Philippine history e-book contains credible sources

NCCA’s ‘Philippine History Source Book Annotated Compilation of Selected Philippine History Primary Sources and Secondary Works in Electronic Format.’ / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF NCCA

Currently, there are two phenomena that greatly challenge education, particularly the learning of history.

One is the Covid-19 pandemic which, according to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), accelerated the digital transformation of society and also laid bare and widened the disparity on access to information.

Another is the proliferation of biased, false and misleading information, disinformation and misinformation in the digital landscape. Many consider it as a kind of pandemic with adverse impacts on lives and livelihoods, the NCCA said, acknowledging the observations of cultural institutions around the world. One alarming issue in the country today is the historical revisionism and denialism concerning the Marcos dictatorship and its atrocities, which intensified as Ferdinand Marcos’ son, Bongbong, filed his candidacy for presidency.

The national cultural agency believes that cultural institutions play a crucial role in providing and disseminating right and credible information. Thus, the publication of the Philippine History Source Book: Annotated Compilation of Selected Philippine History Primary Sources and Secondary Works in Electronic Format is a timely and necessary tool in addressing these two concerns.

A project of the NCCA’s National Committee on Historical Research (NCHR), the digital annotated compilation of selected Philippine history primary sources and secondary works was launched virtually on 31 August.

The head of NCHR, Dr. Emmanuel F. Calairo of De La Salle University (DLSU) Dasmariñas in Cavite, in his opening remarks acknowledged the timeliness of this work as many have not been able to go to libraries due to quarantine restrictions.

Dr. Neil M. Santillan, NCHR vice head, also reiterated the current situation in education: “The current public health crisis has forced academic institutions to shift from the traditional in-person class setup to a remote learning modality that privileges virtual platforms and online processes.

“It is in this context that the National Committee on Historical Research… launched a project to facilitate the annotated compilation of selected history primary sources and secondary works in electronic format,” he added.

The 640-page e-book is a collaborative effort involving the history departments of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), DLSU, Silliman University (SU) and the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD).

The committee formed a project team composed of professors Alvin D. Cabalquinto and Janet Reguindin Estella from ADMU; Jose Rhommel B. Hernandez and Jose Victor D. Jimenez from DLSU; Jely A. Galang and Dondy Pepito G. Ramos II from UPD; and Earl Jude Paul L. Cleofe from SU.

“The team was headed by Professor Jimenez, whose able leadership oversaw the different aspects of the project from conceptualization to completion from August 2020 to August 2021,” Santillan said.

The professors were responsible for “setting the bases and parameters on what readings to be selected, prioritized and utilized in the teaching of a general education course in Philippine history, and facilitate the compilation and annotation of Philippine history readings in electronic format as an intervention of the NCHR to aid history teachers and students access key primary sources and secondary works in the contexts of remote learning,” Jimenez explained.

In organizing the different sections of the book, Jimenez said they divided selections into different historical periods: Before the 16th century, 16th to 18th centuries, 19th century, Philippine Revolution, Philippine-American War, 20th century up to 1935, Commonwealth, 1941 to 1946, 1946 to 1972, 1972 to 1986 and 1986 to present.

“The project team selected 10 reading materials, primary sources or a combination of primary and secondary sources for each period. The annotations provide a background on the authors and the context and significance of the readings,” said Jimenez. “The reader covers an extensive range of primary sources, and a scattering of secondary works that touch on the political, economic, social and cultural aspects of Philippine history.”

The annotated compilation will be disseminated online and offline, primarily through the online platforms of the NCCA and the four history departments involved in the project.

Philippine History Source Book: Annotated Compilation of Selected Philippine History Primary Sources and Secondary Works in Electronic Format can be downloaded for free from the NCCA website ( after completing a survey.

For more information on the publication, one can contact Gina Barcelon of the NCCA Cultural Heritage Section via email

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