AIJC Chairman Velarde presents a replica of the Murillo Velarde map to Senate President Koko Pimentel and Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto. Also in the picture is Senate Secretary Lutgardo B. Barbo.

Official replicas of the Carta Hydrographica y Chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas Manila, 1734, otherwise known as the Murillo-Velarde Map, were donated by Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) Chairman Mel V. Velarde to several government offices.

Mr. Velarde personally turned over the replicas to heads of different agencies including the Supreme Court, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of National Defense, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Office of the Solicitor General, Central Bank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, major services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (e.g., Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Army), and the Philippine Postal Corporation.

Some higher educational institutions including Ateneo de Manila University and Holy Angel University (an AIJC partner school in Angeles, Pampanga) as well as the embassies of Canada and Singapore likewise received official replicas.

Special exhibits of the original map were also held in several public venues organized by AIJC. The exhibits were held at the Supreme Court, Philippine Senate, and Ateneo de Manila University.

Regarded by historians as the “mother of all Philippine maps,” the Murillo-Velarde Map is the first scientific map of the Philippines. It was prepared by Spanish Jesuit Friar Pedro Murillo Velarde with two Filipinos—Francisco Suarez, who drew the map, and Nicolas dela Cruz Bagay, who engraved it.

This large-format map (1120mm x 1200mm) shows the entire Philippine archipelago. It is flanked by two pasted-on side panels with twelve engravings. Among its features is a tiny island with the label “Panacot,” later named Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal.  Also shown are the rocks and island of Spratlys named in the map as “Los Bajos de Paragua.”

According to Chairman Velarde, the distribution of the replicas is part of a national public awareness campaign on the map and its significance to Philippine cultural heritage.