JUANIT0 P. JARASAIn the Foreign Service, career officers are warned about the dangers of “localitis” or the development of so close an attachment to the place of assignment that one loses one’s nationalism or patriotism. What Angie and I acquired was a different kind of attachment, what can be called “collectivitis”: an inclination that later grew into something like a passion for collecting memorabilia of the history and culture of the countries we lived in or visited to take back home. Through the years we accumulated such objects from Holland, Thailand, Vietnam, China, India, Russia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and the United States.

We have not collected only foreign objects. Among our most prized possessions are pieces related to our own country. After the collapse of communism in Hungary, I discovered some shops in Vaci Utca in downtown Budapest selling antique maps, prints, and memorabilia. Much to my delight I found a map of “Insulae Philippines” by P.N. Sanson printed in 1679 where Luzon was identified as “Luconia” and Manila as “Manill.” I was able to buy a big map “Carte de l’Asie” printed in Paris in January 1820 with the original dry seal of the mapmaker and showing in full “Iles Philippines.” I also acquired post-card size hand-colored prints of six Philippines birds printed in Germany in 1790.

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