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What was the first book printed in the Philippines?

Click on the photos above to learn more about each book
and/or download their digital versions.

Earlier this week, I received a text message asking if the essay mentioned by Ambeth Ocampo in his latest column was posted on my blog. Since I had no idea that any publication of mine had been cited in a newspaper recently, I checked out the column. And there it was at the very end of a discussion on "First book(s)" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 January 2013): "For a more recent take on the old issue see Vernon Totanes’ 2009 essay 'What was the first book printed in the Philippines?'"

Since I've never actually posted a link to the journal article on my blog, I thought I'd share it now, along with the abstract, in case someone wants to read it. Click on the title to download the pdf =)

Note, however, that the title is misleading because the article is essentially an introduction to the discipline of book history, and asserts that the two books printed in the Philippines in 1593 are significant in ways that have yet to be fully appreciated.

"What was the first book printed in the Philippines?"
Vernon R. Totanes
Journal of Philippine Librarianship 28:1 (2008), 21-31.

This paper will show that the importance of the imprints lies in the fact that they effectively communicate the idea that printing in the Philippines—and Philippine history—is inextricably linked with the non-Filipino. The first books printed in the Philippines, though not strictly "Filipino," are a physical reminder of the plurality of the nature and culture of the Filipino and the Philippines.

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