Rare finds at library exhibit

Rare finds at library exhibit
By Tina Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:35:00 06/12/2010

MANILA, Philippines—A rich and colorful exhibit that showcases the heritage and priceless treasures of Asia’s oldest existing university, part of its quadricentennial celebration highlights next year, will be open to the public on June 17.

Called “Lumina Pandit,” a Latin phrase that means “spreading the light,” the exhibit traces the history of the university through rare books, important historical documents and other memorabilia from the vast collection of the University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Miguel de Benavides Library.

Continuing saga

“The UST spreads the light of knowledge and wisdom,” Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P., UST’s prefect of libraries, said, referring to the exhibit’s title.

According to Marian Pastor-Roces, the project’s curator, Lumina Pandit emphasizes the role of UST and its library “in the continuing saga of nation-building.”

“The exhibit makes the claim that the institution, the library, was an active participant in the creation of what we now know to be the Philippines,” Roces said during a press briefing earlier.

Personal collection

The university library started with the personal collection of books of Miguel de Benavides—UST founder and the third Archbishop of Manila from whom the library takes its name—which he donated 400 years ago for the foundation of a seminary-college that later became the UST.

“The very idea that a nation was assisted by an institution that is 400 years old—we don’t think that it’s too grand a claim. It’s a claim that can be substantiated by the exhibition,” she added.

Dream project
Roces admitted that in many ways, her latest assignment was “a curator’s dream project.”

Lumina Pandit, according to her, gathers together a unique collection of rare books, including the first edition of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres)” which contains his famous heliocentric theory, published in 1543; and the “Biblia Sacra,” the version of the Bible translated into four languages.

The multi-million exhibit is divided into six parts, each of which highlights important themes and ideas that shaped the Philippines.

Authentic copies

“Threshold 400,” the first stop in the exhibit, narrates the arrival of the Dominican fathers in the Philippines. It will also display rare books and authentic copies of the Act of Foundation of the University, the royal decree given to UST, and the papal bulls declaring the institution a university.

“Realm of Print,” the second part of the exhibit, focuses on the arrival of the printing press in the Philippines for the production of books to be used for missionary efforts.

Printing press replica

This section displays an exact replica of the first movable block printing press, together with such rarities as the “Librong Pag-aaralan nang Manga Tagalog nang Uicang Castila,” the first printed book written in Filipino and printed by a local printer, Tomas Pinpin.

On the other hand, the third part of the exhibit, “Spheres of Change,” is about the Filipinos’ exposure to new ideas in the fields of law, medicine, agriculture, architecture, engineering and theology, among others.

It presents the master works of Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Aristotle, Strabon, Thomas Aquinas and Ceferino Gonzalez, to name a few.

Early voyages

The fourth part, under the heading “Routes of Globalization,” tells about the first circumnavigation voyage led by Magellan, whose death on Philippine soil awakened the Filipino’s sense of nationalism.

Rare books

Some rare books that tell this story, like “Relazione del primo Viaggio,” “De Molucis Insulis,” “Ataque de Limahon,” and “Historia Mundi,” among others, will also be on display.

Viewers of the fifth part of the exhibit titled “Nascent Nation” will gain an insight about how issues like catechism, nationalism, freedom, equality, commerce and trade, economics, human rights were discussed then and how these have affected the people as a nation.

Parallel Progress

“Curve of Nationalism” caps the six-part exhibit and focuses on how the Philippines and the UST have progressed together in the past 400 years.

It will also give the public a once-in-a-life time opportunity to view the academic records of national heroes and founders of the nation, such as Jose Rizal and Apolinario Mabini, and many other outstanding Thomasians.

Tri-lingual display

Roces said the exhibit, which will also display incunabulae, or books printed before 1501, will be presented in three different languages—
Filipino, English and Spanish.

“But some sections will also be translated in major Filipino dialects like Ilocano, Waray, Kapampangan and Bicolano,” she added.


When you tell a story, what you leave out is just as important as what you put in it,” she said.

Added the curator: “The choices, sequence and highlights were determined from the perspective of sheer antiquarian rarity on one hand, and from the value of the book or document in looking afresh at the interpretation of Philippine history, on the other.”
She added that 95 percent of the artifacts are genuine, while the rest are replicas, reconstructions and artists’ representations.


For an interactive feel, the exhibit will employ new media technology like computers and visual presentations.
“A brief description of the contents and relevance of the older books will be on display in computer monitors beside the items on exhibit,” Roces said, adding that preparations for Lumina Pandit started as early as July 2008.

“At the end of the day, we hope that those who were able to view the exhibit would be proud to be a Filipino,” she said.

The exhibit will be open for public viewing from June 17 to January 2011, at the ground floor of the Miguel de Benavides Library. For inquiries, call 731-3034.

Ang daming super rare books :eek:, gusto ko mabasa lahat :lol:
Gusto ko rin makita yung grades ni Apolinario Mabini. Napakataas siguro ng mga grades niya.

Ang galing talaga ng UST na mag-preserve ng mga antiquities, meron pang books na before 1501 na ipapakita.

Sa exhibit na ito makikita ang napakalaking kontribusyon ng Pinagpalanang Pamantasan sa ating bayan :D


  • almost-herealmost-here my presence is a present PExer
    Maganda din yung article sa June 13 issue nang Philippine Star tungkol sa Lumina Pandit.
  • tomaseeknowtomaseeknow Member PExer
    Yung editorial ni Father Rector sa Manila Bulletin sa June 13 issue tungkol din sa Lumina Pandit :)

    So bale sa tatlong newspaper na ipinakita ang article tungkol sa Lumina Pandit. Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, pati Philippine Star. :)

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