The Philippines is relatively a young
country in point of national development. While it is estimated to have
existed some 250 million years BP (Before Present), as evidenced by the
discovery of the oldest rock found in Palawan Island (Kasaysayan,
199, vol. 10, p.7), it became known to the West only when Magellan, the
Portuguese explorer and navigator saw the island of Homonhon, Samar on March
16, 1521. He claimed the islands in the name of the King of Spain and named
it St. Lazarus Archipelago because he discovered it on the eve of St.
Lazarus Day (Filipino Heritage, 1977, vol. 3, p. 814). But Ruy
Lopez de Villalobos who came later, renamed it Las Islas Felipinas in
honor of King Philip II of Spain. It was known as Filipinas
throughout the Spanish regime, then Philippine Island under the American
regime and in 1946 it became the Philippine Republic.
The earliest mention of the Philippines
is found in the work of Maximiliano Transilvano, De Molucis Insulis…1524
(Retana, Aparato Bibliografico, vol. 1, p. 1). Thus, began the
bibliographical control of materials about the Philippines.
in early bibliographical works list the first books printed in the
Philippines in 1593, antedating the first book printed in America by more
than three decades. The first three books printed by xylographic method are
the Doctrina Christiana en lengua espa¤ ola y tagala (also known as
the Tagalog doctrina); the Doctrina Christiana en letra y lengua China
(also called the Chinese doctrina), and the Tratado de la doctrina de
la Santa Iglesia, also in Chinese. The Tagalog doctrina and the Tratado
both have 1593 as the printing date, while the Chinese doctrina did not have
a date and scholars presume that this book was printed before 1593 perhaps
around 1590 because it did not have the approval of the King of Spain.
With the printing
press brought into the country by the Spaniards and with Chinese printers
who knew the art of printing, many books were printed by means of movable
types or typography. The first typographic book printed in 1604 was the
Libro de los Cuatro Postrimerias del Hombre by Fr. Francisco Blancas de
San Jose. From 1593-1640 around 57 books were printed by xylography and
typography methods and these are considered to be the Philippine incunabula.
By 1640, printing have reached a certain degree of excellence.
Jose Toribio Medina, a
Chilean bibliographer listed some 565 titles of books printed in Manila from
1593-1810 in his book. La Imprenta en Manila desde sus origines hasta
1810 (1896). Of this number, 526 titles are dated, 15 have no dates and
24 are of doubtful origin. His book is one of the earliest bibliographies to
discuss Philippine imprints. Retana says that this is the most complete
bibliography that has been compiled of printing in the Philippines
(Bernardo. Bibliography of Philippine Bibliographies, 1968, entry
Another writer on
Philippine bibliography was Wenceslao Emilio Retana y Gamboa, foremost
foreign Filipinologist who published several works on printing in the
Philippines and a catalog of works on the general history of the
Philippines. His Aparato Bibliografico de la historia general de
Filipinas in 1906 in three volumes contains some 2623 entries on books
about the Philippines regardless of what language it is written or where
published, Philippine imprints regardless of subjects; and publications of
Filipinos wherever published. The period covered was 1524 to 1905. There is
also a listing of periodicals published in the Philippines from 1811-1905.
Origenes de la imprenta filipina; investigaciones historicas, bibliograficas
y typograficas in 1911 which discusses the historical development of
Philippine printing with a list of Philippine incunabula from 1593-1640,
chronologically arranged and annotated. The work contains facsimiles of
title pages of some interesting Philippine incunabula. Another important
work regarding printing is his La imprenta en Filipinas Adiciones y
observaciones a la Imprenta en Manila de J. T. Medina published in 1897.
This work listed 212 titles which he corrected, of which 120 titles were not
mentioned by Medina. He also published a chronological list of events in
Philippine printing from 1593-1898 in his book Tablas cronologica y
alfabetica de imprenta e impresores de Filipinas 1593-1898) published in
To complete the
compilation of materials on printing in Manila by J.T. Medina, Angel Perez
and Cecilio Guemes, both friars of the Agustinian Order, published the
Adiciones y continuacion de "La Imprenta en Manila" de D.J.T. Medina; o
rarezas y curiosidades bibliograficas filipinas de las bibliotecas de esta
capital (Manila: Imprenta Santos y Bernal, 1904). The bibliography
includes a reprint of the Medina bibliography which appeared in La
Politica de Espana en Filipinas containing 404 items published
from1593-1810. Perez and Guemes added entry numbers 405 to 1316 or a total
of 911 entries and they extended the period to 1840.
bibliography is Pardo de Tavera’s Biblioteca Filipina…(Washington,
D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1903). It contains 2,850 titles relating
to the "peoples of the Philippines, Jolo, and Marianas, their history,
languages, literature, culture and other topics.". Entries are arranged
alphabetically except for some entries that have been grouped under some
bibliographies are Bibliography of the Philippine Islands: Printed and
Manuscripts. Preceded by a descriptive account of the most important
archives and collections containing Philippiniana by James Alexander
Robertson and Emma Helen Blair (1908, reprinted by Kraus Reprint Co. 1970).
This was originally published as vol. 53 of The Philippine Islands,
1493-1898. The bibliography includes actual imprints of the Philippine
Islands consisting of printed books and pamphlets as well as manuscripts
which constitute the bulk of the volume. It also lists Philippine
bibliographies and lists, catalogs of public and private libraries and sales
Philippine bibliography is the Bibliography of the Philippine Islands
compiled by the U.S. Library of Congress (1903). It includes "A List of
Books (with references to periodicals) in the Library of Congress by A.P.C.
Griffin; the chronological lists of maps in the Library of Congress by P.
Lee Phillips; and the "Biblioteca Filipina" prepared by Dr. Pardo de Tavera.
The classified list of books and of articles are chronologically arranged.
The principal bibliographical treatises on the Philippines were taken from
the works of Retana and Medina.
Of interest to
scholars and bibliographers and students of Philippine history are the works
of Gabriel A. Bernardo, Ichiro Mitamura, Isagani R. Medina, Helen Tubangui
and Isacio Rodriguez.
Bernardo compiled the
Bibliography of Philippine Bibliographies, 1593-1961 (Q.C. Ateneo
University Press, 1968). Published after Bernardo’s death, the work was
edited by Natividad P. Verzosa. It lists 1,160 title of Philippine and
foreign imprints of Philippine bibliographies and bibliographical lists,
catalogs of private and public libraries, sales catalogs and books and
pamphlets containing bibliographical information about the Philippines.
A companion volume to
this bibliography is Bernardo’s second major work, Philippine
Retrospective National Bibliography, 1523-1699 (Manila: The National
Library and Ateneo de Manila University Press, c1974) which he compiled with
the assistance of Natividad P. Verzosa and edited by John N. Schumacher, S.J.
It contains 760 entries relating to materials pertaining to the Philippines
whether published in the Philippines or in other foreign countries. Most of
the entries are foreign imprints about the great voyages of exploration,
conquest and colonization, particularly materials meant for the teaching of
the Catholic faith by the missionaries in the Philippines.
A sequel to the
Bernardo bibliographies is the Bibliography of Philippine
Bibliographies, 1962-19885 (Manila: Bibliography Division, The National
Library, 1987), compiled by Lily Orbase and Yolanda E. Jacinto. This is a
plain listing of materials acquired by the library, arranged by date of
publication and with no annotations. However, it gives the cataloging data
for each title.
of Philippine imprints is the work of Trinidad Palao, A Bibliography of
Filipiniana Imprints, 1800-1850. (U.P. MLS thesis, 1973). The
bibliography contains 859 entries in chronological order. The entries were
taken from various catalogs, checklists, bibliographies of Philippine
imprints including holdings of selected academic and research libraries, and
The National Library. The entries were compiled into a handy volume that
will show the extent of Philippine imprints for the period 1800 to 1850. A
sequel to it representing imprints from 1851 to 1900 was being prepared by
another graduate student but was not completed.
Another important work
is Isagani R. Medina’s Filipiniana Materials in The National Library
(Manila: The National Library and the University of the Philippines Press,
1972). The bibliography lists 2524 entries of selected materials found in
The National Library, the bulk of which is the Tabacalera Collection,
considered to be the "greatest single collection" of Filipiniana. This
collection became the nucleus of the Rare Books and Manuscript Room of The
compilation published before the second world war is Ichiro Mitamura’s
Bibliography of the Philippine Islands (Tokyo: Japan: Institute of the
Pacific, 1941). It contains 3058 titles about the Philippine Islands
arranged alphabetically by author’s name. The subject index is divided into
eight headings: 1) bibliographies, biographies, dictionaries, annuals, etc.;
2)general (histories, travels, etc.); 3) natural conditions (geography,
geology, biology, medicine, etc.); 4) cultural conditions (races, language,
religion, arts, education, etc.); 5) politics (defense, foreign relations,
laws, etc.); 6) social problems and policies (colonization and immigration,
population, nationalities, land system, etc.); 7) agriculture and economics
(finance, banking, commerce, travel, agriculture, communication, etc.); and
Publications about the
Philippines abound in countries with which the Philippines had relations.
This is true with Spain and Mexico. Helen E. Tubangui edited the book A
Catalog of Filipiniana at Valladolid (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila
University Press, c1973). The bibliography contains 2834 entries of dated
and undated materials found in the Filipiniana Collection of the Augustinian
College at Valladolid (Colegio de Filipinos). This listing was based on the
initial listing made by Dr. Domingo Abella. The dated works were published
from 1853 to 1953. The bibliography is divided into five sections: 1) dated
printed materials; 2) undated printed materials; 3 ) dated manuscripts; 4)
undated manuscripts; 5) periodicals.
In 1976, Fr. Isacio R.
Rodriguez, O.S.A., compiled the Updated Checklist of Filipiniana
Valladolid in two volumes (Manila: National Historical Institute,
Government Printing Office, 1976). This is the "first complete catalog of
the Filipiniana extant in the library of the Colegio de Padres Agustinos at
Valladolid". This updates and corrects the entries in the Tubangui
bibliography. There are 7135 entries of materials on the Philippines found
in the Library of the Augustinian order in Valladolid. The entries are
arranged by subjects; vol. 1 has entries 1-3165 arranged according to
General Works, History, Social Sciences, Economics, Sciences, Arts,
Language, and Literature. The main subjects are further subdivided into
subheadings. Vol. 2, has entries no. 3616-7135 arranged according to
Religion, Rizaliana and Supplementary. It has an extensive index in volume
Another important work
on Philippine materials found in Spain is the work of Bruce Cruikshank,
Filipiniana in Madrid; Fields Notes on Five Major Manuscript Collections
(Honolulu, Hawaii: Center for Asia and Pacific Studies, University of
Hawaii, 1984). It contains the manuscript materials on the Philippines found
in the Archivo Historico Nacional, Biblioteca Nacional, Museo Naval,
Palacio Nacional and Real Academia de la Historia, all in Madrid,
Spain. The work, considered to be the "first major effort to organize some
of the mountains of manuscripts on the Philippines in Madrid libraries and
archives" covers the entire Spanish period in the Philippines with majority
of the materials pertaining to the 19th century up to 1898.
works worthy of mention are the Catalogue of Filipiniana Materials in
the Lopez Memorial Museum (Manila, 1962). The catalog lists 3124
entries in a classified arrangement, following the Dewey Decimal
Classification Scheme: general works, history, social sciences, language,
sciences, arts, literature and religion. There is a section on Rizaliana.
Each subject area is further subdivided into subheadings. Some entries have
Another publication of
the Lopez Memorial Library is the Early Philippine Imprints in the Lopez
Memorial Museum (Manila, 1961). This compilation is the first
publication devoted to printed descriptions of the books in the Filipiniana
collection of the Lopez Memorial Museum. Fourteen early imprints from 1625
to 1697 are extensively described. Title pages and important parts of the
text are reproduced.
Verzosa lamented the
fact that Philippine national bibliographies are mostly non-current. Efforts
should be made to produce current bibliographies or update those that are
already published such as library catalogs, subject bibliographies, etc.
There are non-current
Philippine bibliographies that are still useful. Shiro Saito’s
bibliographical essay on The Philippines: A Review of Bibliographies
(Honolulu, Hawaii: East-West Center, 1966) is in three parts: I.
General bibliographies, national bibliographies, library and union catalogs,
bibliography of bibliographies; II. Bibliographies by subject: general,
anthropology and sociology, the arts, biography, economics, education,
geography, history, journalism, linguistics, literature, religion; III.
Bibliographies by forms of publications: academic and learned societies,
dissertations and research in progress, official publications, non-official
serials and statistics. There are 215 titles cited in the bibliographic
Catalog of Filipiniana Books and Pamphlets in the University of the
Philippines Library as of January 1, 1968, compiled by the U.P. Main
Library lists 9843 entries arranged by subjects and alphabetically by author
under each subject, in two parts. Part I lists entries from general
references to psychology and Part II lists entries from humanities to
military and naval science. There are three indexes.
A listing of
periodicals published in 1957 is the one compiled by Donn V. Hart and
Quintin A. Eala, An Annotated Guide to Current Philippine Periodicals.
(Ithaca, N.Y.: Yale University, 1957). This guide was the first such listing
of 312 titles in an attempt to "make more easily accessible the rapidly
increasing sources of new scattered, unorganized, and fugitive data on
Philippine subjects." The entries are arranged by subjects. Though out of
date, it is useful in identifying the serial publications of the period.
bibliographical tool is the 4-volume compilation of Graduate Theses in
Philippine Universities and Colleges, 1908-1969: An Annotated Bibliography,
compiled by Catalina A. Nemenzo (Quezon City: Philippine Center for Advanced
Studies, 1974). There are 8375 classified according to subjects. There are
many other bibliographies of theses and dissertations published by some
colleges and universities.
There are thousands of
Philippine bibliographies that have been compiled and published. The U.P.
Main Library has a database of Philippine bibliographies of around 1,500
entries as of 1998 representing general, universal, national, subject,
author, period, form, trade, etc. bibliographies.
There are very few
current bibliographies and often times these bibliographies are delayed in
publication. The National Library publishes the Philippine National
Bibliography in quarterly issues and annual cumulations. The
bibliography was first published in 1974. The bibliography covers works
published or printed in the Philippines, by Filipinos authors or about the
Philippines wherever published. It also includes government publications,
theses and dissertations.
The University of the
Philippines Library publishes the Philippine Union Catalog (1974-)
in quarterly issues and annual cumulations. This catalog is an author list
of Filipiniana materials currently acquired by the libraries in the system.
The catalog supersedes the Philippine Bibliography which was
published from 1963-64 to 1974 and the Filipiniana Union Catalog.
bibliography is the Catalog of Copyright Entries (1 1964- )
published by The National Library which lists books, manuscripts,
periodicals, pamphlets, dramatic-musical compositions and dramatizations,
translations, adaptations, etc. that are submitted for copyright privileges.
It also includes non-Filipiniana titles.
are important in listing Filipiniana publications for information of the
book trade, for use of libraries and other interested parties. The numerous
Philippine imprints are scattered in many bibliographical works and
libraries and information centers in the Philippines and other foreign
countries. Bibliographical tools are important in retrieving the information
about Philippine imprints.
On the whole,
bibliographies are important in accessing and retrieving the tremendous
output of the world’s presses. The information revolution and now, the
electronic revolution, has produced an awesome volume of information
resulting in an information overload that would be difficult, it not
impossible, to retrieve the relevant information needed by users.
mentioned in this narration are only a small part of the extensive
Philippine bibliographical works published since the works of Jose Toribio
Medina and Wenceslao Emilio Retana y Gamboa up to the present.