The Lopez Museum and Library
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2013 - 12:00am

Our congratulations to the re-elected and newly elected public officials, on the national and local levels. To those who have been re-elected, your victory proves that voters have expressed their admiration for your competence and sincerity as legislators.

To the newly elected senators, Grace Poe Llamanzares and Nancy Binay, your challenge is to prove you do have the competence to sit in the highest law-making body in the land — and did not win simply by riding on your fathers’ popularity.

I trust that with the sitting senators Loren Legarda, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Pia Cayetano, and the newly elected Cynthia Villar – four of the most capable of our legislators – you will be crafting laws to make life better for women and men in our country.

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My hubby and I had a pleasant time at the Lopez Memorial Museum days before the elections  â€” listening and watching the offerings of “Off the Ground: An afternoon of music, poetry and visual arts.”  The main event was the rendering of musical pieces of National Artist for Music and Literature Levi Celerio (1910-2002) by soprano Elainne Maria Vibal with the accompaniment of a quintet of music scholars from the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth.

Next was the reading of verses by young poets from their  latest books — Raymond John de Borja, Marion Hacia and Franz Joel Libo-on.

For the visual arts part, on display were the museum’s latest exhibition, titled Grounded, which juxtaposed works of guest contemporary artists Alma Quinto, Goldie Poblador, Josephine Turalba, Toym Imao, Eric Zamuco, Barbara Hlali, Khaled Hafex and Ahmed El Shaer with works from the Lopez Museum collection such as those of Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Fernando Amorsolo, Jose Joya, and Nena Saguil.

The event was co-produced by High Chair, a non-profit small press that promotes genuine interest in poetry in the country through print and online publications, lectures and conversations, community workshops, and the development of poetry-teaching modules for use in the classroom and the community. It supports the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth, an after-school program that offers opportunities for children from deprived communities to achieve their full musical potential.

The afternoon of poetry and music is one of activities which set apart the Lopez Museum and Library. An afternoon spent at the museum, located on the ground floor of Ben Press Building on Meralco Avenue corner Exchange Road, Pasig City, is spiritually and intellectually enriching.

Don Eugenio Lopez Sr. founded the museum and library in February 1960 in honor of his parents, Benito Lopez and Presentacion Hofilena. Don Eugenio built the museum to provide scholars and students access to his personal collection of rare Filipiniana books, manuscripts, maps, archeological artifacts, and fine art.

The museum’s original four-story building, designed by National Artist Juan Nakpil was located in front of the Lopez residence in Pasay. It was open to the public throughout the martial law years — despite the family’s experiencing political deprivation.

After the EDSA Revolution, it was moved to the Benpress building in Pasig to protect its collection from the salty air from Manila Bay and the frequent monsoon floods in Pasay.

Mercedes “Cedie” Lopez-Vargas, executive director of the Lopez Memorial Museum and Library, gladly takes visitors around the museum.

A communication arts graduate from Assumption College in Manila, she is vice-president for logistics of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, chair of the Human Resources Council of the Lopez Group of Companies, and a trustee for the ABS-CBS Foundation and the Asian Eye Institute.

Cedie has made the museum and library accessible to technically savvy researchers and visitors through its contemporary art exhibition, digitized archives as well as through its online presence in various school media platforms like the  â€œOff the Ground” session.

The museum’s goal, says Cedie, is to bring Philippine history arts and letters to a broader audience.”

Cedie takes great pride in the museum’s rare collections. Among these are the 19th century paintings of Filipino masters Juan Luna y Novacio and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. Both artists won honors for their country when the paintings they submitted to the 1884 Esposicion National de Bellas Artes in Madrid won awards. Luna’s Spoliarium received one of the three gold medals at the exposition.

The galleries also house selected works by 20th Century National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, who in the early Thirties and Forties popularized the rustic Philippine landscape and the dalagang Filipina model. It has acquired paintings by many of the country’s National Artists, including Botong Francisco, Vicente Manansala, HR Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi, Arturo Luz and J. Elizalde Navarro. Important artists such as Fernando Zobel, Nena Saguil, Macario Vialis, Jose Joya and Romeo Tabuena are also represented in the collection.

Then there’s another treasure — an initial collection of 14th and 15th Century artifacts recovered in the Calatagan burial sites.

According to Cedie, the Calatagan excavations “opened new areas of study on the culture and civilization of the early Filipinos.” The museum’s share in the diggings, which Don Eugenio financed, consists chiefly of porcelain of Chinese origin, Filipino earthenware, beads and a few Annamese and Siamese pieces.

In the Rizaliana sections are 90 priceless letters of Jose Rizal to his mother and sisters.

The library has a collection of 20,000 Filipiniana titles, constantly enriched by new acquisitions. Its rare Philippine imprints date from the early 17th century – the oldest being a unique copy of the Belarmin-Lopez Doctrina in Ilocano (Manila, 1620). Among the other rare books and manuscripts are works by such eminent printers as Tomas Pinpin, Raymundo Magsaya, Nicolas Bruz Bagay, Laureano Atlas and Juan Correa. The earliest book in the library is the third edition (Rome, 1524), of De Moluccis Insulis, by Maximilianus Transylvanus, which has the first printed account of Magellan’s voyage to the Philippines.

The library also has extensive holdings on books of the Spanish and early American period, and photo albums of Philippine flora, fauna, Philippine urban and rural environs, and microfilms of manuscripts.

With its goal of preserving and promoting Philippine arts and letters, the Eugenio Lopez Foundation publishes Filipiniana material intended for scholars and the general public. Its publications include the Philippine Insurrection Against the US, edited by Renato Constantino; Juan Luna: The Filipino as Painter by Santiago A. Pilar, Orchidiana Philippiniana by Helen Valmayor, Philippine Rariora by Mauro Garcia and Fernando Zobel by Rod Perez-Paras.

The museum is open, free to the public, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays.

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The emerging field of “Dynamic Science” that is claimed to offer understanding and new hope for the potential of a world free of cancer and other lifestyle disorders will be discussed in a seminar to be   conducted by Dr. Shaji V. Kudiyat, chief physician and researcher at St. George Cancer Care and Research Center, Begaluru, India on May 22.

The seminar, for the first time in the history of medicine, explains how cancer develops and what causes it to recur, thus helping people to understand and manage the disease in the wake of its increasing incidence around the world.

Dr. Shaji V. Kudiyat is an innovative and pioneering doctor and researcher introducing a new cancer prevention and treatment methodology called “Dynamic Scientific Approach” which is based on the hypotheses of the newly introduced Dynamic Science. (See His lecture on May 22, from 6-9 p.m. will be held at the Santuario de San Jose Parish (Hall 3), Duke corner Buffalo Sts., Greenhills. East, Mandaluyong City.

For inquiries and reservations, check facebook, or e-mail or call 0917.5275002.

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