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The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes   By: (1816-1900)

The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes by Fedor Jagor

In "The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes," author Fedor Jagor paints a vivid and insightful picture of the Philippines during the mid-19th century. Jagor's book, originally published in 1876, serves as a fascinating travelogue and ethnographic study, infused with personal anecdotes that offer valuable perspectives on the country's history, culture, and society.

Jagor's meticulous observations and attention to detail bring the Philippines to life on the pages, capturing the diverse landscapes, customs, and traditions of the archipelago. His initial encounters with the local inhabitants showcase his genuine curiosity and open-mindedness, enabling readers to better understand the dynamics between foreigners and Filipinos during this era.

One of the book's strengths lies in its exploration of the complex relationships between the various ethnic groups residing in the Philippines at the time. Jagor's descriptions shed light on the distinct cultural practices of different indigenous tribes, offering readers a glimpse into their lives, customs, and beliefs. His respectful approach ensures that readers gain a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural tapestry of the islands.

Furthermore, Jagor's account navigates the turbulent political landscape of the Philippines during his stay. His observations on Spanish colonial rule and its impact on the local population are particularly noteworthy. From discussions on the encomienda system to the Catholic Church's influence, Jagor draws attention to the complexities of the colonial relationship, providing historical context for the Philippines' later struggles for independence.

Though written over a century ago, "The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes" remains relevant and engaging. The author's storytelling prowess combined with his academic rigor create a compelling narrative that makes for a captivating read. Additionally, the book serves as a valuable resource for historians and scholars, offering unique firsthand observations that can augment their understanding of the period.

However, it is important to acknowledge that The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes is a product of its time, written from the perspective of a European visitor during an era of colonial expansion. While Jagor demonstrates genuine curiosity and respect for the local populations, readers must approach the book with a critical lens, considering the inherent biases and limitations that come with a foreign author's perspective.

Overall, "The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes" is an illuminating account of the country's past that captures the imagination and intellect. Fedor Jagor's meticulous observations, combined with his genuine curiosity and storytelling abilities, make this book a valuable resource for anyone interested in the Philippines' history, culture, and people.

First Page:


Edited by Austin Craig


Among the many wrongs done the Filipinos by Spaniards, to be charged against their undeniably large debt to Spain, one of the greatest, if not the most frequently mentioned, was taking from them their good name.

Spanish writers have never been noted for modesty or historical accuracy. Back in 1589 the printer of the English translation of Padre Juan Gonzalez de Mendoza's "History of the Great and Mighty Kingdom of China" felt it necessary to prefix this warning: the Spaniards (following their ambitious affections) do usually in all their writings extoll their own actions, even to the setting forth of many untruthes and incredible things, as in their descriptions of the conquistes of the east and west Indies, etc., doth more at large appeare.

Of early Spanish historians Doctor Antonio de Morga seems the single exception, and perhaps even some of his credit comes by contrast, but in later years the rule apparently has proved invariable. As the conditions in the successive periods of Spanish influence were recognized to be indicative of little progress, if not actually retrogressive, the practice grew up of correspondingly lowering the current estimates of the capacity of the Filipinos of the conquest, so that always an apparent advance appeared... Continue reading book >>

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