The Book Museum is a two-storey building filled with the personal book collection of Atty. Dominador Buhain, co-owner of Rex Book Store. The Book Museum boasts of a plethora of books culled from the extensive travels of Atty. Buhain. When I say extensive, I mean it in the truest sense of the word. Atty. Buhain has travelled from countries A to Z, over 200 of them, and his travels have resulted to a wide array of literary works enough to make hearts of bookworms and nerd flutter.
The collection found in The Book Museum includes, but is not limited to, miniature books, the smallest book in the world, the smallest crucifix in the world, the smallest tablet in the world, and first edition copies of popular and obscure literary works.
The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center sign on the outer wall of the compound. The compound houses four buildings, all of which are open to the public. Photo by SPRDC.
Che and I before we entered the compound of The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center. Photo by SPRDC.
Visitors are greeted by images and likeness of James Dean. Atty. Dominador Buhain is an avid fan of the actor. In the receiving area, a bust, several framed posters and a life-size statue of James Dean entertain are available for photo opportunities.
Behind James Dean’s life-size statue is this printing press. This machine was confiscated by then Counsel Atty. Soriano from a printer illegally copying the publications of Rex Book Store.
Some of the more interesting features of The Book Museum compound are the three totem poles that depict Cordillera mythology (center) and Philippine mythology (flanking the center pole). They stand proudly beside the Ethnology Center featuring Southern Philippines (more on this in future entries).
A closer look at The Book Museum’s totem poles. Some of the easily identifiable characters are a nuno sa punso, aswang, duwende, si Malakas at si Maganda, ibong Adarna and that guy with epic strength – Bernardo Carpio (?). Correct me if I am wrong, my knowledge of Philippine mythology is mediocre. The middle totem pole is carved from an old Meralco post.
A marker explaining the totem poles sits like a dutiful servant before the middle totem pole.
Hope, Me and Che with one of the totem poles. Photo by SPRDC.
In front of the door of The Book Museum is the statue of Mr. and Mrs. Juanito Fontelera, the mother and stepfather of Atty. Dominador Buhain. The statue is by Rizal artist Roger Baldono.
The bottom part of the back of the statue of Mr. and Mrs. Fontelera is a depiction of a Textbook on the Philippine Constitution. The shoes at the bottom belonged to Mr. Juanito Fontelera.
The main door of The Book Museum and part of the mural. The mural shows the evolution of local and international printing. It is hand-painted by Baguio visual artist Leo Aguinaldo.
The very colorful and vibrant The Book Museum and its grounds.
The door of The Book Museum has baybayin carved on its surface.
Inside The Book Museum, this copy of Baybayin or the Philippine National Writing System awaits the visitors.
Beside it is this three-page list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are some of the places Atty. Buhain has visited thus far.
The books inside The Book Museum are arranged according to country of origin. The countries are arranged alphabetically with letter A closest to the main door. The shelf for Japan is special because it is the first foreign country Atty. Dominador Buhain visited and has since become one of his favorites. Bottom left photo by SPRDC.
Holding a special place in the ground floor is this all-marble replica of Atty. Dominador Buhain’s right foot. The right foot has to do with travelling well. I think it also means “right foot forward” always. ☺ Photo on the right is by Che.
Facing the right foot is a stand where the smallest book in the Philippines rests. It is “The Book Publishing Industry Development Act and Other Related Documents.” I have normal-sized hands for a female, and this book fits comfortably in my palm, but I read the words without any difficulty and without squinting or using a magnifying glass.
This area in the second floor of The Book Museum holds a few treasures, like the smallest woodcarved crucifix, a copy of Doctrina Cristiana and an engraved prayer book with the length of my thumb. Photo by SPRDC.
Smallest woodcarved crucifix, purchased in Munich, Germany on September 11, 2014.
In the middle of the photo is smallest woodcarved “The Last Supper”, by Padul of Angono, Rizal. Purchased on May 25, 2015.
Le Petit Paroissien De L’enfance
Le Petit Paroissien De L’enfance. Paris: Didot Firmin, measures 29 millimeter by 23 millimeter. It is a beautiful prayer book, illustrated with five engraved plates. It has contemporary binding, red velvet spine, embossed brass on the boards with the Holy Virgin all edges gilded, brass clasp, little ring linked with a fine chain of the same metal. It is a fine copy, in a very elegant binding of this miniature church book, illustrated with five scenes from the New Testament.
Doctrina Cristiana Explicado (Christian Doctrine Explained), published in 1894.
The Doctrina Cristiana was an early book of Roman Cathlolic Catechism, written in 1593 by Fray Juan de Plasencia, and is believed to be one of the earliest books printed in the Philippines.
Left: Francisco (Balagtas) Baltazar: Sisne ng Panginay by A. I. Dizon. Right: A second edition copy of Codigo Penal para Las Islas Filipinas: Profusamente anotado con el extracto de aquellas sentencias. It was published in 1889.
This first edition copy of Francisco (Balagtas) Baltazar: Sisne ng Panginay by A. I. Dizon was published in 1958 by Liwayway Publications in Manila. It is written in Tagalog and has 96 pages.
This table is home to miniature books. The topmost part has knick knacks, one of which is a printing paraphernalia (wood at the back) used during the Gutenberg Period, around 1496. The printing paraphernalia was purchased in Wiesbaden, Germany in October 2012.
Some of the Spanish books found at The Book Museum. Photo by SPRDC.
The Book Museum’s collection of miniature Spanish books.
Left: A copy of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Right: Spanish – English Dictionary of Idiomatic Expressions by Gene Parado. These would have been useful during my study stint at Instituto Cervantes – Manila. Photos by SPRDC.
Clockwise from the top: Copies of Napoléon, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Photos by SPRDC.
Napoléon is a book about French military and political giant Napoléon Bonaparte. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám the title that Edward Fitzgerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and numbering about a thousand, attributed to Omar Khayyám (1048 – 1131), a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer. A rubái is a two-line stanza with two parts (or hemistichs) per line, hence the word rubáiyát (derived from the Arabic language root for “four”), meaning. A copy of Lolita, a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. I started reading this years ago, and I got lost in the swirl of thoughts of Humbert Humbert and stopped midway through the novel.
Left: Ngalang Pinoy: A Primer on Filipino Wordplay, selected and edited by Neni Sta. Romana Cruz. Right: A first edition copy of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Photo on the left is by SPRDC.
Ngalang Pinoy: A Primer on Filipino Wordplay, selected and edited by Neni Sta. Romana Cruz. Ngalang Pinoy is a pun on Filipinos’ inclination to name business establishments after the bastardized names of popular actors, films or series. For example, a hair salon is named, “Felix d’Cut” or a Japanese restaurant named “Ta-ke Ho-me” (take home).
Some of the miniature books featured at The Book Museum. One of which is a copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Photo by Che.
Miniature collection of William Shakespeare’s works. Notice the contrast between the normal-sized book in the background relative to the whole collection. Photo by SPRDC.
The Book Museum’s collection of forty miniature books written by English bard William Shakespeare. It was purchased in Frankfurt, Germany on March 10, 2012.
The smallest book in the world. Photo by Che.
My unmanicured thumbnail relative to the smallest book in the world.
The smallest book in the world has the length and width of 3.3 millimeter by 3.3 millimeter, respectively. It was purchased at the Gutenberg Museum, Mainz, Germany in October 2012. The title of the book is “The Lord’s Prayer”, and it is in seven languages.
The smallest tablet in the world. Photos on the left by SPRDC.
The smallest tablet in the world contains a Chinese poem from the city of Chongqing, and was obtained in the course of visit to the Yungang Grottoes in Sichuan Province in May 2013. The title of the poem is “Peach Flower Stream / Peach Blossom River” by Pan Gi Hui.
The English translation of the Chinese characters is as follow:
A bridge flies away through a wild mist yet
Here are the rocky and the fisherman bean
Oh, if only this river of floating peach petals
Might lead me at last to my mythical love.
A closer look at the smallest tablet in the world. Photo by SPRDC.
At the back of The Book Museum is the Marikina Wall. It features the various sights one can visit in the city. It was done by Baldono.
Thank you Che and Hope for sharing your photos with me. Thank you, Sherleen for that wonderful tour and for the information you wrote on the back part of my leaflet.
For reservation and inquiry, please call at (02) 570-4449 or email at email@example.com.
Where: The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center, 127 Dao St., Marikina Heights, Marikina City
When: The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9am to 12 noon and from 1pm to 6pm.
How to get there: From Cubao MRT Station, walk to McDonald’s Gateway Mall. Outside there are FX bound to Marikina, choose the one whose route takes it to SSS Village. Alight in the corner of Meralco and take a tricycle to The Book Museum.
How much: The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center entrance fee: Individuals, P100 (US $ 2.20) and senior citizens, P80 (US $1.76). School and group bookings are subject to special discount. The Book Museum offers guided tours at 9am, 10am, 1pm, and 3pm. Based on experience, the guided tour is very helpful in knowing the story behind each book or archaeological artifact, and in knowing a little bit more about Atty. Dominador Buhain.