing the planted treasure map to the victim. And as their common tactic, all they want is to get paid and they can now depart from the group.
They will directly ask for payment while promising that they don’t need to be given any amount of share from the treasure when recovered.
At the end, the victimized treasure hunters go searching for nothing simply wasting a lot of their precious time, effort, and financial budget.
So how can you deal with it?
The answer is by “experience”. As a professional treasure hunter, I can now easily identify legit markings from the fake ones. This is a topic covered on a separate post.
Mother Treasure Map of the Philippines
Some of the common question often asked from my FaceBook Messenger is about their places asking if the JIA had buried or hidden any treasures in their areas.
Some places that are often asked include Cebu, Davao, Benguet, Nueva Viscaya, Bohol, Leyte, and etc…
I have to say that Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao or pretty much the entire Philippine have treasure deposits on them.
I can say this not because I traveled every corners of the Philippines but I have seen the so called “Mother Treasure Map”.
During my younger days as an amateur, I had with me a mentor who was a Filipino. Quite interestingly, he had connections to various JIA War Veterans.
There was this one time when my mentor asked me to accompany him to his Japanese friend. At that time, I had no idea that we were meeting a high ranking JIA officer who possesses a lot of treasure maps.
I really couldn’t grasps what my mentor and the Japanese veteran were talking about. Until, the old Japanese veteran brought out a large piece of rolled silk cloth and spread it on the table.
To my shocking surprise, it was the Mother Map of all hidden Japanese treasures in the Philippines.
I am curious as to who really was the old Japanese guy and why was he in possession of the Mother Map. Unless, he was the infamous JIA, General Tomoyuki Yamashita which makes the rumors true that they probably faked his death.
Unfortunately, my mentor instructed me not to ask any questions or join their conversation. So I remained silent for the entire period of time.
The meeting ended when the old Japanese guy handed three copies of treasure maps to my mentor. These were projects that we started working from that moment on.
Sadly, I only had spent a few years time with my mentor before he tragically died by accident. I also failed to make him reveal the real identity of that old Japanese guy.
Huge Advantage of a Treasure Map
If you are in possession of an authentic treasure map, this actually gives you a huge advantage of being able to recover the hidden item with minimal effort.
It’s because a treasure map already shows all the reference points, distances, directions, and even warnings against dangerous traps. The only problem is that, maps are still encrypted which must be decoded.
Have you already experienced discovering a marker on a certain site without any other signs nearby?
If you did then that marker is definitely a reference point. It is also a clear indication that the deposit hidden on that place has a treasure map.
Without the treasure map, it’s going to be hard for you to find the item’s exact hidden spot.
Let’s further explain it in details so it’s easier for you to understand.
On a treasure map, all reference points are indicated. These reference points often have markings consisting of letters and numbers. They actually mean nothing since they are only used as a reference.
Assuming that you found the place indicated by the treasure map. The first thing that you have to do is to search for the actual reference points.
Let’s say that you found a rock with engrave markings of FR808211. Confirm it on the treasure map and if it is a match then you are at the right place.
From this point, you can easily find the other reference points until it leads you into the exact location of the hidden target.
How Treasure Maps Got into the Hands of Treasure Hunters?
Let’s disregard fake treasure maps that are merely created by scammers on this part of the discussion.
Above, I already mentioned my mentor who had strong connections to various JIA War Veterans. There are actually many other stories that are similar to this where they obtained their treasure maps from Japanese veterans who used to serve the JIA.
There are also half Filipino-Japanese treasure hunters who acquired their treasure maps from their Japanese side parents.
In the near end of WWII, some treasure maps got confiscated by the Allied Forces while some got looted by the locals from the dead bodies or belongings of the JIA soldiers particularly the officers.
This explains why some locals and foreign nationals especially Americans do have treasure maps as well.
Some claims that foreigners including the Japanese who were in possession of treasure maps simply gave them away to the locals as an act of generosity. But the main reason is that, they had a hard time searching for the right place until they had finally given up.
Another common case on how various individuals luckily got their treasure maps is that they discovered it.
I know someone who got his treasure map inside the hole of an old tree. According to him, when he climbed on the old tree, he saw a slight shining object inside the hole of the tree’s big branch.
Grabbing what he saw directly was a bad idea because there could be snake inside the hole. So he snapped a twig from the tree itself and used it to uncover the object.
He discovered a small cylindrical container which contained a treasure map.
There was another similar case to this one that I know but the difference is that, he got his treasure map inside the crevice of a rock.
In my own opinion about why the JIA did hide them on those kinds of places is that they were in hot pursuit by the Allied Forces. Rather than to be confiscated, they hid them on places where they can easily obtain it back at a later time but they failed. Some even left signs as clues to be able to retrieve them.
Since treasure maps sketched on papers and clothing can be easily confiscated or endure damages, some of the JIA had chosen to engrave their treasure maps on the surrounding objects particularly on rocks and wooden surfaces.
One interesting experience that I had was a treasure map engraved on a rock. The rock was about 5 feet in length and 3 feet in height. It was a flat rock.
On top of it was an engraved sign. When we managed to flip it upside down, the treasure map was revealed from the bottom side of the rock.
Another interesting experience that I had was about a treasure map engraved on a wooden surface.
There was this old house that was originally owned by the Spaniards. It is a house that is mostly made out of wood. The main base or flooring of the house is not resting on the ground but there’s about 5 feet space in between.
At that time, underneath the house was filled with spider webs. This must be the reason why the previous treasure hunters did not even attempt to check it out.
Bravely, one of my team went under and there he discovered a well carved treasure map from the wooden floor.
Being able to obtain a Yamashita treasure map does gives you an edge of being able to find the hidden treasures. But the real problem today by most treasure hunters is that they do not know if the map is even real or fake.
Perhaps the best way for you to know about it is when there is money involved. In short, never pay or buy a claimed Yamashita treasure map.