Dean Diego Jose Abad (left) and FEU Librarian Maria Gia Gamolo (right) award a certificate of recognition to Romeo Galang Jr. during the event. Photo by IAS

The halls of Far Eastern University’s library were recently adorned with the literary treasures of one of the country’s most celebrated authors, Nick Joaquin.

FEU Librarian Maria Gia Gamolo, Institute of Arts and Sciences Dean Diego Jose Abad, FEU Center for the Arts Director Martin Lopez, along with visual artist and painter Phyllis Zaballero, president of Mariwasa Sam Ceremics Inc. Regina Coseteng, and former secretary of the Department of Tourism Narzalina Lim graced the event to honor the Philippine National Artist for Literature.

Timothy Sanchez, the event organizer, and librarians from the FEU Group of Schools, led the exhibition commemorating Joaquin’s 107th birthday. For his part, IAS faculty Romeo Galang shared insights into Joaquin’s life and works, adding depth to the celebration.

The event showcased the invaluable materials of Joaquin, including his books, manuscripts, and photographs, and unveiled the creative process behind one of his significant commissions, the Malacañang Book, through its original manuscript.

Adding to the cultural tapestry of the occasion, a slideshow presentation showcased the scenic beauty of Malacañang by the Pasig River, accompanied by the melodious strains of Nicanor Abelardo’s “Mutya ng Pasig.”

The collaboration between the university library and the Museo ng Malacañang Foundation, now known as the Society for the Preservation of Philippine Culture, Inc., was pivotal in bringing Joaquin’s legacy to light. Zaballero and Coseteng’s donation of the original manuscript provided scholars and enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to delve into Joaquin’s editorial decisions and word choices, enriching their understanding of his literary craftsmanship.

“This event signifies more than a mere celebration; it’s a reaffirmation of the institution’s commitment to preserving Philippine culture and promoting it for future generations. The collaboration between various departments underscores the library’s role as a steward of local history and lore, captivating stakeholders through cultural festivities and exhibits,” said Gamolo.

In accepting the Malacañang Book original manuscript, the FEU Library embarks on a journey to safeguard Joaquin’s legacy and inspire scholarly inquiry into the rich tapestry of Philippine literature. This occasion enriched the cultural landscape of Malacañang and served as a testament to the enduring legacy of Joaquin himself and Filipino arts and letters.