Arts and Culture

Three Hundred years of Philippine Maps: 1598-1898

Archival maps find their distinct rarity as 21st century technology continues to introduce digitalized format of documentation. Cartography during the colonial period was a powerful tool that dictated direction and territory shaping the history of conquest.


PetrusKaerius, Amsterdam,1598. Insulae Philippinae
This small map is historical for being the first individual map of the Philippines, already within its established historical borders.

Maps present a powerful experience of viewing the world from above, a hilltop or church tower, showing different perspectives and point of origins.

In celebration of Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day, the Philippine Map Collectors Society (PHIMCOS), Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila present ‘Three Hundred years of Philippine Maps: 1598-1898’.

The exhibit features 134 original maps dating from the Spanish colonial period to early American times such as maps from 1598 of Petrus Kaerius and J.N. Metellus as well as Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde’s 18th century Mapa de las Islas Filipinas. The rarity of some of these maps suggests their once coveted role in documenting routes to distant territories for conquest, geo-political expansion, and economic pursuits. One can also imagine the painstaking coverage of navigating and approximating coastlines and terrain.

As much as it contained the capacity to unite a community, race or people enclosed in an outline of dominion, maps however also had a divisive ability. The exhibit also explores the art of map-making both as a process and a product of imagination. Maps invite us into a dialogue where each cartographic outline weaves a narrative of commerce, trade, travel, history, geography, exploration and art.

Exploring the world of map-making can be overwhelming. To provide a discussion on the art of cartography the MET Museum is organizing a series’ on the following dates:

The Mapping of Philippine Provinces by Christian Perez
Saturday, June 30 10.30 am Tall Gallery 4

The talk will present the history of the establishment of Philippine Provinces from the early Spanish Period to the present, and illustrate how the provinces were represented on Philippine maps.

Power, Beauty and Knowledge in Philippine Antique Maps by Leo Garcia
Saturday, July 7 10.30 am Tall Gallery 4

Antique maps continue to delight us because they are prized works of beauty and archives of knowledge. But more than being icons of beauty and vessels of knowledge, antique maps are coveted instruments of power.

From Night Stars to Rocky Shoals by John Silva
Saturday, July 14 10.30 am Tall Gallery 4

The lecture will trace the evolution of maps from charting lands and seas to justifying sovereignty as in the current debate over Scarborough Shoal.  The talk will also touch on how maps affect issues of citizenship and the delineation of our country as an archipelago.

Biography of Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde by Dr. Benito Legarda Jr.
Saturday, July 21 10.30 am Tall Gallery 4

The talk will be on the biographies of the well-known Jesuit cartographer, Fr. Pedro Murillo Velarde, and the Filipino engraver Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay.  His map and its influence on maps made by later cartographers will also be discussed.

Cartography in Art (Maps of the Artistic Imagination) by Florentina Colayco
Saturday, July 28 10.30 am Tall Gallery 4

Artists have long been inspired by maps, and many have taken to charting their own personal territories in their art. The presentation focuses on the significance of mapping in the artworks of well known artists expressing their own awareness of their journey through various media and imagery.

Contact Details:
For inquiries about this press release, please call Fralynn Manalo at (63 2) 708-7829.
Schedule/Venue
This event has expired.
Metropolitan Museum Of Manila
Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas Complex

Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas Complex
A. Mabini St., Roxas Blvd.
Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines



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