I know all three of you readers may be tired of all my posts on the original Rizal manuscripts — I believe this is the fourth one? — but I hope that you will humor me this one last time.
Over the weekend, I made two more trips (Friday and Saturday) to the National Library to take a look not just at the original manuscripts — I’d seen them up close before anyway — but also at the other Rizal artifacts that the National Library had on display in celebration of our national hero’s sesquicentennial. And as it turns out, the National Library did have more artifacts in its vaults than just the “Noli”, the “Fili”, and the “Mi Ultimo Adios”.
Remember back in May 9, when I posted this blog about spending a day with the original manuscripts of Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere”, “El Filibusterismo”, “Mi Ultimo Adios”, and “Guillermo Tell”?
The people at the National Library told me that they’d tell me when the manuscripts would be put up on display after they were restored by visiting German conservators. Weeks passed with me not getting any word about it, so I assumed that something fell through.
I think it was back in my fourth year in college that I made my first trip to the National Library of the Philippines. Me and my classmates were writing a paper on the little known Filipino writer Nita Umali Berthelsen, whose works you can only now find in the National Library. Aside from being impressed by their extensive collection of Filipiniana serials, I remember fearing for my life riding their temperamental elevator, which had the unnerving habit of shutting down between floors.
The second time I was there was several years later, when my editor asked me to write about the National Library. This time around I had a tour of the whole place, from their section for blind people all the way up to their copy of the very first issue of the Manila Bulletin, the country’s oldest newspaper. The only section were I wasn’t given access to was the Rare Books and Special Collections section, which is where they keep the original manuscripts of Rizal’s works as well as the Philippine Revolutionary Papers. Of course, I obsessed about getting inside that section ever since.