Get A Glimpse Of The Past In This Free Exhibit At The National Library Of The Philippines

That’s history, literally.

The National Library of the Philippines has prepared a one-of-a-kind exhibit of rare heritage collections, such as the original copy of Noli Me Tangere, that you must experience.

Recently, the hit Gen Z historical series Maria Clara at Ibarra has captivated the Filipino audience with its amusing take and re-imagination of the Jose Rizal classic, Noli Me Tangere. The series, which consistently trends online, has proven to be so effective that young children make their way to have a copy of the famed novel and finish it out of excitement for what’s going to happen next. While the show also appeals to a wider audience, it’s of paramount importance that it inspires the youth to remember their roots and history, especially in a digital age that’s threatened by mis- and disinformation. And about this yearning for more of local heritage, the National Library of the Philippines has a free exhibit that will surely deepen your appreciation for Filipino culture and history.

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In accordance with Proclamation No. 837 series of 1999, the National Library of the Philippines (NLP), in collaboration with the National Committee on Libraries and Information Services (NCLIS) of National Cultural Center of the Arts (NCCA), commemorates Library and Information Services (LIS) Month every November. 

32nd Library and Information Services Month

And for its 32nd year, LIS Month bears the theme: Mga Aklatan Bilang Kanlungan ng Karunungan: Tagapangalaga ng Kultura at Pamanang Lokal, which puts the spotlight on the pivotal role of local libraries in providing relevant services and in the promotion and preservation of Filipino culture and heritage. 

Bilang kanlungan ng karunungan, malaki ang papel na ginagampanan ng mga aklatan sa pangagalaga ng lokal na kultura at pamanang ito,” says NLP’s announcement. “Ang selebrasyon ay isang pagbubunyi sa mga taga-pangalaga ng mga aklatan na nagsisinop ng mga nailimbag at naitalang kultural na pamana, mapa-lokal man o pambansa.


LIS Month officially commenced last November 4, 2022 and will run until the end of the month. The NLP has prepared a lineup of exciting activities from webinars to contests that cater to those in the field of librarianship, enthusiasts, and the general public.

original copy of Noli Me Tangere displayed at the National Library of the Philippines

One of those and probably the most immersive experience that you can have this LIS Month is the free exhibit of rare books and manuscripts. Held at the NLP building in Ermita, Manila, this special exhibition features the original manuscripts of Dr. Jose Rizal’s works including Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, and his poem Mi Ultimo Adios. This is your rare chance to see the original copies of historic works of literature up close.

other rare photos at the exhibit

Not only that, you’ll also get to see the actual copy of Acta de la Proclamacion de Independencia del pueblo Filipino, an official document that was written and read in the year 1898 at Emilio Aguinaldo’s house, declaring the Filipinos’ seeming independence from the Spanish colonization. This, and more rare books, photographs, maps, and memorabilia await you at the rich historical display that will leave you awe-inspired. The exhibit also has an audio transcription feature for each display assuring that the visually challenged audiences may also enjoy its offerings.


Some of the other activities that you can enjoy this Library and Information Services Month include a virtual exhibit of local heritage collections from different libraries across the archipelago. Through the NCCA’s website, you’ll get to travel through local libraries and immerse yourself in an array of printed resources, which foreground the diverse Philippine culture and history.

A series of free webinars and workshops are also part of this year’s LIS Month program. From talks and discussions that examine the roles of libraries and information centers in preserving, conserving, and protecting local heritage and culture to a workshop that focuses on writing and illustrating childrens’ books, the National Library of the Philippines is ready to fulfill your historical and creative cravings this month.

And of course, cash prizes are also in store for you as the NLP has made online competitions like the Guess How Many Books Contest (where you’ll guess how many books are there in the NLP Rare and Special Collection) and My Day in A Library (a TikTok challenge where you’ll post a video of your trip to your local library). Winners will get to win P10,000, so head on over to NLP’s website to know more about the mechanics.

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