[Quingua, i.e. Plaridel: 1827-1860]. pp. Folio. Original limp calf, manuscript cover title. Edges and spine worn; head of spine and upper corner of front wrap chipped. Text block loose at front hinge, broken in a couple of places internally. A few leaves loose; scattered chipping and tears, occasionally affecting text. Evenly tanned; occasional dust soiling. Completed in several hands; highly legible scripts. Good plus. Item #1570
A valuable manuscript compilation of Catholic documents recorded by the local religious authorities at Quingua in the Philippines over much of the early- and mid-19th century. The present volume includes over 425 pages of decrees, acts, directives, and elections that affected how religious life and instruction were carried out by the Catholic Church in the Philippines during the 1800s. Quingua, now the municipality of Plaridel, was founded by the Augustinian friars of Malolos, who established a chapel in the village located on the banks of the Angat River on the north side of Manila Bay in 1581.
The documents compiled here span from 1827 to 1860, and are recorded on leaves of native rice paper in a locally produced volume. The most basic and indeed most integral documents transcribed here are the chapter acts of the Augustinian order in the Philippines, which transmit the orders and directives by which the friars led their daily lives. These include the results of yearly elections, by which individuals were made bishops, assigned to parishes, and chosen for other significant church positions. Also included are annual "Actas y Determinanciones," as issued by central church authorities at Manila, which touch on numerous local issues and dictated how the friars lived and carried out their religious duties. The volume contains further individual decrees that affected Philippines parishes as a whole and those that dealt more specifically with the chapel at Quingua, many of which were issued from Manila, but also many that were promulgated by more local authorities such as those at the parish level in Bulacan (in which Quingua was located), as well as several orders recorded directly from Spanish church authorities, and at least one Papal decree. The final major component of the present work comprises numerous sermons, homilies, and pastoral letters given by visiting priests or relating to specific occasions.
In all, the present manuscript volume contains hundreds of individual documents, many of which likely do not survive or are not recorded in any other form, and which serve to chronicle the lives of the friars of this small outpost at an incredibly granular and detailed level. Additionally, these documents are signed or issued by many significant figures in the history of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. The book, as indicated in the manuscript title, was initiated by Friar Santos Gomez Marañon, who spent over half of his life in the Philippines and eventually became the Bishop of Cebu. Many of the documents from the 1830s are signed by Friar Francisco Manuel Blanco, who began his church career in the Philippines in nearby Angat, and became renowned as a botanist with his authorship of the first comprehensive flora of the islands.
An outstanding and extensive manuscript volume on Catholic law, administration, and practice in the rural Philippines, spanning over thirty years of the 19th century.