Top 10 Philippine Bibliophiles (All-time)

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Here are the top 10 book collectors of Filipiniana of all time. Some of these legendary collectors passed on their collections to the National Library or created their own public libraries.

1. E. Arsenio Manuel, the author of the monumental 4-volume Dictionary of Philippine Biography. He amassed a scholarly trove of books to use as his primary research on the lives of the most prominent Filipinos. His scholarship and cultural research were unmatched.

2. Domingo Abella, a medical doctor by profession but a historian by avocation. He became the president of the International Association of Asian Historians. Because of his love for Filipiniana, he had the monumental Blair and Robertson The Philippine Islands reprinted in 1962.

3. Luis Ma. Araneta, besides being a consummate collector of religious art, pursued the systematic collection of the rarest of rare books.

4. Jose P. Bantug, a true scholar by avocation, collected many books from all over the world, especially in Madrid, Spain, when he became the cultural attaché of the Embajada de Filipinas.

5. Rafael Ortigas Jr., chairman of the Ortigas Foundation Library. He is a life-long collector of Spanish era books, early Philippine periodicals and maps. He collected the legendary Morton Netzorg archive as well as the Gregorio Zaide library.

6. Ambeth Ocampo, the historian and arts advocate, collected a scholarly trove of Filipiniana.

7. Morton Netzorg, son of Thomasites. He devoted a lifetime to collecting all ranges of Philippine books, most especially textbooks and children's books.

8. Geronimo Berenguer de los Reyes, Jr, founder of the museum in Cavite. He has the rarest of the rare books.

9. Eugenio Lopez, a legendary book collector who prowled the world's bookshops whenever he traveled. He was able to collect Philippine incunnabala that became the basis of the Lopez Memorial Library collection. In 1960 he donated his personal collection to the Lopez museum.

10. Wenceslao Retana collected more than 2,000 rare Philippine books which he sold to Tabacalera of Barcelona. Subsequently the Tabacalera collection was bought by the Philippine government and transferred to the Philippine National Library. Some of this legendary collection survived the destruction of Manila in World War II.

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