Sunday, April 10, 2005

Old Books on Philippine Languages Available Online

Hi folks, it's been a while!

I recently completed the winter quarter of college and I did really well! I'm glad, I was seriously pessimistic about my grades. Anyway, I just started the Spring Quarter about two weeks ago and have been busy - it's a good thing I just had a week off from work for Spring Break. I am currently taking a composition class, psychology, and 2nd-year French. I need French and another language as requirements for the linguistics major. I plan on taking three quarters of Korean starting in the fall.

Anyway, last month ding_eab (what happened to his blog?) told me about important historic documents about the Philippines avilable online. They're available from the University of Michigan under the theme The United States and its Territories: 1870-1925.

This collection is extremely impressive. It's something that I have been waiting for. You and I now have instantaneous access to old books about the Philippines. But also, it helps knowing Spanish. Many of the books are from the Spanish colonial era and many books are aimed at Spaniards who wish to know Tagalog, Cebuano, Kapampangan, and whatever else. However, the are also books about the Philippines in English, Dutch, German, and French.

Here is just a small sample of what they have:
And there are plenty more. This site has proved useful in some recent debates with the HispanoFilipino group concerning the revision of the Tagalog alphabet as well as the supposedly insulting origins of the word Pinoy (there aren't).

This site has served a very useful on a very personal (i.e., genealogical) level for me. I managed to locate the police employment record of my Bicolano great-grandfather Lucio de los Santos Buenpacifico. According to my grandmother and her siblings, he was a policeman who held a high position. The records I found pertained to when he was a rookie on the Manila police force and was paid 440 pesos a month back in 1912. There's also a city directory for Manila in which I found the address of the house my great-grandfather lived in before he married my great-grandmother Antonia Javier Dakila. That was great and it's something I shared with my grandmother.

There are also Filipino-American magazines from the 1920's to the 1930's. It's fascinating to read about the manong generation recounting their lives here in the states.

On my current have-to-read-when-I-have-time-list is Shall the Philippines have a common language? An address .. delivered before the Catholic women's league of Manila August 31, 1931. by George Butte.

So check it out and pass it on to your friends! You will not be disappointed.