As part of the commemoration of the 500th year of Filipino–Hispano relations, Vibal Foundation recently launched the second edition of Boxer Codex: A Modern Spanish Transcription and English Translation of 16th-Century Exploration Accounts of East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Edited and annotated by Isaac Donoso, and translated by Ma. Luisa Garcia, Mauro Garcia, and National Artist for Historical Literature Carlos Quirino, this is a new edition of the inaugural volume in Vibal Foundation’s Seryeng Kinsentenaryo (Quincentennial Series) first published in 2016.
This quincentennial series of books sheds light on significant aspects of political, economic, and cultural “encounters” between Spaniards and Filipinos in the early modern period. Iberian imperial expansion led to the unleashing of the historical processes of colonization, imperialism, and globalization. Through a meticulous and scholarly presentation of primary documents, these multidimensional and multidirectional historical processes are refracted through a lens of archipelagic Hispanization that emphasizes native agency and reveals the subtext of the Filipino response to Spanish incursion—whether it be resistance, co-optation, or acculturation.
Boxer Codex: Reimagined Edition
The 16th-century manuscript that was eventually named after British scholar Charles R. Boxer was originally a collection of eyewitness accounts of various cultures and places in East and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines. These accounts—rich with anthropological detail about precolonial customs and beliefs and lavishly illustrated with depictions of native peoples in their traditional costumes—were compiled into a book with the purpose of convincing the king of Spain to launch further expeditions in the region.
In the decades since this manuscript was discovered in 1947, a constellation of scholars has expanded our understanding of this valuable document, which gives us perhaps the clearest depiction of the lives of early Filipinos as well as the politics of early modern Asia.
In addition to presenting the Spanish text and English translation side by side for comparison, Vibal’s edition contains an insightful and synthesizing introduction by Isaac Donoso that situates the codex within global and historical context at the time it was written. Vibal Foundation's latest version of Boxer Codex renders this invaluable primary source on our cultural past in a form accessible to modern scholars, bibliophiles, and anyone interested in colonial and precolonial history of the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Academica Filipina is the interdisciplinary series that pushes the boundaries of scholarly publishing with smart, literate, and thought-provoking works exploring the Philippine past, present and future. Among its titles are: Boxer Codex: A Spanish Transcription and Translation of 16th Century Exploration Accounts, The World of the Manila-Acapulco Galleons, More Hispanic Than We Admit Volumes 1 to 3, More Tsinoy Than We Admit, More Islamic Than We Admit, More American Than We Admit, More Pinay Than We Admit, More Tomboy More Bakla Than We Admit, The World of the Manila-Acapulco Galleons, El Periodismo Filipino, Santo Niño de Cebu, Púgot: Head Taking Ritual, Cannibalism, and Human Sacrifice in the Philippines.