Philippine Press and the Seminary of the Agustinians in Valladolid (Spain)

Seminary of the Agustinians in Valladolid, located in Paseo de Filipinos

Over the last few months, we have been twice in Valladolid scanning Philippine newspapers from the 1890s. After this statement, a good question to ask would probably be… Why are there Philippine newspapers in Valladolid? Agustinian friars have a long tradition in the Philippines. Four Agustinians arrived in the archipelago in 1565 with Andrés de Urdaneta, also an Agustinian friar and a sailor who happened to discover the route back to Mexico from the Philippines.  Actually, the Seminary in Valladolid (Spain) belongs to the “province” or Agustinian administrative division called “Santísimo nombre de Jesús de Filipinas” and is located in Paseo de Filipinos.

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San Agustin Church. Intramuros, Manila.

After the Battle of Manila in World War II, one of the few buildings that managed to remain standing in Intramuros was the convent of San Agustin. From there, they have been bringing to Spain library holdings and periodicals that were preserved in their Philippine premises. Later, priests such as F. Isacio Rodríguez O.S.A., and F. Blas Sierra de la Calle, have been travelling to the Philippines and returning to their Valladolid home with the latest books from and about the Philippines. This is how they have managed to have one of the biggest Filipiniana collections in Europe, right next to an Oriental Museum which tells the history of the order in Asia.

Father Mielgo, who takes care of the library nowadays, tells us that not many researchers are interested in the old Philippine newspapers kept in boxes without cataloguing that crumble down between our fingers when we touch them. However, the library attracts a number of researchers on the Philippines every year, including Filipino friars such as Ericson Borre O.S.A. We hope that the digitization of some of those newspapers will provide them with visibility and contribute to their preservation. I was personally really glad to find there four issues of Domus aurea, a literary magazine in Spanish edited in Manila in 1908 that I had not found anywhere else. Here is the link to their new catalogue with thousands of works on the Philippines.