Introduction Mission  Organization Holdings Services Contacts
    The Records Management and Archives Office known as The National Archives which Spain turned over to the American military authorities in accordance with the Treaty ofParis of 1898.  Since then it experienced a series of transmutations. In 1901, it was made the Bureau of Archives under the Department of Public Instructions.  In 1915, by virtue of Reorganization Act No. 1407, it was demoted to a mere division under the Executive Bureau. 

    The following year, it was transferred to the Philippine Library with the division of Archives as one of its units.  After the war, in 1947, the National Library became the Bureau of Public Libraries with the Division of Archives remaining as one of its units. On March 14, 1958 by virtue of the provisions of Executive Order 290, the Division of Archives was taken away from the Bureau of Public Libraries and incorporated with the Bureau of Records Management. Said Order also provided the functions and organization of the Office. On July 25, 1987, the office which was named Records Management and Archives Office was attached to the Department of Education, Culture and Sports as a cultural agency by virtue of Executive Order 285. On March 5, 1999, the newly elected President of the Republic of the Philippines, Joseph Ejercito Estrada issued Executive Order No. 80 transferring the RMAO to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for policy and program coordination.

back to top
   The National Archives is mandated to plan, develop and coordinate government-wide programs, policies, rules and regulations governing the use, maintenance, preservation, and disposition of current/non-current records and records of permanent archival value, to enhance government productivity and quality service and promote the reawakening of the spirit of national responsibility and patriotic commitment through effective records and archives management practices.
back to top
The National Archives is headed by a Director IV assisted by a Director III, it operates through 5 divisions, namely Archives Division, Training and Information Division, Records Center Division, Current Records Division and Administrative Division.  The Current Records Division serves primarily as a planning regulating, policy-making and advisory unit on matters concerning the creation, maintenance and disposal of operating records of government agencies. Records Center Division formulates policies, procedures, operating rules and regulations, maintains, preserves, secures and recommends the disposition of inactive government records including those of abolished or reorganized agencies. The Archives Division plans, recommend policies, rules and regulations regarding storage, service, conservation and/or rehabilitation of documents and records of permanent value and/or records of historical interest.  Training and Information Division develops and initiates government-wide training programs on records management for all government agencies, coordinates with other government agencies regarding in-house training on records and archival management.
back to top
There are about 60 million archival documents and 1,000 cubic meters of inactive government records in the custody of the National Archives.  It is considered the richest in Asia.
Spanish Collection 
The most important documents in the National Archives is the Spanish Collection, comprising an estimated 13,000,000 manuscripts from the 16th centuries to 1898. The collection has about 400 titles treating on economic, social, legal, ecclesiastical, medical, military and cultural history of the Philippines under 333 years of Spanish rule. They include the royal decrees of Spanish  monarchs and orders of their representatives; records of the Spanish Royal Audencia and lower courts; reports of the Spanish governor-generals; documents on many Filipino uprisings against Spain; commerce, and industries; records of the different provinces and pueblos; papers of the monopolies of tobacco, playing cards, buyo, gunpowder and wines; royal titles on lands and landed estates; documents on transportation and papers on churches and  convents. 

The oldest documents in the National Archives are compilations of orders of theSpanish monarchs called Cedulario. The earliest documents in this series treat of succession laws in the encomienda system (1552-1600).  Equally important collectons are mpas and architectural plans of buildings and houses. 

Other records include civil records, like birth, marriages and the death dating from the Spanish period and continue from around 1921-1931.  These are the records mostly requested by the public and are vital in tracing ancestral roots. 
Sample of Spanish Manuscript 
American and Japanese Occupation Records 
The archives also hold permanent records of the government during the American and Japanese regimes.  These include official records of the military and civil government established during the two regimes and a collection on Japanese war crimes.
Current Records 
The more recent collections of the National Archives comprise mostly of notarial documents and registers, civil service records, Supreme Court decisions and more.   These comprise of about 47,000,000 pieces of documents.  Other permanent records of the national and local governments are transferred to the Archives while inactive government records are accessioned by the Records Center Division.
back to top
Research Library - provides copies of original documents 
  • researchers are required to fill up application from, attach passport size photo and submit 2 letters of reference
  • pay annual fee of P100.00 or walk-in fee of P50.00
  • pay reproduction fees, when applicable - P1.50 per page for hard copy and P575.00 per microfilm reel plus P100.00 photoprivilege fee per request
Technical Advise, Assistance and Training 
  • provided by the Current Records Division and the Training and Information Division on all aspects of records management and archives administration
  • provided by the Archives Division on management of archival records and Records Division on inactive records of the government
Queries and Requests 
  • answers public inquiries, requests and other correspondences about its holdings
  • issues certified true copies of civil records with fees of P40.00 per document; P20.00 per certification of non-availability of documents; certified true copies of other documents at P10.00 per document plus P2.00 photoprivilege fee per page plus P1.50 photocopy fee per shot
  • queries/requests are received/answered in person, by phone, fax, e-mail or postal mail.
back to top
The National Archives 
T. M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila 
Tel. 525-1407  Fax: 525-0021 
Training and Information Division