The map regarded by historians as the “mother of all Philippine maps” found its way to yet another home. On 03 October 2019, Mr. Mel V. Velarde, Filipino technology entrepreneur and educator, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) turned over to NAMRIA, through Administrator, Usec. Peter N. Tiangco, PhD, an official replica of the Carta Hydrographica y Chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas Man ila, 1734 , otherwise known as the 1734 Murillo-Velarde Map.
MGB Director Belen gives his welcome remarks at the start of the program. --VENER QUINTIN C. TAGUBA, JR.
Mr. Velarde talks about his gift to NAMRIA in his message. --VENER QUINTIN C. TAGUBA, JR.
The momentous occasion was held in the NAMRIA Boardroom and was also attended by staff from AIJC, NAMRIA Deputy Administrators Jose C. Cabanayan Jr. and Efren P. Carandang, Chief of Staff Rowena E. Bongalos, Branch Directors Ruel DM. Belen of the Mapping and Geodesy Branch (MGB), Dr. Rijaldia N. Santos of the Resource Data Analysis Branch, John Santiago F. Fabic of the Geospatial Information System Management Branch, Febrina E. Damaso of the Support Services Branch, Assistant Director John M. Labindalawa of the Hydrography Branch, other NAMRIA officials and employees. The event was hosted by Engr. Charisma Victoria D. Cayapan of MGB.
The Deed of Donation is signed by Administrator Tiangco and Mr. Velarde with
officials from NAMRIA and AIJC witnessing the event. --VENER QUINTIN C. TAGUBA, JR.
First made and published in Manila in 1734, the map was created by Spanish Jesuit Friar Pedro Murillo Velarde (1696-1753), together with two Filipino artisans, namely, Francisco Suarez who drew the map and Nicolas dela Cruz Bagay who engraved it upon the behest of then Governor-General Fernando Valdés Tamón, in compliance with an order from King Philip V of Spain.
The map is unveiled by Administrator Tiangco and Mr. Velarde…
…and the agreement for its donation is sealed with the customary handshake. --VENER QUINTIN C. TAGUBA, JR.
Regarded as the first and most important scientific map of the Philippines by the World Digital Library, the map depicts the entire archipelago as flanked by two side panels, containing six vignettes on each side that describe various ethnic groups as well as cities and islands of the country. Also shown on the map as part of national territory are Shoal Panacot, now known as Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal and Los Bajos de Paragua, now referred to as the Island of Spratlys.
In his message, Administrator Tiangco acknowledges the gift received by NAMRIA
and also its great significance. --VENER QUINTIN C. TAGUBA, JR.
Mr. Velarde gained ownership of the artifact on 04 November 2014 through an auction by Sotheby’s London in the United Kingdom. It was among the 80 heirlooms owned by the Duke of Northumberland, Ralph George Algernon Percy. Upon the recommendation of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, Mr. Velarde joined and eventually won the bid over the phone. The map arrived in the Philippines on 29 April 2017 and was donated by Mr. Velarde to the Philippine Government through the Office of the Solicitor General.
NAMRIA officials led by Administrator Tiangco and AIJC guests led by Mr. Velarde pose
for a souvenir photo with the Carta Hydrographica y Chorographica
de las Yslas Filipinas. --VENER QUINTIN C. TAGUBA, JR.
In his message during the turnover ceremony in NAMRIA, Mr. Velarde spoke of the map which he said was “a gift to the Filipino people” and of a public awareness campaign on it and its significance to the nation’s cultural and historical heritage. He said that the campaign involves donating official replicas of the map to different government agencies, academic institutions, and private organizations, with NAMRIA being one of the beneficiaries. In his own message, Administrator Tiangco expressed NAMRIA’s great appreciation for the gift saying “Christmas came early for NAMRIA.” Indeed, the rare map was an early Christmas present for everyone in the agency.
[References for the article: Ellen Tordesillas (2017), 1734 Murillo Velarde map is back in Manila, https://verafiles.org/articles/1734-murillo-velarde-map-back-manila; Esquire Philippines (2017), We Have the Mysterious Map that Proves the West Philippine Sea is Ours, https://www.esquiremag.ph/politics/news/mel-velarde-murillo-map-a00203-20170504-lfrm; Leovino Ma. Garcia (2015), ‘Mother of Philippine maps’ settles sea dispute with China, Philippine Daily Inquirer, https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/196703/mother-of-philippine-maps-settles-sea-dispute-with-china/; Letter for the Administrator from AIJC President Ramon R. Tuazon dated 04 September 2019 and write-up on the 1734 Murillo-Velarde Map from the AIJC; Lopez Museum and Library (2009), The Mother of Philippine Maps, https://lopez-museum.com/2009/11/09/the-mother-of-philippine-maps/; Raul Dancel (2019), Rare map that bolstered Philippines' case in territorial dispute with China sold for $1 million, The Straits Times, https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/rare-map-that-bolstered-philippines-case-in-territorial-dispute-with-china-sold-for; and World Digital Library (2018), A Hydrographical and Chorographical Chart of the Philippine Islands, https://www.wdl.org/en/item/10089/]
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