02 Aug2007


The world has certainly gotten smaller. I was doodling with my Google Analytics tool, checking out Marketmanila statistics for July (I am a numbers person by training, after all) and I clicked on a map of the world that plotted visitors to this site in the past month. Gosh, WAS I SHOCKED, or WHAT?!? I track my numbers very closely because I am inately numbers driven. Yes, I knew that 103,000+ unique visitors came onto the site last month. That means if Millet in Davao logged on 3x in one day, she would count as 1 unique visitor that day, but I think if she came onto the site the next day, then she would again count as another unique visitor for the same month. More interesting is that you all read or opened 290,000+ different pages on this site last month. That shocks me since it is like reading through say 290 1,000 page novels in total last month, or about 10 novels a day worth of posts! But what really got my attention is that visitors came from a stunning 158 countries and territories in the past 31 days alone… there were VERY FEW countries on the Google Analytics map that did not register at least 2 or 3 visitors last month, it was absolutely mind-boggling… Now I know, the web can be strange, and random googles, yahoo searches, etc. can yield a hit from an unusual place, but even discounting outlyers, this really blew me away. Considering that there are only about 194 countries in world TOTAL (including Taiwan), that leaves less than 40 countries that didn’t have at least one visitor to this blog last month… I checked which countries didn’t register… In Asia, no visitors from North Korea (duh), Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, Kazakhstan + 3 other hstans were recorded, In Africa, many countries did not visit, like Senegal, Uganda and Madagascar. In the North Atlantic, no one from Greenland paid Marketmanila a visit (boohoo…), and in ALL of the Americas, only Bolivia remained blank on the map. I wanted to clip the map and post it here but it just exceeded my limited technological capability, 10 minutes of trying and I gave up…


But this actually brings up a great segue into antique maps… Mrs. MM and I have collected antique maps for nearly 2 decades. They are beautiful, historical, portable and of limited quantity. At first we were drawn to the history and the wonderfully recorded evolution of man’s knowledge of where countries/land masses were on the globe… we have maps dating to the 1500’s where so many of the countries/islands we know today are not shown at all. We have a small, very small, collection of maps, mostly of the Philippines, Southeast Asia and Cebu. We tried to get maps that showed the maximum “errors” or represented our home country in such a factually incorrect manner… somehow these maps spoke to us and we naturally acquired maps when they grabbed us and we could afford them. Some maps, like the one up top, show dozens and dozens of islands to the right of Mindanao that cartographers believed belonged to the Philippine archipelago, but in reality, do not exist where plotted at all… Or else in the second map above, a rare hand coloured copper engraved map from around 1600 and from the Caert-Thresoor published by Langenes, Berthius, Claesz and Hondius, the Philippines is shown lying on its side, rather that on a more recognized North to South alignment. It was just a different convention then to orient from another view… And if you could read this map, it names us as “Archipelagus San Lazari” possibly because Magellan arrived here on the Feast of St Lazarus (but I am not sure about that fact)…


Perhaps one of my favorite maps is this small (4×5 inch or so) map of the Philippine archipelago and Southeast Asia from Porcacchi’s “Lisole piv famose del mondo” Venezia, 1576 editions but perhaps drawn as early as 1548 by Giacomo Gastaldi. This map is missing the entire island of Luzon, and only shows Polaguan (Palawan), Cubu (Cebu), Negros, Bohol and is missing Mindanao as well. I found this map in some small art gallery in Jakarta while browsing paintings one Saturday in 1992 or so, where stuffed in a drawer were dozens of maps including this one. I ended up buying it for $100 as the first antique map I ever purchased. It turned out to be a brilliant find, and today, would probably fetch as much as 18x that amount at auction (net of commissions). I would never sell it in my lifetime unless I fell victim to a scam and needed money, but in the 15 or so years since I acquired it as a present for Mrs. MM, it has risen an average of about 21% per annum in dollar terms compounded (beat that, you scam artists)!


Finally, this fourth map is an original hand coloured copper engraving from “Premiere Voyage Autour du Monde…” published by Jansen in Paris in 1801, but is based on Antonio Pigafetta’s drawing of the island of Zzubu and Mattan (Cebu and Mactan) chronicled at the time he first landed in the islands with Magellan in 1521. What fascinates me, and Mrs. MM even more, is the actual HISTORY behind these maps, the fact that they represent our knowledge of the world at that point in time. How much more we had to discover, how much more accurate we had to become. Today, with Google Earth, one can instantly be transported to any corner of the planet courtesy of satellite photos, but back then, you had to head into the wild blue yonder and hope that somehow you used your compass right and would end up on a tiny island called Zzubu, halfway around the world… only to be slain by my great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Lapu-Lapu and his smelly barkada (unless they discovered the use of tawas)… heehee. I kid you not, my grandmother, a serious doctor in her time, strongly asserted she was a direct descendant of the dude man with abs that whacked the Portuguese explorer silly… But silliness aside, and melding collecting that what truly interests you, buying things with lasting value (not fancy cellphones that depreciate faster than your underwear), witnessing history before you, and investing one’s money smartly, I couldn’t think of a better way to pull that all together except with these antique maps…enjoy! Oh, and last interesting note. Had you bought property in Forbes Park in 1992 in dollar terms and sold it today, after taxes, these maps would beat your annual returns by a significant margin. So go figure, old paper trumps the primest real estate in the country…not an obvious investment story… :)


Postscript: Here is the original map that spawned this post. After 30 minutes of fumbling, could it be, I figured it out? Gosh, I am so technologically challenged… Thank you, thank you to my tech consultants, Toping, Lee and peterb, I hope this is clear enough for everyone to see. Looking at this map, cut from Google analytics, countries in white are the ones from where marketmanila has had no visitors in the month of July, all other countries in shades of light green to dark green, have had a few to many visitors… Not surprisingly, the U.S. and the Philippines have the most visitors.



  1. lee says:

    MapMan this is a cool collection. I’m not much of a collector but in my lifetime I would love to own at least one authentic old thing with a strong sense of history like maps, globes, skulls, etc. The oldest thing I have is a green colored bottle embossed with San Miguel P.I.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 2:37 pm


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  3. TOPING says:

    To do a screen capture, press “Print Screen”, open an image editing program of your choice, go to the “Edit” menu and click on “Paste”. I’d love to see that map. ;p

    Aug 2, 2007 | 2:39 pm

  4. Lei says:

    silly me, but how do you get regularly appraised of the value of your map collection? do you have someone appraise it for you or is there a site providing such information?

    Aug 2, 2007 | 3:21 pm

  5. nette says:

    hi market manila! here’s a reader from yokohama, jpn.;) been reading your blog for quite some time now. i think i may have commented at least once but can’t remember anymore.

    this is so not related to your post but im just curious to know, have you ever done sinigang using plum? i know you love experimenting (sinigang with santol/bayabas) but i cant find an entry of sinigang using plum here. :D

    unlike tamarind (or those knorr sinigang mixes), plums are readily available in the nearby supermarkets here. im just not sure how to do it but i read it somewhere that it’s possible. there were no recipes though. so if in case you want to experiment on your sinigang again, may i suggest plums? dried or fresh..im not even sure which one to recommend. >.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 3:31 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Lei, there are a few dealers around the world that handle these sorts of maps, one in Singapore, Gallery of Prints on the 4th? floor of Glorietta 4 (browse there, its fascinating and free to boot), one in NYC, several in London, etc. I don’t get regular appraisals, I just happened to see the $100 one 13 years later at much more the original price… Also, you can occasionally find auction catalogues from the good auction houses with guiding prices… We didn’t collect for the financial gains, the gains were just a bonus, and since I have never sold a map, they are unrealized gains… :)

    Aug 2, 2007 | 3:39 pm

  7. annette says:

    MM those maps are pretty cool, my grandmother also owns an old world map written in Spanish, I always tell her, that it would be a nice birthday present for me but she just gives me the bad stare, hahahaha. Okay, I got her message, which is a NO! But my Grandfather gave me his old Kodak camera and his verry old manual typewriter, wonder how much would they cost now?

    Aug 2, 2007 | 3:44 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Toping, HELP! I did as you said and was thrilled I got a cropped nice version of the map on Adobe photoshop, but it only allows me to save it as a PSD? file, no option for jpeg… any ideas?! Thanks! annette, I would save the typewriter, so cool the old versions… nette, plums huh, very interesting option. I suppose they could work, but are not natural to the Philippines so probably isn’t a likely recipe here. If I were you, use unripe or sour fresh plums, not dried, and boil them in water as you would green tamarind, then when the broth is sufficiently sour, then add the other ingredients… please let us know if it works, I rarely get access to decent plums here at a reasonable price to experiment on a plum sinigang! :)

    Aug 2, 2007 | 3:50 pm

  9. lee says:

    MM. You need to flatten the image first. Go to the Layer Menu and click “Flatten Image” at the bottom of the menu. you can save the flattened image as a jpeg file. Or go to the File Menu and choose “Save for Web”, and choose the jpeg option somewhere below the save button.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 3:59 pm

  10. TOPING says:

    MM, that’s because PSD is Photoshop’s default file format. It preserves all the layers, so if you plan on using the photo again, save it as .psd; the resulting file size is quite large, though, because the image is not compressed into a single layer. Then you can open the saved image and save it as .jpeg. If that still doesn’t do it, do as lee says and merge (flatten) all layers first. Smaller file size, but it also loses some detail because of the compression (jpeg is a lossy format). Good luck. Hope to see that map soon!

    Aug 2, 2007 | 5:39 pm

  11. peterb says:

    MM, nice collection. I can imagine a nice wall full of these maps. Regarding the image you saved. I think the default program for opening images in your computer is Photoshop. When you press print screen the image is stored in the memory. Just open Paint under Accessories and paste it there then save it as JPG.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 6:02 pm

  12. Jade186 says:

    Thanks for sharing this MM! You must’ve been a navigator in your previous life; presently a world citizen :)

    Aug 2, 2007 | 6:48 pm

  13. filet minion says:

    this is too cool!!! i always love historical tidbits. short of sounding lame, this is the coolest post ever.

    the only framed stuff in my condo are reproductions of antique map of the phils which i stole from my dad’s office, and lori’s nutmeg dessert for the kitchen.

    your antique maps are too cool!! too cool!!!! that porcacchi map is the coolest! any chance you’d raffle them off like your kalamansi marmalade?!? wishful thinking

    Aug 2, 2007 | 7:10 pm

  14. Apicio says:

    No less significant that collecting artifacts bring about are the accumulation of knowledge, you become more of an expert when you search more attendant information on the objects you collect; you gain visual acuity, you acquire better eyes in winnowing out the useless from the precious and lastly, you conserve for posterity what might otherwise fall into destruction on less caring hands. We are not thinking of the Duveens and the Berensons who assembled great collections for the likes of J. P. Morgan, Andrew Frick or the Mellons but the nameless souls who hoarded incunabulae to save them from being used for kindling or held on to medieval tapestries from being used as tarping for root crops.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 8:28 pm

  15. Carl says:

    nice collection! I am 23 and I am into antiques as well. I have im my “collection” old Philippine postcards and photos of Filipinos in the 1900’s, old receipts (some dating back from 1890’s) and antique crosses. I am a fan of your site. :) Great recipes.

    Aug 2, 2007 | 10:37 pm

  16. silkybabes says:

    I can’t see the map clearly. I’m interested to know if St. Vincent and the Grenadines is in the statistics with an avid marketmanila reader. That’s me!

    Aug 2, 2007 | 11:04 pm

  17. Maria Clara says:

    I am one of your perennial readers and visit your site virtually five or six times a day except Sundays. Your antique maps are part of your family estate and heirloom.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 12:21 am

  18. leylagencer says:

    YEHEY marketman!!!

    Haven’t been back to Manila in 16+ years, so I love visiting your site, esp. during lunch break (of course)!!!!

    Aug 3, 2007 | 1:13 am

  19. shalimar says:

    well everyone has given you an advice will be in nepal at some point so i will make sure I will check your site wheni get there…

    Aug 3, 2007 | 2:14 am

  20. TOPING says:

    Apicio, as always, you take the thunder from all other commenters with your precious insights! The day you take another sabbatical marks another low point for this blog, hehe…

    Shalimar, make that two! I plan to be in the Nepal/Tibet area some time soon. Any chance of a hook-up? p;

    MM, I think this goes right up your alley:

    Aug 3, 2007 | 2:42 am

  21. leylagencer says:

    J. P. Morgan, Andrew Frick or the Mellons

    JP Morgan never relied on Duveen. He was collecting a generation before Henry Clay Frick or Andrew Mellon.

    Berenson was Isabella Stewart Gardner’s advisor and liason.

    Duveen counted Benjamin Altman, the Wideners (father and son) and Andrew Mellon.

    Heh, you wrote beautifully on collecting tho. It is a strong point for me (wish they had more art categories on Jeopardy.) I studied art history at NYU.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 2:59 am

  22. Patricia says:

    Hi Marketman! I really love your website. I’ve been a lurker, who has posted once and tells everyone about your blog. I will keep on shading the Notheastern part of North America on your google map.:)

    I was just reading my mommy magazine, Cookie Magazine and discovered this website, raremaps.com that might interest you or your readers. They have a collection of old Philippine maps, etc… for sale. They aren’t cheap! Hold on to yours and your Kid will gladly inherit from you! I happened to find a 1960s road map of Manila in an antique store in Milford, NY. It doesn’t cost much, compared to your find, but it is something that made me proud of to own. Maybe I’ll be able to find a better “treasure” map when I go antiquing again.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 3:00 am

  23. leylagencer says:

    oops my bad seems like jp acquire stuff from the duveens (albeit the older duveen).

    makes me want to go visit the met today.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 3:04 am

  24. Marketman says:

    Patricia, yes, thank you for that link, here is the live link for readers who are curious raremaps.com

    Aug 3, 2007 | 6:31 am

  25. millety says:

    this is neat!

    Aug 3, 2007 | 7:53 am

  26. Apicio says:

    This is all about the exciting discoveries that MarketMan wants to share with us and is never ever what we choose to say about them. Besides I said “the likes of” and in the most recent biography of Duveen a certain number of paintings were actually attributed by Berenson (some experts suspect spuriously) before being peddled by Duveen. J.P.Morgan actually sent out his own agents throughout Europe.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 8:20 am

  27. Cumin says:

    Brilliant! I, too, love antique maps, though the closest I came to owning one was a t-shirt from Spice Islands (sayang the shop closed down) with an old map of the Philippines.

    Aug 3, 2007 | 8:38 am

  28. juls says:

    hi mm,

    i love antique maps and love collecting if budget permits. my greatest finds are my 2 atlas the filipinas where i got online for only $35 and $70… they’re really nice to look at the the smell of old paper is intoxicating!

    Aug 3, 2007 | 3:53 pm

  29. aniohevetsofia says:

    Shalom from Haifa, Israel! I discovered your blog just recently..(4-5days ago?) am gonna be an avid reader :) cool map collection!

    Aug 4, 2007 | 3:05 am

  30. carol says:

    hi! you shouldn’t be surprised for having such number of readers! i love your site! it gives me great dining ideas with my man:P

    thanks! keep it up:)

    Aug 4, 2007 | 1:18 pm


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