The Other Side of Vibal: Curator of Philippine History, ArtsMay 30th, 2017
By all appearances, Vibal Group has moved on. Renowned for its unparallelled expertise in educational publishing, the “64-year-old startup” as its CEO fondly calls it, has transformed itself from a textbook publisher into a fully integrated education and technology company. Today, Vibal churns out K to 12 textbooks for both private and public schools all over the Philippines while providing cloud solution to the national government after winning the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) bid for the GovCloud project.
The idea of a publishing house that is also a technology company is already too much for some to imagine, but it seems that the company has more tricks up its sleeve than it lets on.
Founded in 2007, Vibal Group’s philanthropic arm Vibal Foundation is the company’s bridge to the past. Led by CEO and President Gus Vibal who also serves as the Foundation’s Executive Director, Vibal Foundation’s vision is to engage Filipinos in academic discussion of Philippine history, culture, and arts by providing beautiful, insightful, and affordable print and digital materials.
Books for the Mind and Eye
On May 17, 2017, Vibal Foundation published The Life and Times of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma in partnership with the Kalaw Ledesma Foundation. This new addition to the company’s Arte Filipino collection documents the colorful life of the Mother of Philippine Modern Art as she struggled to rebuild herself and the local art scene after World War II.
Vibal Foundation launched the fifth edition of Fr. Manuel Blanco’s Flora de Filipinas on April 22, 2017.
Last month, Vibal Foundation launched the first volume of Fr. Manuel Blanco’s 180-year-old Flora de Filipinas in partnership with Instituto Cervantes. Edited by the brilliant botanist Dr. Domingo Madulid, Flora de Filipinas is a handbook of Philippine plants and flowers that is also a Filipiniana title in its own right.
With products such as a bilingual edition of the Boxer Codex, graphic novels from the 50s by National Artist Francisco Coching, and art books ranging from Damian Domingo to Lee Aguinaldo, Vibal Foundation’s book collection on Philippine history, culture, and arts can only be rivalled by a select number of publishing houses. In its commitment to become part of the ongoing process of recording Philippine history, the Foundation’s upcoming titles will include a book on anting-anting, a compilation of essays on how Filipinos are “more Islamic than we admit,” and a bilingual edition of Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo.
For Every Filipino
Beautiful Philippine books for the mind and eye, often hardbound with photos printed on glossy paper, cost a pretty penny. Vibal Foundation books, the must-haves that they are, will set buyers back anything from P600 to P4000. All of this will change, however, with the upcoming release of paperback, condensed versions of the Foundation’s art books slated for 2018. The 50 Shades of Philippine Arts collection aims to reintroduce the lives of renowned Filipino artists, such as Fabian De La Rosa, Galo Ocampo, Ben Cab, and Victorio Edades, to Filipinos at more affordable rates.
In Print and Digital
WikiPilipinas is the biggest online encyclopedia on Philippine history and culture.
Aside from its books, Vibal Foundation’s Web sites are also set for redesign. Renovation is currently ongoing for WikiPilipinas.org, the country’s biggest online encyclopedia, and The Philippine Online Chronicles (thepoc.net), Foundation’s citizen journalism site. Through these sites and Vibal Foundation’s books, the company hopes to reach all Filipinos and encourage them to rediscover their own country and culture.