NHCP kicks off History Month with free online archive launch

August 4, 2023 - 1:51 PM
The homepage of the National Memory Project, a website operated by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines that hosts numerous digitized materials about Philippine history. (Screengrab from the National Memory Project's website)

Want to read Jose Rizal’s “El Filibusterismo” in Tagalog and Ilokano or learn the rich history of Bohol and Cavite? The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) got historians and history buffs covered through the National Memory Project (NMP).

The website, featuring digitized records and publications about Philippine and local history, went live on Tuesday, August 1, to kick off this year’s History Month.

“The website hosts thousands of Philippine historical materials found in the library, archives, and museums of the NHCP, such as rare books, photos, documents, plans, and ephemera. Other institutions, such as the National Library of the Philippines, contributed their unique collections to this website,” the NHCP said in a statement.

“The National Memory Project is in response to the clamor of historians, history departments, and historical societies in the Baler Agenda 2019-2022 of the Local Historical Committees Network,” it added.

Users can scourge through nearly 200 items that tackle the Spanish, American and Japanese occupations and the figures and events that dominated those eras.

Books about the rich culture and history of Philippine provinces, such as Vigan, Bohol and Cebu, can also be viewed.

Access to each material depends on its source and copyright.

Assets classified as Level 1 are public domain owned by the NHCP that users can download.

Level 2 materials are produced by non-government entities that can only be viewed.

NHCP publications still marketed in bookstores are granted Level 3 access that can only be read by the NHCP community or the commission’s premises, such as the library, museum and offices.

Copyrighted material included in the NHCP collection is deemed Level 4 assets that can also be viewed only within the corners of the commission.

Some users, however, commented that they could not sign up on the website to view any of the materials. But the NHCP clarified, “More materials are to be uploaded and made available in various levels of access in the coming days.”

NMP is the product of historians’ plea to democratize history to make it easier for academics, researchers and students to access historical materials.

Meanwhile, NHCP is leading the History Month celebration with the theme ‘Pagpapalaya ng Kasaysayan para sa Sambayanan’ (Democratizing History for the People )with activities that will encourage Filipinos’ appreciation of history and heritage.

History Month is observed every August of every year by
virtue of Proclamation No. 339, s. 2012 since major events in the nation’s history occurred in the month of August. These include National Heroes Day, the anniversary of the Cry of Pugadlawin and the Battle of San Juan del Monte, and the birth and death anniversaries of heroes and presidents.