Catalogue of rare books shine in Semper Lumina

Have you seen La Independencia or the Doctrina Christiana? You’ve probably heard of these titles being introduced to us from our history classes but how about seeing them being restored?


1.5 million pages have been digitised. The process now has been reduced to one month.

Union Bank of the Philippines, together with the University of Santo Tomas (UST), recently launched the Heritage Library and Archives Catalogues and an enhanced Digital Library in an event called Semper Lumina (Always, The Light) held last Friday (May 5) at EDSA Shangri-La, Manila.


The event featured an exhibit of the rare books and documents from the UST library and archives showcasing the restoration, digitization and publication efforts of the UST-UnionBank partnership called Lumina Pandit, that has been ongoing since 2011.

Lumina Pandit is a sustainable project of the UST Miguel de Benavides Library and University Archives, supported and financed by UnionBank, which aims to preserve and share the University’s priceless collections to today’s globally-connected world.

“We are very happy to be part of this major effort to rediscover and further our understanding of who we are as Filipinos, and to then connect this with our soul to know why we do what we do, why we believe in what we believe, what we value and live for, die for. At the Miguel de Benavides Library of the University of Sto. Tomas we make that connection, and by making the books and archives collected over 400 years universally accessible through preservation and digitization we make it possible for all of us Filipinos, and others to know who we truly are, our ethos as people, our pagkataong Filipino. And from here, we spread the unending light forever – Semper Lumina,” said UnionBank Chairman and CEO Justo A. Ortiz, Ph.D.


La Independencia became the most famous and most important newspaper of the Philippine Revolution. 


Through this partnership, UST library purchased modern equipment that accelerated the restoration and conservation process of old books and documents that were in a precarious state. Before Lumina Pandit, an average-sized book would take about three months to restore. With the new equipment, the process has been shortened to about one month per book.

Selected materials are now also scanned and uploaded onto the internet. UnionBank assisted in developing the prototype scanner used in the initial stages of digitization. These images are made available to the public through a digital library using online library management software, also acquired through this partnership.

“These rare books and documents, evidence of the rich Filipino culture centuries ago, are now more accessible to history enthusiasts and academics alike. And with this, we couldn’t be prouder of what this meaningful partnership has produced,” said Fr. Angel A. Aparicio, OP, of the UST Library.

The Catalogue of Rare Books (1492-1945) and Archives Catalogue is an eight-book collector’s set, complete with annotations, documenting over 30,000 volumes housed in the 400-year-old university. These books are important not only to the history of the university, but also to the identity of the Philippines as country and its people.


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