Rare archives on exhibit in Museo Sugbo

The National Archives of the Philippines (NAP), in collaboration with the Cebu Provincial Government and Museo Sugbo, launched a new exhibit at the provincial museum on October 23.

The exhibit, titled: “Integracion/Internacion: Urbanity, Urbanism, and their Discontents,” highlights important chronicles of Cebu’s development as a premier urban center during the late Spanish period.

The heritage show was attended by Senator Pia Cayetano as the guest speaker, along with Provincial Board Member and Culture and Arts committee Chair Miguel Magpale, National Archives of the Philippines Director Victorino Manalo and Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino.

The affair coincided with the celebration of the 113th anniversary of the National Archives and the Executive Consultative Forum on National Inventory of Records for Region VII.

Rare century old documents

The exhibition occupies two galleries of the 12 galleries in the museum and features rare century-old documents during the Spanish-era dating back from 1800s. 10743645_10152453001868947_1393472387_n

It contains old maps, structural plans and sketches of public and church edifices, including materials on the charting of islands and the founding of towns in the province.

Architectural model of edifices, lighthouses, roads, and ports are also displayed.

The new gallery has various collection of protocolos or legal and notarial documents that usually contain last wills and testaments aside from delineation of real properties.

Though facsimile documents, one may find amazement and admiration of its existence.

“These are just few of the millions of Spanish period documents that have been diligently kept and preserved at the National Archives,” said Ma. Cecilla Cabañes, Museo Sugbo curator.

“This exhibit is very important for the Cebuanos. Through it, we can look back at the development of the entire province, being the oldest Spanish settlement that observed the leyes de indios (Laws of the Indies),” she added.

In an overview, the exhibit recapitulates the effects of colonial developments of the social and spiritual life on Cebuanos.

“We wanted to forget our past. We wanted to forget Spanish. We wanted to forget how we feel being colonized by the Spaniards. But, in reality, so much of how we are today was influenced by Spanish colonization,” Cayetano said.

Archive reading room in the museum may be available soon for easy access to periodicals, documents and other media.

Protecting heritage

10403722_781223828605947_4204533307291046868_n (1)Being the chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Culture and Arts, Cayetano urged local government officials, educators and communities to do their part in initiating to protect and preserve national heritage.

“We have not gotten into this place if we have done our homework well, if we have protected what we should have protected early on. We shouldn’t be battling issues that should not be battled if only people understood the importance of heritage,” Cayetano said.

“The laws are there and I’d say many times that you do not need local ordinances to implement the laws in the cities and municipalities. National laws govern the whole country. It is good and I do encourage municipal ordinances to further strengthen national laws. Do not feel you cannot act without those national laws,” she said.

Cayetano cited Vigan as one of the best practices in world because its heritage has been protected and preserved from the ground up.

“I guess that in the 1960s and 1970s, nationalism is so important to us. Because we want to ensure that all over the country, we will not forget the importance of heritage. It is so important that we cannot move forward if we don’t understand the past,” Cayetano said. (Heart Rizarri)


The public is invited to view the exhibit. Museum hours are from Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (no noon break). For inquiries on admission rates, reservations and group tours, please call telephone number (032) 239-5626. Museo Sugbo is located at MJ Cuenco Avenue, Cebu City.

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