Many have asked what Pope Francis gave to President Benigno Aquino III as a gift when he came to visit in the Malacañang on Friday.
The Pope gave a rare atlas from the Vatican Library – entitled “The World as Europeans Knew it in the 16th Century.”
The website said the Philippines’ upcoming 500th anniversary of the proclamation of the Gospel may be “likely why” the Pope chose such a gift.
Fourteen maps are contained in the book, with the earliest dating back to 1562. The collection is only one of fifty in existence. The parchment maps are by mapmaker Bartolome’ Oliva, who was originally from Majorca.
In exchange, President Aquino gave the Pope a commissioned sculpture of Mary, Undoer of Knots – whose representation in a painting inspired the Pope’s devotion while he was studying in Germany.
The statue was carved from wood taken from a former landmark in Malacañang – a century-old acacia tree which used to stand in front of Malacañang’s Kalayaan Hall until it was felled by Typhoon Glenda in July 2014.
The statue was carved by Laguna native Fred Baldemor, known for his religious sculptures of wood, bronze and marble.
The President also presented the Pope with two commemorative coins bearing the pontiff’s image – P50- and P500-limited issue coins – from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines).