by Arturo B. del Ayre
Philately, a word coined in 1864 from the French
whichoriginated from the combination of two Greek words
, loving +
, exemption from tax, taken as equivalent of "postage prepaid", isthe collection and study of postage stamps, covers, and other postaldocuments.Stamp collecting is only the other half of philately. There are a numberof stamp collectors, but only few philatelists. Usually the most dedicatedstamp collector metamorphoses into a dedicated philatelist due to afascination of the search for information, on the excitement of a rarediscovery, the satisfaction of completing an album or simply that anabsorbing hobby has become both a pleasure and relaxation.England issued the first adhesive postal stamp in 1840aside from various types of postal systems long before that,these items are considered pre-philatelic issues. In thePhilippines, the first set of stamps was of Spanish origin.Scott listed the very first issue as No. 1, the 5c orange. Fromthen on, Philippine stamp issues bore Spanish, Japanese and Americanmarkings until 1946. With the declaration of independence in July 4,1946, Philippine philately commenced.At present, there is aclamor for new Philippinestamps due to theproliferation of topicalissue as well asmulticolored souvenir andminiature sheets.Previously, philatelist havebeen more keen incollecting pre-Republicissues like the SpanishClassics, JapaneseOccupation and AmericanCommonwealth issues.Present vignettes deal more on Philippine revolutionary personages,events and monuments, in the advent of the independence centennial,with highlights on nationalism, flora and fauna, as well as the usualcommemorative and special issues.