* a few word of welcome as one enters the Bible Museum
Despite the waning affinity to many aspects related to religion (regardless of denomination) I still find the commonly known history of the Bible (the book considered holy by the Christians in general) interesting. It was because of that old reason that I immediately went to the main office of the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) in United Nations Avenue in Manila – a short walk from where I currently work – to see the Bible Museum.
The museum itself is housed inside the PBS building’s second floor. In entering one can find the Bible House where you can buy devotional books, religious CDs and tapes, and a variety of bibles. It must be noted however that one must make prior arrangements before going to the museum as visitors will have a guided tour of the museum. It was fortunate that I was included in a group of visiting students.
Sir Jeremiah Dalida currently manages this guided tour. Inside the museum, one will be introduced to what he calls modules which included the start of the Abraham’s relationship with God, down to Moses, up to the time of Jesus Christ. In between modules there are interesting details such as the making of the papyrus, one of the ways through the early people write (the other two being the tablets and scrolls) and some of the replicas of what I can call biblical fixtures. Replicas included the menorah, a candelabrum with seven branches used during the Bible times; the Tabernacle; and the Second Temple in Jerusalem. I was once again reminded of the quiet discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls thanks to the recreation of a cave found also in the museum.
* Philippine Bible Society's Bible House
Perhaps the highlight of the museum is the air-conditioned room where one can find the bible collection of PBS, from the oldest to the biggest. What caught my attention was the story on how the current PBS was founded. During the Spanish times, a certain Señor Lallave initiated the printing of the bible for distribution but the iron rule hindered such distribution. We can see here that during that time, new ideas were considered dangerous. The Spaniards did not see the Indios capable yet of digesting the Scriptures.
The American Occupation period ushered the relative freedom of bible reading and distribution and in fact, translation. It gave me goose bumps to see the earliest translated bible in the country, the dialect of the Pangasinenses. Add to that the presence of the oldest bible in their possession, an 1816 bible published by Blaire and Bruce. Unfortunately, picture taking is not allowed inside the museum.
Other features included a relatively-famous life-size image of Apostle Paul in the act of writing and a costume area where one can wears clothes from the Bible times.
In the end I gained refreshing insights on the Bible which I see now as possible historical capsules, carrying with them the stories of the times when they were made and the stories as well of their distant past. What else can I say? This is the start of my bible collecting activity.
For further details you can contact Ms. Helen Saldana, Resource Development Officer at PBS, 890 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila, Telephone Nos.: (02) 524-5337; (02) 526-7777 local 620, e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.bible.org.ph
[How to go to the Bible Museum, Philippine Bible Society, Manila: PBS is located at 890 United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila, near the United Nations LRT Station. So one can board the nearest LRT Station (if you are from Manila) or board the Gil Puyat Station going to Monumento (if you will be coming from the provinces and dropping off at Gil Puyat-Taft Avenue intersection). Drop off at the UN LRT Station and walk up UN Avenue. PBS is across the street from the Manila Police District Headquarters.]