of the OFM Archives in the Philippines
The Franciscans (OFM) arrived
in the Philippines in 1578.
Since their arrival they maintained an archives of their records and materials pertinent to their presence and missions
in the archipelago. The archives of the Province of San Gregorio Magno de Filipinas
was located then in the friary and Church of Our Lady
of the Angels in Intramuros, Manila. It was also here that the Provincial Curia
The years preceding the inauguration
of Philippine Independence in 1898 were tumultuous for the Franciscan missionaries. Fearing that the worst might befall the
archives, the friars decided to ship a big bulk of their archival holdings to Macao
for safekeeping. They hoped to take them back to Manila
if conditions in the colony would become favorable to the friars. But it did not turn out that way. The archival materials
were then shipped to Spain and kept in the archives of Pastrana.
Since then the archives had been known as the Archivo Franciscano Ibero Oriental.
The AFIO was eventually moved to Madrid where it is still presently located.
The turn of events shortly after
the revolution greatly affected the OFM presence in the country. The seat of
administration of the Province was transferred to Madrid in 1905. Only a handful
of Spanish Franciscans remained in the Philippines. To ensure
the continuous presence of the Franciscans in the Philippines,
the Vicariate of St. Gregory the Great was eventually established in 1970.
Much of the archival materials
left behind in Manila was subsequently lost in the aftermath of II World War.
The Franciscan church and convento in Intramuros were reduced to ruins during the liberation of Manila
by the Americans.
Following the inauguration of
the Vicariate, the Vicarial Archives was also formally started in 1971. Fr. Cayetano Sanchez, OFM was appointed as Vicarial
Archivist. The archives was temporarily set up at the Santuario de San Antonio Friary, Forbes
When the Vicariate was elevated
into a Province (San Pedro Bautista Province) in 1983, the Provincial Curia was transferred to St. Gregory Friary in San Francisco
del Monte in Quezon City. From Makati,
the archives was moved to the basement of the friary. Fr. Cantius Kobak, OFM was appointed archivist.
During the term of Fr. Pedro
Ruano, OFM as archivist, a classification of the archival holdings was done through the assistance of Fr. Pedro Gil Munoz
of the Spanish Province of St.
Gregory the Great. Fr. Ruano was later replaced by Fr. Oscar Ante, OFM. When Fr. Ante became minister provincial, Fr. Dan
Kroger took over. He was later on succeeded by Bro. Ramon Balana., OFM
In 1999, Fr. Jose Femilou Gutay,
OFM was appointed provincial archivist. From the basement of the Provincial House, the archives was moved up to the third
floor of the Annex Building. All the
archival materials went through a fumigation process and a re-classification of the holdings was done. Air-conditioning units
were installed so as to ensure temperature control and dehumidification.
At present, the Provincial Archives
and Library is continuously expanding its holdings. It receives researchers and visitors from many institutions, schools,
parishes, etc. from different parts of the country, and also from other parts of the world.
The Provinical Archives Office
is also administering and maintaining the “Museo Franciscano” at the basement of the Provincial Curia. The Museo
houses a modest collection of art works, liturgical and church vestments, vessels, artifacts, etc. from different Franciscan
churches and conventos.