Mapping out History

Manila Bulletin, March 26, 2010 | Go to article overview

Mapping out History


Will a handsomelybound book, with colorful reproductions of maps dating as far back as the 1500s, still be able to spark interest among a generation whose concept of cartography is limited to Google Maps?Vibal Foundation seems to think so, as they republish the pioneering work of National Artist for Historical Literature Carlos Quirino called “Philippine Cartography”.Considered a landmark history of Philippine maps and cartographers, as well as the only published comprehensive bibliography of Philippine maps and prints, the third edition of ‘’Philippine Cartography’’ is part of Vibal Foundation’s Filipiniana Clasica line.Only 100 copies of the breakthrough work were published when it first came out in 1959. An equally limited number was produced in Amsterdam in 1963 for the second edition. This third edition now incorporates the corrections Quirino introduced in the Amsterdam edition of the book, but also adds several new maps and foldout pages.“Carlos Quirino is really a pioneer.If you found a copy here in Manila of the first edition of ‘Philippine Cartography’, it would cost P25,000 to P35,000.It was a good idea for Vibal to publish a third edition with new maps and better reproductions,” says the book’s editor, map collector and scholar, Dr. Leovino Ma. Garcia.In Quirino’s capable hands, Garcia explains, maps become more than just a way to pinpoint one’s location.“Somebody has to interpret the map, to articulate the narrative.Maps not only show you where you are and where you want to go, but it also tells you who you are. It’s about identity and memory,” he explains.“This is very good for young people. Maps really promote self-esteem. You have maps without the Philippines, and when you see your country emerging you are filled with a certain self-esteem.”The book is also part of the exhibit “Pen, Paper, and Bookmaking: The Life of Carlos Quirino,” housed at the Yuchengco Museum, located in RCBC Plaza, Ayala ave., Makati and ongoing until the end of the month.SERENDIPITYVibal Foundation executive director Gus Vibal was very curious about Quirino’s works, which include the prizewinning biography of Jose Rizal entitled “The Great Malayan”, published in 1940; “Lives of Philippine Presidents” in 1952; “The Young Aguinaldo” in 1969; and “Filipinos at War” in 1981. …

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