Marine Iconography and Spanish-era Historical Documents

I just had an interesting day at work. Cayo Santiago is testosterone-heavy now because of the mating season. The monkeys are quite aggressive but we’re still able to do some work there without that much of a hassle.

Anyways, we’re now in a break and I decided to sneak in to do a bit of micro-blogging. I want to share two interesting links that will be helpful for Philippine observers:

1. Poppe-Images: Marine Iconography of the Philippine Archipelago

This site features a photographic documentation of ALL marine creatures in the Philippines. As of my last web visit, there are 62,019 photos of various species from a series of dive expeditions from 2003 to December 2009. Here’s the blurb from the website:

POPPE-IMAGES™ has the aim to document the Marine Life in the Philippines. During the expeditions of Guphil I, Guido & Philippe Poppe started photographing systematically all marine creatures. This resulted in a fast growing library of documented digital pictures which is obviously important for many people such as zoologists, museologists, divers, photographers, and others.

2. Portada de PARES

This is the web portal for Spanish-era documents courtesy of Spain’s Ministry of Culture. I searched some Cebu documents there myself and found a lot of interesting materials from 1500s onwards. For example, a scanned copy of Captain Gonzalo Pereira’s account of the war in Cebu in October 21, 1568 can be accessed via the website. The challenge (at least for me) is how to read these documents, considering all were written in the old Spanish script. Graduate students in history here in Puerto Rico has to take a special course in reading old Spanish texts before they undertake the difficult task of historical interpretation. Nonetheless, I am sure we have Cebuano historians who are skilled in this regard.


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