Mapping the origins of the East Indies

For the first time in Southeast Asia, foreign and Filipino antique map collectors will gather at the Ayala Museum in Makati on Oct. 15-17 to attend a series of lectures on the role and importance of the historical cartography of the Insulae Indiae Orientalis, or the East Indies Island.

Mapping the origins of the East Indies
De Stad, Manilha by Francois Valentijn, 1726
The two-day 36th International Map Collectors Society (IMCoS) Symposium, organized by the Ayala Museum and Gallery of Prints, with support from the International Map Collectors Society and the Philippine Map Collectors Society, aims to reveal the European knowledge of the region as early as the 16th century.  

Focused on historical issues and unexplored accounts reflected in the antique maps and prints, the symposium will present papers that will deepen appreciation for these significant documents.

Mapping the origins of the East Indies
Mapa de las Yslas Pilipinas by Father Pedro Murillo de Velarde S.J., 1749
Among the international speakers include Martine Chomel Harent, former curator of the Mexico National History Museum. Harent will talk about the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco from the Mexican perspective, supported by antique maps that outline the historical trade route.

Dr. Ambeth Ocampo, meanwhile, will discuss the emergence of the Filipino nation through displayed ancient and manuscript maps, while Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio will share his knowledge on the pivotal role of antique maps in the controversial South China and West Philippine Sea dispute.

Mapping the origins of the East Indies
Die Länder Asie nach ihrer gelegenheit… by Sebastain Münster, 1544
The symposium includes afternoon visits and special viewing of numerous collections of the Ortigas Foundation, Lopez Museum, and the University of Santo Tomas Heritage Library. 

A special exhibit at the Ayala Museum will showcase antique originals of the maps presented in the lectures, some of which have never been seen in the Philippines. 

A significant feature of the exhibit is the Murillo Room, which will display the largest number of Murillo maps, regarded as the “Mother of all Philippine Maps,” together in one room, including the famous acquisition of Filipino technology entrepreneur Mel Velasco Velarde.

Mapping the origins of the East Indies
Philippinae Insulae by Petrus Bertius, 1616
The Murillo Velarde map of 1734 was drawn by Jesuit Father Pedro Murillo Velarde with the help of two Filipinos: Francisco Suárez and engraver Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay. According to the World Digital Library, the map shows the maritime routes from Manila to Spain and to New Spain (Mexico and other Spanish territories in the New World), with captions.

The exhibit is open to the public today until Oct. 14. It will temporarily close during the symposium and will resume on the 18th until the 28th of October.

Mapping the origins of the East Indies
International Map Collectors Society Philippine representative Rudolf J. H. Lietz
 “I am very happy to present an exhibition of over 150 original maps and prints assembled from the collections lent by presenters from the Philippines and overseas, my personal collection, fellow members of PHIMCOS, and the Gallery of Prints,” enthused IMCoS Philippine representative and 2018 symposium organizer Rudolf J. H. Lietz of the Gallery of Prints. Lietz is also the curator of the exhibit.

In addition to its Manila leg, the IMCoS Symposium 2018 is also scheduled in Hong Kong on Oct. 19-20. 

Mapping the origins of the East Indies
Insulae Philippinae by Cornelius van Wytfleit, 1611
For more information on the 36th IMCoS Symposium Manila, visit, or email [email protected], or call (02) 821-7181. 

Topics: Ayala Museum , antique map collectors , Insulae Indiae Orientalis , 36th International Map Collectors Society
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