Guests are prohibited from entering the Filipinas Heritage Library during inventory period.
But how did I manage to get in? I just walked in, took a couple of brochures, and went straight ahead to their posh Reading Room, looked around for someone I could ask where the library itself is, then felt something is wrong.
The Filipinas Heritage Library was closed that day (www.filipinaslibrary.org.ph).
Then I saw one of my favorite books back in college, Rizal in Saga: A Life for Student Fans (a Philippine centennial project) by Nick Joaquin. I reread some essays like those about Maria Clara not really a weakling, and about Pepe as a timid little boy with too big a head. What still draws me to this national hero’s biography is Jason Moss’ impressionist artworks that appear before every chapter.
So there I was, reading on a couch while employees pass by, till my tummy groaned out of hunger, so I went back to the information desk, and was halted by the guard (when I was about to exit) saying that the library is closed.
Of course, I still apologized, but inquired about their services. Manong said I should call the Filipiniana section at the basement, so call I did, and this is what they have in store for me–if only they’re not busy with the inventory:
• special collections about Philippine life since the Spanish regime
• antiquated photos of Manila
• Rizaliana (letters, photos, documents, and other stuff by or about the national hero. these are quite an exciting find for history fanatics especially for the Rizalistas)
•music collection (there’s a music station downstairs!)
• coffeetable books owned and published by the Ayalas and friends (a must-see for the curious me)
After the informative call to that person downstairs, I sort of paged for my classmate in CL 370 (Ms Faye Cura) who works there. To my delight, she toured me around, except down the enigmatic basement (where the inventory’s going on). We went up to the “tower”, which — she explained — used to be a control tower since Filipinas Heritage Library was the first ‘modern’ airport in the country, then converted to a library rented sometimes for seminars and special ocassions (the Reading Room, for instance, costs Php10,000 for the first few hours).
When I left, I was drooling over a wishful thinking that libraries around the country are as cozy and civilized as this one in Makati.