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       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.

       Succeeding references 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.

Bibliographical Works

       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 no. 227).

       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.

       Retana published 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 1908.

       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.

       Another important 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 subheadings.

       Other significant 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 catalogs, etc.

       Another extensive 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.

       Another bibliography 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 National Library.

       An important 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 8) miscellaneous.

       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 two.

       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.

       Other bibliographical 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 minimum annotations.

       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 onThe 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 essay.

       A Classified 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.

       Another noncurrent 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.

Current 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.

       Another current 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.

       Current bibliographies 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.

       The bibliographies 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.

Bernardo, Gabriel A. Bibliography of Philippine Bibliographies, 1593-1610. Compiled by Gabrield Bernardo. Edited by Natividad P. Verzosa. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila Press, 1968. 209 p. (Occasional Papers of the Department of History, Ateneo de Manila, Bibliographical Series no. 21).Bernardo, Gabriel A. and Natividad P. Versoza. Philippine Restrospective National Bibliography, 1523-1699. Compiled by Gabriel A. Bernardo with the assistance of Natividad P. Versoza. Edited by John N. Schumacher. Manila: The National Library, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, c1974. 160 p.(Occasional Papers of the Department of History, Ateneo de Manila, Bibliographical Series, no. 3).Cruikshank, Bruce. Filipiniana in Madrid: Field Notes on Five Major Manuscript Collections. Honolulu, Hawaii: Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Hawaii, May 1984. (Philippine Studies Occassional Paper no. 6, ed. by Belinda A. Aquino).Lopez Memorial Museum. Catalogue of Filipiniana Materials in the Lopez Memorial Museum. (Manila): 1962. 262 p.

Lopez Memorial Museum. Early Philippine Imprints in the Lopez Memorial Museum. (Manila): 1961. 45 p.

Medina, Jose Toribio. La Imprenta en Manila desde sus Origines hasta 1810. Santiago de Chile: Impreso y Grabado en casa del Autor, 1896; reprint edition published by N. Israel at Amsterdam, 1964. 280 p.

Medina, Isagani R. Filipiniana Materials in the National Library. Compiled and edited by Isagani R. Medina. Quezon City: The National Library and the University of the Philippines Press, 1972. 353 p.

Hart, Donn V. and Quintin A. Eala. An Annotated Guide to Current Philippine Periodicals. (Itaca, N.Y.): Yale University, 1957. 116 p. (Yale University, Southeast Asia Studies, Bibliography Series).

Nemenzo, Catalina A. Graduate Theses in Philippine Universities and Colleges, 1908-1969: An Annotated Bibliography. Quezon City: Philippine Center for Advance Studies, 1974. 4 vols.

Mitamura, Ichiro. Bibliography of the Philippine Islands. Tokyo, Japan: Institute of the Pacific, 1941. 290 p.

Palao, Trinidad. Bibliography of Philippine Imprints, 1800-1850. Quezon City: University of the Philippines, 1974. (Master of Library Science thesis).

Pardo de Tavera, Trinidad H. Biblioteca Filipina…(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1903. 439 p.

Perez, Angel and Cecilio Guemes, O.S.A comp. Adiciones y Continuacion de La Imprenta en Manila de D. J. T. Medina. Manila: Imprenta de Santos y Bernal, 1904. 620 p.

Philippine National Bibliography, 1st, 1974 – Manila: The National Library, 1974 –

Philippine Union Catalog, 1974 – Quezon City: University of the Philippines Library, 1974 –

Philippines. National Library. Catalog of Copyright Entries, 1964 –

Philippines. National Library. Bibliography of Philippine Bibliographies, 1962-1985. Comp. by Lily O. Orbase and Yolanda E. Jacinto. Manila: National Library, Bibliography Division, 1987. (TNL Research Guide Series no. 22).

Retana y Gamboa, Wenceslao Emilio. Aparato Bibliografico de la Historia General de Filipinas; deducido de la coleccion que posee en Barcelona la Compania General de Tabacos de dichas islas. Madrid: Impr. de la Sucesora de M. Minuesa de los Rios, 1906. 3 vols. Impresion al offset, Pedro B. Ayuda y Compania, Manila: 1964.

Retana y Gamboa, Wenceslao Emilio. La Imprenta en Filipinas. Adiciones y observaciones a la Imprenta en Manila de J. T. Medina. Madrid: (Impr. de la Viuda de M. Minuesa de los Rios), 1897. 276 p.

Retana y Gamboa, Wenceslao Emilio. Origines de la Imprenta Filipinas; Investigaciones Historicas, Bibliograficas y Typografias. Madrid: Libreria General de Victoriano Suarez, 1911. 204 p.

Robertson, James Alexander. Bibliography of the Philippine Islands: Printed and Manuscript, preceded by a descriptive account of the most important archives and collections containing Philippiniana, New York: Kraus Reprint Co. 1970. 437 p. Reprint of the 1908 ed. published by Arthur H. Clark Co. Cleveland, Ohio. This is also vol. 53 of The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson.

Rodriguez, Isacio, O.S.A. Updated Checklist of Filipiniana at Valladolid. (Manila): Published by the National Historical Institute and the Government Printing Office, 1976. 2 vols.

Saito, Shiro. The Philippines; A Review of Bibliographies. (Honolulu, Hawaii): East-West Center Library, 1966). 80 p.

Tubangui, Helen E. editor. A Catalog of Filipiniana at Valladolid. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila Univ. press, 364 p.

U.S. Library of Congress. Bibliography of the Philippine Islands. Washington D.C.; Government Printing office, 1903. (57th Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Document no. 74).

About the Author:
Rosa M. Vallejo organized the First Summer Institute on Information Science in 1977 (at the University of the Philippines), and initiated the offering of Summer Institute on Library and Information Services, which benefitted Filipino librarians since. She sits as a member of the Execom-Committee on Libraries and Information Services of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.