It's deeply satisfying to know that every once in a while, a scientifically-researched, artfully-photographed, informatively written, brilliant gem of a book about the country comes along. Coinciding with the Philippine Centennial in 1998, the highly-renowned Field Museum of Natural Sciences in Chicago published this handsome yet informative collection of astounding facts about our beloved islands and our even more astonishing flora and fauna. Formerly unpublished data from their extensive on-site researches are presented through new paradigms, like valuing our endemism and biodiversity compared to stereotypical samples like the Galapagos (below), which only became popular because of Charles Darwin's visit. In fact, our archipelago would have been a more staggering laboratory for his studies, and he would have arrived at his evolution theories faster than he did in Ecuador.
It's page after page of plants and animals that populate our few remaining rainforests: from spotted deer to rufous hornbills, glorious Philippine orchids, endemic plants like the Kapa-kapa and the Jade Vine, and even more exotic animals like cloud rats and leopard cats (right). But as the book says, the most precious jewel of all that must be protected, cherished, and treasured is the forest itself.
A truly remarkable find, let me know if you find another copy.