This extremely rare first edition of the landmark work of Philippine botany, Flora de Filipinas, is the important beginning of a stupendous journey, one of our scientific past and patriotic future. Published during his lifetime, Fr. Manuel Blanco’s pocketsize Flora de Filipinas gathered his field notes of interviews with native curanderos (healers) on the most therapeutic or useful plants that he observed during his visits to the Augustinian missions in Central Luzon, Cebu, Marinduque, and the environs of Manila. As such it is a wonder of ethnobotanical lore and proof positive that the Augustinian friar apprenticed himself to native curanderos in his mission to become a folk physician to his brethren. Art historian Luciano P.R. Santiago, in his essay on the Flora de Filipinas, described Father Blanco as “a pastor not only of souls but also of plants.” He arrived in these islands in 1805 and served in parishes in the provinces of Bulacan, Batangas as well as in the old settlement of Tondo in Manila. He was foremost animated by the desire to find alleviations for the various diseases that tormented his “poor parishioners.” While the legendary Fray Manuel Blanco would author this opus of herbal medicine, his sources were none other than the Filipino indio curanderos, the ancient herbolarios and witch doctors who shared their lore with the good friar. (Fr. Blanco, in fact, taught himself Tagalog while serving in Angat, Bulacan.) Written in Spanish and completely unreferenced to the works of other European botanists, Blanco wrote descriptions of 903 species, classifying then in Latin under the Linnaean system of sexual classification of plant structure except for 31 of them identified by their native names because he could not identify their Latin family and genus. At that time, Blanco as well as his predecessors, Fr. Ignacio Mercado and Bro. Georg Kamel, were the earliest pioneers in Philippine botany. What bountiful knowledge Blanco derived from his native informants was met with a dearth of knowledge of European botany because Blanco only had access to a few books such as Linnaeus’ Systema Vegetabilium (1817–1830), Antonie Laurent de Jussieu’s Genera Plantarum (1789), and Agustin DeCandolle’s Prodromus Systematis Naturalis (1824–1873). While other editions were printed subsequently — the second, also all text in 1845; a luxurious third edition with colored plates and a fourth with black and white illustrations in the years after 1877 — this momentous 1837 edition may be thought of as a symbol of Filipino pride. All three editions of Flora de Filipinas are known especially for their rich descriptions of plant morphology, medicinal or therapeutic uses, and their practical applications to industry and technology. Because of Blanco and his native informants, Filipinos of today still remember the Tagalog, Pampango, Visayan, Bicol, and Ilocano names of plants and how their ancestors used them for health and industry. Today this extremely rare first edition is a monument of a friar’s love for plants and its curative, therapeutic, and utilitarian powers. A second edition in Spanish and Latin was published in 1845 as a memorial to the pioneer botanist shortly after his death. This time it included 1,131 species described in Latin and only 27 given their native names. By the time it was republished by the Philippine Augustinian order in the monumental edición de lujo between 1877 and 1883, 1,127 species of Philippine plants had been identified. Such was Blanco’s love for the poor Filipino that he wrote himself in pure Tagalog, advocating his book with the advice that Itong libro at ang mga nabibilin dito’y yaon ang katungkulan ninyong pagpilitan sundin, at totoong daling makikita ninyo ang kanyang galing. As for the elegant production of the book, it was done in the Philippines. Don Candido Lopez, moreover, had the reputation of being one of the finest regentes (directors) of the University of Santo Tomas press. Alejandro Roces in his study of the botanical text summed up the inherent value of Fr. Blanco’s research in “the indigenized collection of information with regard to each species, which the Augustinian documented with details of the morphology, local medicinal value, and its practical uses in commerce, industry, and the arts.”