This Museum in Marikina Has a Tiny Version of The Little Prince
Have you ever been to Book Museum?
Tucked away in the quiet streets of Marikina is a humble museum that houses some of the world's rarest books and a growing artifact collection of our Filipino heritage. The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center is headed by Atty. Dominador Buhain, who also owns Rex Group of Companies, a renowned local publishing house.
Atty. Buhain or Attorney, as his staff fondly call him, is a quiet and gentle man, but once we got to talking about his collections and beloved books, we immediately noticed a glint of excitement in his eyes.
Left: A first edition of the fourth Harry Potter book; Right: A copy of one of the first books published in the Philippines, Doctrina Christiana Explicado
When asked about his museum, he explains, "I am very close to the book publishing industry as this is my source of livelihood. And fortunately, through my business, I was able to see the world. And I feel like sharing what I've seen in a humble way for the others to see. I have other souvenirs that represent the countries I have visited, but for the public, I did it through books. That's why I try to buy books representing the country that I have visited."
Because of the demands of his work, Atty. Buhain was able to travel a lot, thus the accumulation of various knick knacks. But it was only after the unfortunate demise of his wife that he "decided to move everything here because of the existing vacant lot here, which is not that productive." He added that there are more souvenirs that are stored in his house, which is now more like a warehouse that preserves his collection.
Atty. Buhain is also a member of the Travelers' Century Club, an elite organization that only enlists members who have traveled to over a hundred or more territories around the world. When asked about his travels, he shares that the 228th place he's visited is a new territory called the Republic of Srpska.
All the traveling has helped him acquire a great number of rare and valuable books, including the oldest book in the museum. "[It's] a 15th-16th [Century] Latin Commentary of the Bible from Germany. But probably the most valuable book here is [the one] I bought from London, The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin," he noted.
Here's what to expect when you visit the museum:
It holds one of the smallest books in the world, and you can only read it through a special magnifying glass.
The smallest book in the collection is a limited-edition book from Germany that has The Lord's Prayer translated into different languages.
The smallest tablet from China was purchased by Atty. Buhain on his visit to the Yungang Grottoes in the Sichuan Province in 2013. Etched on the tablet is a poem called Peach Flower Stream by poet Pan Hi Gui.
They also have a tiny version of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's beloved The Little Prince novel and a complete tiny collection of Shakespeare's plays and prose.
As you enter the museum complex, you'll be greeted by three totem poles that are made from recycled wood.
Two of these depict our Philippine mythology; the third was carved by an Igorot.
By the museum door, you'll see murals that were painted by Filipino artist Leo Aguinaldo.
It took about a month for the murals to be completed. It tells the story of how the printing press came to be—globally on the left side, and how it developed locally on the right.
The museum is not just about books.
It is also an ethnology center that displays artifacts collected from Atty. Buhain's immersions in various provinces in the Philippines.
You can take a free guided tour to hear more about the curated pieces. The museum charges a P100 admission fee.
The Book Museum cum Ethnology Center is at 127 Dao Street, Marikina Heights, Marikina City. For more information, follow Book Museum on Facebook.
This story originally appeared on Preview.ph. Minor edits have been made by the SPOT.ph editors.