FHL unveils special collection from Spanish ambassador

A collection of nearly 600 books on the Philippines, owned by Pedro Ortiz Armengol, former Spanish ambassador to the Philippines, can now be accessed by researchers at the Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL).

On April 20, members of the Armengol family visited the new FHL facilities on the sixth floor of the Ayala Museum for the ceremonial turnover of the books. Also present during the turnover were Ayala Corporation Chairman Emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, President and Chief Operating Officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala, other members of the Zobel de Ayala family, AFI President Luli Heras-de Leon, AFI Arts and Culture Senior Director Mariles Gustilo, and FHL senior manager Suzanne Yupangco.

Aside from being a diplomat, Armengol (1922 – 2009) was a distinguished writer, historian, traveler, and Philippine scholar. He is well known for Vida de Galdós, his book on Benito Pérez Galdós, one of the giants of Spanish literature, but he was also also known for his scholarly writings on the history of Manila, particularly Intramuros de Manila de 1571 hasta su destrucción en Filipinas. A total of 18 books written by Armengol himself are included in the collection.

While serving as the Spanish ambassador to the Philippines, Armengol has accumulated an impressive collection of Filipiniana written in Spanish, English, and Filipino.

The Armengol family donated a total of 573 books to the library, 286 of which are in Spanish, 280 are in English, and seven are in Filipino. In addition, 44 rare titles are part of the collection, including Wenceslao Gamboa Retana’s Los Frailes Filipinos, por un español que ha residido en aquel país (1898) and Fernando Primo de Rivera’s Memoria dirigida al Senado acerca de su gestion en Filipinas (1898).

Also part of the Armengol Collection are several dictionaries, ranging from Tagalog for Beginners to Spanish-Tagalog dictionaries. The inclusion of these books in the collection shows Armengol’s interest in learning the local language of the country where he was posted as ambassador from 1981 to 1987.

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