Vibal Foundation’s ‘Philippine Cartography’ wins Gintong Aklat Award

Published November 25, 2021, 11:02 AM

by Joe Priela

A must-have for history buffs and bookworms alike!

Established in 1871, the Gintong Aklat Awards is conferred bi-annually by the Book Development Association of the Philippines. Outstanding Philippine books are chosen based on overall excellence, which covers quality of production, design, and printing, as well as significance of content.

Gintong Aklat Awards 2020 winner

Just this month, local publisher Vibal Foundation’s (VF) “Philippine Cartography 4th edition” won the 2020 Gintong Aklat Awards for Social Sciences category. The awarding ceremony was streamed live on the Facebook pages of the Book Development Association of the Philippines and Manila International Book Fair on a clear Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 17, 2021. VF’s program director Kristine E. Mandigma, book editor Dr. Carlos Madrid, and Denden Quirino—daughter of the book’s author and National Artist Carlos Quirino—gave their acceptance speeches.

Editor Carlos Madrid, PhD

Now, let’s dive in. In the award-winning book, National Artist Carlos Quirino recounts how the concept of the Philippines emerged as a vague grouping of islands in the early fourteenth century and evolved in fits and starts over half a millennium into its current iconography. The Philippines as a geographical and ideological construct was shaped by a long lineage of cosmographers, cartographers, and artists spanning diverse cultures and times, such as Zhu She Ben, Luo Hong Xian, Abraham Cresques, Francisco Rodrigues, Juan López y Velasco, Diogo Homem, Gerardus Mercator, Sebastian Münster, Robert Dudley, Comte de Lapérouse, Pedro Murillo Velarde, Claudio Montero, Francisco Coello, José Algué, and many others.

Fourth edition of ‘Philippine Cartography’

Philippine Cartography was first published in a limited edition in 1959 and reissued a second and third time in Amsterdam and Quezon City. For this fourth edition, editor Dr. Carlos Madrid annotated Quirino’s text and added a selection of over 450 new maps to form the largest bibliography of over 1,600 Philippine cartographic materials. From ancient Chinese scrolls, Japanese and Portuguese portolan maps, French scientific surveys, and British merchants’ nautical charts, Quirino weaves a history of heroics and everyday drudgery, of personal and international rivalries, as well as of egregious mistakes and brilliant insights.

Profusely illustrated with over 200 images, this edition is further enriched with six remarkable foldout maps, among them is the outstanding Topographía de la Ciudad de Manila, which is reproduced for the first time in high resolution. This edition is also specially honored with a foreword by renowned historian Ambeth Ocampo and an introduction by international author, Thomas Suárez, who presents a meditation on cartography, the making of the Philippines, and the digitality of the 21st century.

Renowned historian Ambeth R. Ocampo

Dr. Carlos Madrid also appended three significant essays that considerably widen the author’s avenues of inquiry into the Selden map of Southeast Asia. The unheralded Claudio Montero and his Comisión Hidrográfica de Filipinas, the world-class achievements of Jesuit father Vicente Memije, as with our very own Filipino artists, Nicolás de la Cruz Bagay and Lorenzo Atlas.

With its erudite text and unparalleled reproduction of rare maps, views, and plans, this book will delight anyone with an interest in antiquity, history, geography, and maps as instruments of power and rare vessels of beauty.

Valued at ₱1,840, “Philippine Cartography” and other VFI books are available for interested readers at Vibal Online Shop, Lazada, and Shopee.