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18th and 19th century French travel accounts of the Philippines in the Lopez Museum and Library collection.

May is National Heritage Month and as Musee du Quai Branly in Paris celebrate our heritage, history and national treasures, take a peek at the 18th and 19th century French travel accounts of the Philippines in the Lopez Museum and Library collection.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts: Since the signing of Proclamation No. 439 on August 11, 2003, declaring the month of May as National Heritage Month “in recognition of the need to create among the people a consciousness, respect, and pride for the legacies of Filipino cultural history, and love of country,” the whole country is given a chance to highlight and appreciate its cultural treasures. It is also an occasion to raise awareness on their significance.

Images from Lopez Museum and Library (left to right)

(1) M. L. A. Milet-Mureau, ed., Voyage de la Perouse Autour du Monde… (1797). La Perouse’s voyage, a well-written travel account from the eighteenth century, contains valuable scientific information, observations on local inhabitants, and a vast array of geographic and cartographic data. He visited Cavite, Manila, and Zamboanga and observed, among other things, that the locals had been conditioned to believe “that the present life is a mere passage and the goods of the world are useless.”

(2) Chretien Louis de Joseph Guignes, Voyages a Peking, Manille et l’île de France… (1808). An old China hand, Guignes served as an interpreter to the Dutch mission in Peking and spent seventeen years in Imperial China. He offered valuable insights on the Philippines and Manila in volume 3, pages 362-419.

(3) Dumont de Urville and Jules Sebastian Cesar, Voyage Pittoresque Autour du Monde… (1834-1835). Volume 2, numbers 138-139 describes the archipelago of Sulu and numbers 114-146, the archipelago of the Philippines.

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