MARCH 3, 2018

Know the Philippines’ Territory

by Rose CHURMA

Tina Cuyugan, author and editor notes in the back cover that “…these beguiling essays on what lies beyond the fringes of Philippine recorded history—whether pointing out the laughing carabao on the margins of a centuries old map or combing for shards of Ming porcelain on a coral beach—Ocampo reminds us that the endless gathering and joining and breaking apart of ‘useless’ bits is, after all, what makes us what we are, and connects us with others in their own quest for identity.”

Ambeth R. Ocampo is Associate Professor at Ateneo de Manila University and served as the Philippines’ Chair of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA) from 2005-2007 and Chair of the National Historical Commission from 2002-2011.  A prolific writer and a popular lecturer, he also moderates a growing Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/Ambeth-R-Ocampo-47261762634/>

The first essay in the book is “Mapping the Nation,” on the two maps originally drawn by Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay in 1734, based on an earlier map by the Jesuit Pedro Murillo y Velarde.  The large format Velarde Murillo map of 1734 is quite rare considering there are only 50 known copies of this.  The other map is a reduced version of this large format map, engraved and signed by Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay in 1744.  This version has embellishments which include a charming depiction of the Filipino people in their native attire decorated with local fruits and flowers and a smiling carabao.  The photographs of the maps illustrate the essay. The author concludes that “Filipinos should know the complete territory of their country…” (emphasis by the author). 

Perhaps by knowing the complete extent of the country’s territory, its leaders will also show more spine in asserting ownership.

Copies of the book are available at Kalamansi Books & Things kalamansibooks@gmail.com.

© 2008-2017 Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Inc.