Piloncitos are tiny engraved bead-like gold bits unearthed in the Philippines. They are the first recognized coinage in the Philippines circulated between the 9th and 12th centuries. They emerged when increasing trade made barter inconvenient.
The term piloncito comes from the word pilon, a local sugar container that resembles the coin. They are engraved with the Brahmanic character "ma" which looks like an upside down "R". We can only guess that this character refers to the pre-colonial kingdom of Ma-yi which is roughly the Philippines we know today.
Many piloncitos were unknowingly melted into jewelry in the past and very few exist today.