19 July 2011

themasterviajero travels...

Your Lakbayan grade is B-!

I really have to visit Mindanao ASAP!!

17 June 2011

waking up from blogging hibernation...

It's about time! I can hear my blog shouting those words into my face.

Yeah. It has been a while since I last updated this blog and even really talk about my travels. I know there should be no excuse in me blogging the places I had been in the past two years. But when it's time for me to blog, I always ended up staring blankly at my monitor. I could not even complete a paragraph!

Now that I have more time in my hands, I think it's about time that I blog and share my experiences in my travels. Here is a list of where my itchy feet brought me:

(1) One-night-only affair with Singapore
(2) Revisited Bangkok (this time with family), and toured Ayutthaya and Sukhothai
(3) ala-Survivor trip to Caramoan, and Albay
(4) Giant Lantern Festival and San Fernando Heritage District and church visits in Pampanga
(5) Got in touch with nature at the La Mesa Eco Park
(6) Church visits in Lipa, Batangas

(1) Ilocandia Tour (Pagudpud-Paoay-Laoag-Vigan-Baguio)
(2) Got tanned and island hopped in Coron with family
(3) Got tanned even more in Boracay
(4) Went solo to Dumaguete and Siquijor

(1) Taal Heritage Walk Tour with fellow bloggers
(2) Danced to the beats of the drums at the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo
(3) Got a stiff neck at the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Clark
(3) Traveled to Batad for a cause
(4) Danced (under the rain) the night away in Puerto Galera
(5) Solo and quick weekend trip to Boracay
(6) More beach getaway, this time to Magalawa Island
(7) Trekked and enjoyed the sunrise in Mt. Pulag

themasterviajero is back, indeed....

17 November 2010

books from the book fair

Book fairs are bibliophiles' heaven, and the 31st Manila International Book Fair held last September 15-19 was not an exception. Latest pay was burning a hole in my pocket, so I immediately went to the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex.

The fair did not disappoint me. It showcased even more books, magazines and booths by at least 150 local and foreign exhibitors. I visited first the NHI booth for their cheap books and then headed to the Bookmark booth. Alas! Some of the books I had been dying to buy were on sale, and there were new publications as well. Without hesitation, I grabbed as many books as I can and ended up purchasing the hard-to-find ones, not to mention expensive.

I ended up buying the following books, all Filipiniana, if you can call it as such:

(1) Angels in Stone Augustinian Churches in the Philippines - This book chronicles the achievement of the Augustinians who arrived in 1565 in building towns and constructing majestic churches. The book focuses on 162 churches around Luzon and the Visayas, notably the four churches cited for preservation by the UNESCO World Heritage List: Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Sta. Maria Church in Ilocos Sur, Miagao Church in Iloilo, and the San Agustin Church in Intramuros.

Published by Bookmark
400 pp

(2) San Agustin: Art & History (1571-2000) - The book is a history and guide to one of the most enduring monuments of Manila.
The book is divided into two sections. The first discusses the history of the church and monastery and the second is a detailed "walking tour" of the San Agustin church monastery-museum complex. San Agustin features photos (in color and other archival photos), maps and a 400-year comprehensive chronology of the Church, the monastery, and the museum.

Published by Bookmark
165 pp

(3) Philippine Picture Postcards 1900-1920 - This is the first publication devoted to views of life in the country, how Filipinos looked and lived. The author has acquired over 2,000 postcards that are included in the book.

Published by Bookmark
119 pp

(4) Virgin of Penafrancia: Mother of Bicol - This book is a photo-documentary on the celebrated devotion to the Virgin Mary under the title of Penafrancia. Texts, using archival documents and oral interviews, are combined with vintage and contemporary photographs to give a comprehensive picture of the history, rites and people that make the devotion a truly living tradition for the Bicolano.

Published by Bookmark
93 pp

(5) Remembering World War II in the Philippines, Volume 1 - This book contains the lectures delivered on February 2005, marking the anniversary of the Battle for Manila (February 1945). It echoes the sentiments of survivors, civilians, soldiers and guerillas.

Published by the National Historical Institute
128 pp

(6) History from the People (Volume 1 ed by Digna Apilado . Covered in this volume are local histories from Abra, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.) - Proceedings of the 1998 Centennial Regional Seminar-Workshop Series on Oral and Local History. Each volume is intended to show the variety and richness of the Filipino historical heritage from Luzon to Visayas and Mindanao.

Published by the National Historical Institute
124 pp

(7) Historical Markers Metro Manila - List of historical markers installed within Metro Manila. Divided into buildings and structures, churches, and other places of piety; institutions (educational, charitable, etc); military sites; monuments and historical landmarks; personages and sites.

Published by the National Historical Institute
278 pp

(8) Frailocracy in the Philippines - The greatest propagandist of the Filipino race writes about the Spanish friar “government” in the Philippines. Originally published in 1979.

Published by the National Historical Institute
75 pp

(9) Cebu: A Place for all seasons - A handy, informative and colorful book on Cebu.

Published by Bookmark
143 pp

(10) History of books and libraries in the Philippines, 1521-1900 - A study of the sources and chronology of events pertaining to Philippine library history from the sixteenth to the end of the nineteenth century.

Published by The National Commission for Culture and the Arts
248 pp

07 March 2009

More books!!

(1) The Philippines Through European Lenses: Late 19th Century Photographs From The Meerkamp Van Embden Collection by Otto van den Muijzenberg --- This book contains photographs of the Philippines during the nineteenth century which was made by P.K.A. Meerkamp van Embden, a Dutch businessman who later served as honorary consul of the Netherlands from 1889 to 1927. The years covered by his photographs witnessed the increasing integration of the Philippines into the world economy, the 1896 Revolution and the violent change of sovereignty from Spanish to American. The photographs are thus significant as a Dutchman’s perspective on a watershed period in Philippine history. The subjects are varied: the people, streets and homes of Ermita, where Meerkamp resided; the abaca trade; Romblon and Cebu. An added bonus are photographs of the peoples of the Cordillera by Dr. Alexander Schadenberg. The text that ties together the ensemble was written by Dr. Otto van den Muijzenberg, a Dutch anthropologist who has spent years doing fieldwork in the Philippines and has a deep knowledge of its culture and history.

Published by Ateneo Press
368 pp
Fully Booked, Greenbelt 5 (P500)

(2) The Titanic Experience: The Legend of the Unsinkable Ship by Beau Riffenburgh
--- I am a big fan of the ship itself. I also have the books of Walter Lord. The Titanic Experience contains photographs, facsimile items of the Titanic memorabilia and first hand accounts from the survivors, providing an insight into life aboard the ship.

Published by Carlton
70 pp
Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street (gift)

05 March 2009

A Guide to the National Library

Pambansang Aklatan (The National Library)
T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita,Manila 1000
Tel. Nos.: 525-1748/525-3196
Website: http://www.nlp.gov.ph/
Reading Rooms/Library Services Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday to Saturday

How to get there:
Cab: Just tell the cab driver National Library in T.M. Kalaw. (fare - around 120 Php from Makati)
PUJ: No idea
MRT/LRT: from EDSA - Get off MRT Taft Station. Walk towards the LRT Taft station. Buy 1-way ticket (15 Php). Get off at the UN Avenue Station. Walk down UN Avenue then turn right on Mabini Street. Cross T.M. Kalaw to reach the library.

New library users must first apply for a library card. You cannot read and even browse books without a library card. Apply for the ID at the cashier, located on your left upon entering the building. You must have a 1x1 photo for the library card and a valid ID. Pay 50 Php for the card, glue the 1x1 photo and sign it.

You must deposit your bag (if you have one) at the bags counter, located on the right side of the first floor (or the East Wing). You can only bring your library card, pen, paper and valuables. You then proceed to the floor of your choice.

Information Technology Division - 1st Floor, Data Center
Reference Division - 2nd Floor, West Wing
Filipiniana Division - 3rd Floor, West Wing
Public Libraries Division - 3rd Floor, East Wing
Catalog Division - 4th Floor, West Wing
Research and Publication Division - 4th Floor, West Wing
Finance and Administrative Division - 4th Floor, East Wing
Bibliographic Services Division - 4th Floor Mezzanine, West Wing
Collection Development Division - 5th Floor, East Wing

My destination is always the Filipiniana Division on the 3rd floor, as I wanted to research about the history of Intramuros. First thing to do is to log in at the division entrance. The library has the NLP OPAC system where you can search for materials that library has. It's like doing a Google search, type in the title of the material and the system will give you the results.

You then write the title, author, shelf location and call number of the book on the query cards (You can get these from the librarians). Present the query card to the librarian and you will be given the exact shelf number. You have to look for the book yourself. It's quite easy to find the books since they are well-organized.

By the way if you want to photocopy the books, it's 1 Php per page and you can only bring out 2 books at a time. For their microfilm printing (2nd Floor, East Wing), if I remember it right it's 7 Php per page.

Services of NLP
1. Online Public Access Catalog (on-site and via Internet)
2. Philippine eLibrary Kiosk Services
3. Reading Room Services
4. Photocopying Services
5. Microfilm and Digital Material Printing Services
6. Storytelling Services
7. Copyright registration Services
8. ISBN registration Services
9. ISSN registration Services
10. ISMN registration Services
11. Library tour Services

30 September 2008

national library of the philippines

The National Library of the Philippines building isn't that impressive like the other Neo-Classical buildings near the area (i.e., old Legislative Building). I believe it's a five-story structure that needs to be torn down! Our rare Filipiniana collections deserves a much better edifice, a structure conducive for reading and research! I for one didn't know the history of the library but thanks to the internet and published books, I am now aware of its rich history (with its vast pre-war collection). Here are some of the information I was able to gather about its history and collection.


The forerunner of what is now The National Library may be traced back to the last decade of the Spanish colonial period, with the inauguration of the Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas in 1891. Its location was on No. 12, Gunao Street, Quiapo, Manila. It had a collection of about 100 Filipiniana works open to the public free of charge.

The Philippine-American War brought damage to the collection; those recovered passed on to the collection of the American Circulating Library organized by the American Circulating Library Association of Manila on March 9, 1900. The American Circulating Library had some 10,000 volumes of collection, composed wholly of American books, most of which were fiction, while its Filipiniana comprised only a small portion. The Library's first location was on 70 Rosario St., Binondo, Manila.

The Association found it hard to maintain the Library's expenses. It decided to donate its collection to the American Military government in the Philippines. Act No. 96 passed by the Philippine Commission on March 5, 1901 formalized the donation. This date marks the foundation of public libraries in the Philippines.

In May 1904, the Library moved to the Oriente Hotel on Plaza Calderon de la Barca between Oriente and Veronica Streets. The government reorganization in November 1905 made the Library a division of the Bureau of Education. Hence, in March 1906, it moved again to the Bureau of Education building located at the corner of Cabildo and Recoletos Streets, Intramuros, Manila.

The lawmakers in the Philippines Assembly created the Philippine Public Library through Act No. 1849, June 3, 1908. A year after, on May 20, 1909, Act No. 1935 was passed renaming the Library as Philippine Library. In October 1911, the Library change its location to a building along Santa Potentiana Street, Intramuros, Manila. It stayed there until July 1927. Meanwhile, Act No. 2572 of January 31, 1918 merged the Library with two other offices - the Executive Bureau's Division of Archives, Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks and the Law Library of the Philippine Assembly - to be named The Philippine Library and Museums.

Act No. 3477 passed on December 7, 1928 separated the Museum from the Library, the one becoming the National Museum, the other The National Library. The latter moved to the Legislative Building remaining there until 1944. The reorganization of the Library after World War II also changed its location to the former Bilibid Prison, Oroquieta St., Sampaloc, Manila starting in June 1945. Executive Order No., 94, series 1947 changed the name of the Library to Bureau of Public Libraries which went back in June 1950 to its previous location at the Legislative Building. After several months there, the Philippine Assembly ordered it to move out, occupying the old Philippine Assembly buildings instead at the corner of Lepanto (now S.H. Loyola) and P. Paredes St., in Sampaloc.

In 1955, the Library moved once more to the discarded buildings of the Department of Foreign Affairs on Arlegui St., although the General Reference Division was still housed on P. Paredes Street and the Research and Bibliography Division, including the Binding Section were still located in the old Bilibid Prison in Oroquieta St. The passage of Republic Act No. 3873, June 18, 1964, reverted the name to the National Library.

Finally, from different locations, the Library is now located on the southeast side of Rizal Park. The building faces T.M. Kalaw Street, occupies a total of 26,400 sq.ft. of ground and has a total floor space of 198,700 sq.ft. It was inaugurated in June 1961 in commemoration of the 100th birth anniversary of the Filipino national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

Old Legislative Building


Built in 1921, the Legislative Building at the corner of Taft Avenue and P. Burgos Drive was intended to be used as a museum-library as proposed in Burnham's Plan for Manila. The building was part of the "Capitoline structure," an impressive design in neo-classical architecture for a government center made by David H. Burnham.

The building, which occupies an entire triangular block, was started early in the 1920's. Work on it was sporadic, however, and it was finished in 1926 at a cost of P4,075,000. Upon the establishment of the Commonwealth government, the building became the Legislative Building (popularly Congress Building). Only half-finished, the National Library was allowed to occupy the basement. Though built to be earthquake-resistant, the building did not survive the Second World War devastation when the liberation forces bombed and shelled the building where the Japanese troops had made one of their last stands in Manila. Except for the central portion, the structure was beyond repair.

The building was reconstructed with some modifications. Designed by Ralph Doane and Antonio Toledo, the facade of the buildign had classical features using stylized Corinthian columns, ornamentation and Renaissance inspired sculptural forms.


The bulk of the holdings of the National Library and Museum had been moved into the basement of the Legislative Building in the belief that it was a stronghold, safer than the other buildings they had been stored in. The Legislative Building, of course, was completely destroyed. The library holdings included 300,000 books and 25,000 assorted journals and pamphlets. The originals of some Rizal letters and other documents had been deposited in the Manila City Hall vault. They were never found again.


Today, the National Library has almost a million volumes of books, monographs, newspapers, and picture collections. Housed in the National Library of the Philippines are the following valuable collections: The President Manuel L. Quezon Papers, the President Manuel A. Roxas Papers, the Julian Cruz Balmaceda Collection, the Lope K. Santos Collection, the General Carlos P. Romulo Memorabilia, the Philippine Revolutionary Papers (1892-1906), rare Philippine newspapers and magazines such as El Indio Agraviado, La Lectura Popular, El Renacimiento, Muling Pagsilang, El Crito del Pueblo, El Heraldo de la Revolucion, and La Independencia. The "crown jewels" of the National Library are the Dr. Jose P. Rizal manuscripts, notably the original manuscripts of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

Another part of history of the Philippines is the Philippine incunabulas. The incunabulas are the printed works thatwereproduced by the native printing press when it was still at its infancy. National Library of the Philippines has in its possession four extant copies of eight Philippine incunabulas.

Legislative Building Background: Official Buildings of the House of Representative
- The Legislative Building; and Imperial Tapestry: American Colonial Architecture in the Philippines by Norma I. Alarcon, Fuap; p. 132-133
Victim of War: By Sword and Fire: The Destruction of Manila in World War II
by Alfonso Aluit; p. 408
Current Collections: Manila Bulletin Article 107th Anniversary of the National Library of the Philippines; and National Library of the Philippines by Adoracion Mendoza Bolos; p. 232

Image: Imperial Tapestry: American Colonial Architecture in the Philippines by Norma I. Alarcon, Fuap; p. 133

29 September 2008

luneta hotel

If you are at the corners of T.M. Kalaw Avenue and Roxas Boulevard, and you see an old, abandoned (and now being renovated) building, that is the famous Luneta Hotel. I immediately recognized the hotel when I was on my way to the library. I became aware of its existence after browsing through a Heritage Watch forum. Now abandoned, one can wonder how it would have looked like in the 1920s. In the old picture of hotel below one can even see that it faced an unfenced bermuda plane of the Luneta, and its neighbors are no more than blocks of humble bahay na bato and bodegas.

Old Luneta Hotel

According to Wikipedia, Luneta Hotel was completed in 1918. A study done by Dean Joseph Farnandez of the University of Santo Thomas revealed that the hotel was designed by the Spanish architect-engineer Salvador Farre. The six-storey hotel is the only remaining example of the French Renaissance architecture with Filipino stylized beaux arts in the Philippines to date. The burnt out building survived the Second World War but never recuperated from its war wounds. The Luneta has been renovated in 1972 but the hotel has continuously deteriorated since then.

In a 1998 article "Restoration, not demolition, says Luneta Hotel’s new owner", Inquirer columnist and HCS founding member Bambi Harper described the “whimsical gargoyles in the form of lions, crocodiles, griffins and other mythical creatures that serve as decorative supports of (the hotel’s) balconies.” She also talked about the “delicate filigreed railings (on the balconies) that add a touch of lightness to the solid concrete facade.”

Also in a Heritage Conservation Society article Luneta Hotel and the Beautiful Era, it mentioned that the hotel has been known to serve rich breakfast and lunch, exotic among foreigners of the time. It’s just interesting to note that the gargoyles that adorn the building are meant to keep the water away from the walls so it would maintain a pristine appearance. It isn’t just burloloy, it actually has function. Its walls would turn into gold when the sun strikes it at high noon and onwards.

Wouldn't these be good reasons for the hotel to be restored? By the way the Luneta Hotel (like the Museo Pambata) was declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute.)