by Arturo B.

del Ayre

Philately, a word coined in 1864 from the French philatélie which originated from the combination of two Greek words philos , loving + ateleia , exemption from tax, taken as equivalent of "postage prepaid", is the collection and study of postage stamps, covers, and other postal documents. Stamp collecting is only the other half of philately. There are a number of stamp collectors, but only few philatelists. Usually the most dedicated stamp collector metamorphoses into a dedicated philatelist due to a fascination of the search for information, on the excitement of a rare discovery, the satisfaction of completing an album or simply that an absorbing hobby has become both a pleasure and relaxation. England issued the first adhesive postal stamp in 1840 aside from various types of postal systems long before that, these items are considered pre-philatelic issues. In the Philippines, the first set of stamps was of Spanish origin. Scott listed the very first issue as No. 1, the 5c orange. From then on, Philippine stamp issues bore Spanish, Japanese and American markings until 1946. With the declaration of independence in July 4, 1946, Philippine philately commenced. At present, there is a clamor for new Philippine stamps due to the proliferation of topical issue as well as multicolored souvenir and miniature sheets. Previously, philatelist have been more keen in collecting pre-Republic issues like the Spanish Classics, Japanese Occupation and American Commonwealth 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 usual commemorative and special issues.

Dr. Ngo Tiong Tak , the author of 1997 Ngo's Catalogue of Philippine Republic Stamps and Postal Stationeries published by The Stamp Shop, elevated the hobby to its all-time high. The catalogue listed all postage stamps issued since July 4, 1946 and included all souvenir and miniature sheets; airmail, semi-postal, official and special delivery stamps as well as postage dues. Dr. Ngo has since published two supplements which covers the 1997 and 1998 stamps. In June 26, 1998, the Regional Philatelic Center [RPC] was inaugurated in the Angeles City Post Office, Angeles City Pampanga. The vision of RPC is to cater to the needs of collectors and enthusiasts, cultivate philatelic knowledge, and publicize interest on personal stamp collections and other philatelic items. The Regional Philatelic Center will host monthly exhibition showcases as well as conferences and workshops where philatelists, stamp collectors and enthusiasts can meet, exchange information and ideas, conduct research, trade stamps, acquire and procure new collections. A Philatelic Library is also planned to become a repository of diverse national and international philatelic information. The Center for Philatelic Research and Studies, Inc. (CPRSI) will manage, maintain and operate the library as well as the conference and seminar room. The Pampanga Stamp Collector's Society (PSCS) is in-charge with the coordination with local and national stamp organizations to showcase their collections on future exhibitions. With Proclamation No. 494, Pres. Fidel V. Ramos declared November as the National Stamp Collecting Month . DECS countered this with Memorandum No. 331 s.1994 mandating the organization of school stamp clubs nationwide.

With these, collectors as well as philatelic clubs have geared their efforts to propagate the hobby. Philippine Centennial Invitational Philatelic Exhibition (Pilipinas '98) helped create awareness of Centennial events, including the 100th Anniversary of the Philippine Postal Service. SelyOlympics , a stamp exhibition contest among school youths nationwide, was also held from November 05 - 09, 1998.

Recently, Collecticon '99 or the ND Philippine Collectibles Convention held a one-day event on May 29, 1999. It featured selling, trading, and swapping of stamps among other collectibles. Hopefully, the future of Philippine philately and stamp collecting is brighter, as more and more individuals are re-discovering the world's greatest and most popular hobby of all time. Happy philately!
Note: A series of articles about Philately and Stamp Collecting will appear in this column regularly. Future topics will discuss the nature of the hobby, to include: personal reflections, narratives, insights; the state of Philippine Philately and stamp collecting to include issues affecting stamp collectors in the Philippines, postal history, breakthroughs, highlights on philatelic clubs and personalities; and a stamp collector's comprehensive guide on the 5W and 1H of stamp collecting. This article, parts or verbatim, also appears on the Net. Visit: ABdA's Philippine Philatelic Web Site at http://www.geocities.com/abda/ and the electronic magazine: The Philippine Philatelist at http://abda.webprovider.com. For comments or suggestions, send e-mail to abda@geocities.com. 06/15/99

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