COLOR IN HISTORY: FHL NOW | Library Celebrates 20 Years with Flying Colors

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Andres Bonifacio and the Katipuneros declared themselves and the country free from foreign rule on August 23, 1896 (officially). One hundred years later to the day, a small Filipiniana library opened in Makati City.

Since its inauguration in 1996, Filipinas Heritage Library has become a leading repository of valuable Philippine artifacts ranging from 17th century books and manuscripts to 20th century popular songs. In its 20 years as an institution, FHL has done more than repairing moth-eaten paper or indexing serials. The library has ventured into the digitization of its photographic and rare book collections and, recently, guerrilla papers from the Visayas and the sung epics of the Kalinga and Manobo.


Aside from the care of its collections, the library has envisioned to share these “printed, aural, and visual stories” to the world. It aggregated LibraryLink, a union catalog of Filipiniana libraries in the country, in 1997. It published CD-Roms and books on anthropology, culture, and history, including Quijano de Manila’s A Question of Heroes. And since 2013, when it became one-half of Ayala Foundation, Inc.’s Arts and Culture Division (along with Ayala Museum), FHL has created online and physical exhibits on World War II, book design and production, and currently, on the play of color in library materials.


Also held in commemoration of History Month (August), COLOR IN HISTORY: FHL NOW 20 is an exhibition of FHL’s book and music artifacts that have “color” and other color names in their titles. The exhibit also features a selection of FHL’s 35,000 black-and-white photos as colorized by Cavite-based artist Ivan Angkaw Bilugan; as well as a list of Philippine color words compiled by scholar Felice Prudente Sta Maria from old dictionaries. The exhibit attempts to draw out common associations that we in the Philippines have with color: “While color is perceived based on the play of light on things, collected history can reveal how and why these colors are seen.”


The exhibit will run from August 11 to September 11, 2016 at the Second Floor of Ayala Museum. On August 15, Ivan Bilugan will facilitate a whole day seminar and workshop on colorizing old photographs. On August 23, the FHL Team will celebrate its anniversary with friends, partners, and former colleagues. Afterwards, a series of lectures and workshops on color will be delivered in partnership with the Carl Jung Circle Center: “Color and Psychology” with Rose Yenko and Dido Gustilo-Villasor, August 25, 2 to 6 PM; “What Color Are You?” with Chato Lozano, August 31, 2 to 3:30 PM; and “The Pinoy Fiesta Palette” with Oliver Roxas, August 31, 4 to 5:30 PM.

COLOR IN HISTORY is supported by Fujifilm Philippines, Inc., Art+ Magazine, and To sign up for the activities, go to; for inquiries, email or call 759-8288 local 45 or 36.

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