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FHL Imagines Batanes in New Exhibit

Filipinas Heritage Library has partnered with independent publisher Firetree Press in presenting IMAGINING BATANES, an exhibition and series of talks on the remote group of islands in northern Philippines.

Imagining Batanes opened on May 12 with a conversation among Quintin Pastrana, director of Firetree Press; Ivatan artists Victoria Abad Kerblat and Xavier Abelador; and Ivatan anthropologist Prof. Edwin Valientes. The conversation also presented Asa Ka Awan du Vatan (A Year in Batanes), Firetree Press’ maiden publication. This limited edition book and journal curates the vivid watercolors and narratives of the seasons, lives, and cultures that make up Batanes.

The event will consist of two more talks on Batanes life and culture. On May 23, Prof. Nestor T. Castro of the University of the Philippines Department of Anthropology will present “Nanau nu Mangalkem: Ivatan Indigenous Knowledge on Biodiversity Conservation.” Prof. Florentino H. Hornedo, himself an Ivatan and a member of the faculty at the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School, will deliver a lecture on “Word & Reality in Ivatan Traditional Lyric Poetry” on May 30.

Watercolors by artists from the Yaru nu Artes Ivatan Gallery in Batanes, as well as photographs by Opal Bala and Raena Abella, are displayed during the event, and shall form part of Retrato, the photo archive of Filipinas Heritage Library. Supplementing the exhibit are Ivatan artifacts from private collectors and related books from FHL’s Filipiniana collection.


Never Say ‘Never Judge a Book by Its Cover’

Get the Cover Story in FHL’s Latest Printed Word Lecture 
Never Say ‘Never Judge a Book by Its Cover’ is the bold statement proposed by the latest lecture in The Printed Word series, presented by Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL) and Prof. May Jurilla, PhD. The lecture, which will be held on 14 March 2015, Saturday, at the 2/F of the Ayala Museum, will tackle the brief history and function of book covers, from the medieval period to contemporary times. 
An accompanying exhibit curated by Dr. Jurilla will run at the 2/F of the Ayala Museum until 21 March. Included on display is an edition of Flora de Filipinas, a full-colored illustrated study on Philippine flora by Augustinian priest and botanist Manuel Blanco, as well as other iconic books from FHL’s Rare Books Collection, Roderick Hall Collection, and Pedro Ortiz Armengol Collection, that help trace the history of cover production in the Philippines.
Jurilla holds a PhD on Philippine book history from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, giving her the distinction of being the first Filipino book historian in the country. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Her previous Printed Word lectures are Revelations of the Book, on the history and the social context of printing in the Philippines, and Romancing the Book, on book production and proper care. 

An Open Door: Holocaust Rescue In The Philippines

A lecture and film screening

This presentation outlines how the unique political structure of the Philippine Commonwealth (1935-1946) allowed President Manuel Quezon, US High Commissioner Paul McNutt, members of the Jewish community in Manila, and Jewish relief organizations in the United States, Germany, and the Philippines to provide refuge for more than 1,300 Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Several Manilaner families will be introduced, and their experiences with Filipino friends and neighbors during the Japanese Occupation and Battle for Manila will be recounted. Following liberation, most of the refugees left war-torn Manila, but kept an affection for the Philippines and Filipinos that lasted the rest of their lives and passed to their children and grandchildren. This came to fruition in a dedicated relief campaign in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, led by the son/grandson/nephew of Manilaners.


Manila, My City at War! at the Ayala Museum

“Now but a valley of shudders was Manila, where the famine had become visible as bloated bodies collapsed on the sidewalks.”
Thus Nick Joaquin describes the city during the Japanese occupation in World War II, from 1942 to 1945. It was a time of hunger, pillage, rape, massacre, and bombing. Children were bayoneted in front of their mothers; bodies hit by flying shrapnel lined the distance from hiding places to artesian wells. Books, paintings, and buildings burned to ashes. It was also a time when American internees created zines and comics; Tagalog was used without being described as “malalim”; and music alternated with air raid sirens and radio propaganda.
Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL) seeks to recall this period in history with Manila, My City at War!, a commemorative event for the 70th year of the Battle for Manila on February 3 to March 3, 2015 at the Ayala Museum. The event will consist of a mini conference and exhibit that aim to show the various losses brought about by war. It hopes to open a space for awareness as well as reflection: The Battle for Manila was the war of the present generation’s grandparents. What would this generation go to war for, and what would we be willing to risk losing?

The Library that Partnership Built

Finding a home for learning—especially one for elementary school children—is not an easy task. From understanding the needs of the students to assembling and curating the right reading material for them, the challenge goes beyond building infrastructure. It is a multi-layered challenge, but one that can be readily met by different partners coming in with the right help at the right time.


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