Message of Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda: Opening Ceremony of “Espacio e Imperio” Exhibit

May 20, 2024

Opening of the archival exhibit
“Espacio e Imperio: Mindanao and the Restructuring of Colonial Spaces for Empire”
20 May 2024, Senate of the Philippines


Magandang araw sa ating lahat.

Welcome to Espacio e Imperio, an enlightening exhibition that delves into the transformative impact of Spanish colonial rule on the island of Mindanao.

It is a great pleasure that we launch this collection of recently accessible records from the National Archives of the Philippines, shedding light on a pivotal yet often overlooked chapter in the country’s history.

We extend our deepest gratitude to the National Archives of the Philippines for their invaluable work in preserving these historical records and making them available to us today. Their dedication ensures that we can explore and understand the intricate details of our past, providing us with the resources to present this comprehensive exhibition.

This exhibit provides a window into how Spanish colonization reshaped Mindanao’s landscapes and societal structures to serve imperial ambitions. Through a meticulous selection of newly digitized documents, the exhibit provides a rare glimpse into the architectural and environmental metamorphosis of colonization. From the extensive deforestation for timber to the construction of grand colonial edifices, the exhibits illustrate the far-reaching changes imposed upon this rich and diverse region.

As you explore the displays, you will witness the alterations in Mindanao and a broader perspective on Southeast Asia’s colonial architecture. The exhibition includes comparative photographs from the National Archives of Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Myanmar, and Indonesia, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of how European colonial powers reconfigured the physical and cultural landscapes across the region.

“Espacio e Imperio” is more than just an exhibition of historical documents and photographs. It is an invitation to rethink historical narratives and deepen our understanding of the colonial past. By examining these transformations, we hope to foster a deeper appreciation of the complexities and nuances of our shared history.

I encourage you to immerse yourselves in the stories and images that reveal the profound legacy of colonial rule in Mindanao and beyond. Let this exhibition be a starting point for reflection, discussion, and a renewed commitment to understanding the intricate tapestry of our past.

Thank you. Isang luntiang Pilipinas sa ating lahat.