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VPAA’s book unveils Visayas’ maritime history

By Kean Andrei Bagaipo | September 14, 2023

Dr. Earl Jude Paul Cleope, vice president for academic affairs of Silliman University (SU), published a history book “reveal[ing] collections of major historical events in the Visayas’ seas and islands” through the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) on Sept. 3.

Cleope said his book, “The Visayas, Islands in the Sea: A History,” described the history of the Visayas islands with a “focus on the seas and maritime activities of people” as part of the significant events in Philippine history.

“This book dealt with voluminous materials dealing with Visayan local history that [were] synthesized to provide a history of the region with the ultimate goal of contributing to constructing a complete history of the nation,” he added.

As an NHCP commissioner, Cleope revealed that he spent 15 years examining the role of bodies of water surrounding the Visayas islands as “part of the historical discourse.”

“This study of history is framed on the role of the sea in the historical development of the Visayas region,” he said.

Cleope added that the book aimed to offer a “new framework” for writing a “total, national history” using a multi-disciplinary approach to explain the Visayas history from a “new historicist perspective.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Bernardita Reyes Churchill, president of the Philippine National Historical Society,  wrote in her foreword that the book “blazed a trail in local/regional history.”

“The ultimate goal of [the book] was to synthesize the history of the Visayas, collating the various historical studies thus far, constructing a regional history of the Visayas that would find resonance in the historiography of the other regions in the Philippines,” she wrote.

(via Silliman University Office of Information and Publications)

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