An 1837 book about Philippine plants written by Augustinian priest and scientist Father Manuel Blanco is now available for digital download. The book titled “Flora De Filipinas” is a treasure trove of carefully curated illustrations and entries of Philippine flora that highlight the significant plants in Filipino society and history.

The online access to this 19th century book is part of the online exhibit by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which also bears the same title as the book. DFA’s “Flora de Filipinas” online exhibit features 15 laminas or illustrations of Philippine plants drawn in the 19th century by Filipino and Spanish artists such as Cayetano Arguelles, Francisco Domingo, brothers Regino and Rosendo Garcia, Jose Lorenzo Guerrero, Isidro Llado, F. Pardo, Felix Martinez, R. L. Salamanca, Miguel Zaragoza and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. 

The online exhibit also features the drawings of Fray Mariano Fabregas, OSA, Fray Miguel Lucio, OFM, Agustin Saez, Ramon Santa Coloma, and Emma Vidal. 

It also highlights the voyage of plants to and from the Philippines in the last 500 years.

DFA tapped the help of Project Saysay Inc. in presenting the online exhibit entries, which were lifted from the book and show the plant drawings with description. The plant names are written in Baybayin to highlight the native language used in pre-Hispanic Philippines. 

The project, done by DFA in partnership with the National Quincentennial Committee, is an official activity of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines, which celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan, and the Philippine part in the historical first circumnavigation of the world.

The public may access or download the five-volume opus of Fr. Blanco through this link: https://tinyurl.com/y5vf7nfg

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