UP Interdisciplinary Book Forum on Traditional Filipino Medicine Happening September 27

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The UP Press and the UP Institute of Creative Writing will hold its latest installment of the semestral Interdisciplinary Book Forum or IBF on September 27, 2017 at the Pavilion 1131, Palma Hall, UP Diliman. The forum will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon.

The IBF series is hosted by the UP Press and the UP ICW to foster readership of new titles from the university’s press in different fields. The forum invites a set of specialists as speakers to discuss the book’s merits and importance. Previous installments have focused on books on science fiction and indigenous art. The IBF is made possible by a UP EIDR grant.

This semester’s book-in-focus is Dr. Ma. Mercedes Planta’s Traditional Medicine in the Colonial Philippines: 16th to the 19th Century. The book, which just came out this year, explores the various Philippine medicinal plants and herbs that Filipino traditional medical practitioners or herbolarios had prescribed since the precolonial period. When the Spanish missionaries arrived in the country from the 17th to the 19th century, they collected, studied, and made records of these plants and herbs. Their writings on these, as well as on their medicinal use, serve as primary sources for modern studies, since the herbolarios did not leave any writings themselves.

The discussants for this installment of the forum are Dr. Ma. Luisa Camagay of the UP Department of History, Dr. Victor Paz of the UP Archeological Studies Program, and Dr. Salvador Caoili of the UP Manila College of Medicine. UP Vice President for Public Affairs Dr. Jose Y. Dalisay, Jr. will serve as moderator.

Dr. Planta’s book is an important chronicling of the missionaries’ records, giving readers an intimate and dense portrait of a defined medical tradition. It documents an important component of ways of life and epistemologies that Filipinos can recuperate and benefit from. The author’s lively and scholarly invitation to reflect on a particular aspect of Philippine culture and harness its potential is a triumph of history as “usable past,” especially in this day in age when access to health and medical care remains beyond the reach of most Filipinos.

This event is free. Faculty who plan on coming to the forum are encouraged to bring their students.

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