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Vibal Foundation Publishes Correos Filipinas: Philippine Stamps and Postal History

Vibal Foundation Publishes Correos Filipinas: Philippine Stamps and Postal History

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Vibal Foundation, Inc. (VFI) continues its commitment and vision to enrich Filipinos’ knowledge and appreciation of Philippine history, culture, and the arts by launching  Correos Filipinas: Philippine Stamps and Postal History on January 31, 2022 at VFI’s monthly virtual tertulia.

            Correos Filipinas: Philippine Stamps and Postal History

Jose Eleazar Bersales’ Correos Filipinas: Philippine Stamps and Postal History (1565–1953) comprehensively presents Philippine history from the 16th to the mid-20th century through the perspective of the stamps issued and used. This newest addition to the Filipiniana Clasica collection serves as a valuable resource for specialist collectors, history buffs, and casual readers who intend to immerse themselves in understanding the colonial-era philately. 

The postal history of the Philippines reflects a decades-long colonial regime and is intertwined with native responses that came along with it. The use of stamps corresponded to the development of modern postal services that were institutionalized and supported by the state. The book encompasses a rich timeline and provides side stories and supplemental sections on postal stationery, postcards, wrappers, and envelopes for better historical context.

The opening chapter of the book tackles the time before the use of stamps. It also touches on the official or royal correspondence between Spain and the Philippines that took effect upon the issuance of a circular from Spain which established the postal service in the Philippines.  It also explains the various challenges encountered in the delivery and handling of mail despite the institution of the State Maritime Post or Institución de los Correos Marítimos del Estado in 1764.

The next chapter deals with the game-changing introduction of prepaid adhesive postage stamps during the 19th century. This traces back to 1853 when Queen Isabella II issued a royal decree to start manufacturing and selling postage stamps for domestic use within the Philippines. At that time, authorities in Manila were ill-equipped to create a functional postal service and had to make do with what they could get.

The third chapter delves into the Universal Postal Union (UPU) surcharges and the New Alfonso XII issues. The fourth chapter covers the period between 1880 and 1889 when many stamps in the Philippines went through a series of surcharges and overprints. This era is marked with issues surrounding the legitimacy of stamps since forgeries became rampant during this period.

The fifth chapter delves further into the use of other types of stamps for postage. During this period, the Administracion General Comunicaciones or General Administration for Communications managed both postal and telegraphic services. The next chapter focuses on the stamp issues concerning Alfonso XIII.

The seventh chapter highlights the efforts of the First Philippine Republic President, Emilio Aguinaldo,  to formally establish a Filipino-run postal and telegraphic system. This was followed by a chapter that elaborates on the various stamps issued under the American colonial government.

The second to the last chapter details the numerous stamp issues released under the Philippine Commonwealth government while the final chapter delves into the stamps issued in the country during World War II.

All ten chapters are intricately woven with rich facts, side stories, and images that interestingly satisfy both the curious and intellectual minds. Correos Filipinas: Philippine Stamps and Postal History is a unique and valuable addition to the Filipiniana collection and is equally perfect for pleasurable reading, especially to those with a passion for history and philately.

For interested readers, copies of the Correos Filipinas: Philippine Stamps and Postal History (1565–1953) will be available soon for online purchase at the Vibal Online Shop at, and via our Lazada and Shopee pages. Further announcements will be made on our social media pages.