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Museum hopping

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo October 13,2017 - 10:12 PM

We used to celebrate Children’s Month every October, which is also Holy Rosary Month for Roman Catholics.

But two years ago, Republic Act No. 10661 declared the month of November of every year as National Children’s Month. This makes our children’s month celebration in tune with the commemoration of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989.

I co-organize several literacy and reading/storytelling initiatives so I always check monthly celebrations to make sure that the activities are relevant with the themes.

So if children’s month now falls on November (which I believe is National Reading Month too!), what is there to celebrate in October then?

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts has designated the month of October as the National Museum and Galleries Month, and we have quite a number of museums and heritage sites within the cityscape to visit.

Cebuanos often troop to museums and heritage sites on the last Friday of May when Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. stages the Gabii sa Kabilin (Night of Heritage) to celebrate Cebu’s history and culture. In 2012, I became part of an ala-Amazing Race component of Gabii sa Kabilin where my close friend Jessie Cubijano and I, with German development worker Janina Wohlgemuth, went around Cebu City to perform different challenges using QR codes and a smartphone.

But we need not wait for May 2018 to come to visit the museums and galleries in Cebu. Let this month be the reason for you to visit your museums and galleries. There is a Libreng Suroy sa Museo Sugbo event on October 28, and the people behind Cebu Literary Festival (big love to my friend Hendri Go and my idol Juanita Romualdez!) will be giving free workshops on writing and spoken word poetry.

While you’re in the vicinity, check out Casa Gorordo Museum. The new features, which include a 3D map showcasing the Cebu City’s history, a short film shown in a mini theater, interactive exhibits and a tour of this historic balay nga tisa, provide a different experience.

A few steps from Casa Gorordo is the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House which, according to my mentor and good friend Dr. Jobers Bersales, is the “smaller half of an L-shaped house… probably its kitchen which explains why the roof tiles have soot in them when you look up.”

Also in the same area is the Museo Parian sa Sugbo which was introduced to me a few years back as the 1730 Jesuit House. This is a hidden historical treasure. You have to go to Zulueta Street to know the story!

Not too far from the Parian area is Plaza Independencia and Fort San Pedro. I wrote a feature story about the plaza six years ago when it was reopened to the public on May 8, 2011 after undergoing renovation October 2010.

Next in my list is the Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum, a musically themed museum where Cebuano musical heritage comes alive. My children will love it here as much I loved it on my first visit back in 2012 because of Gabii sa Kabilin.

Dr. Bersales is the curator of the University of San Carlos (USC) Museum, and as one of this country’s most respected anthropologist and archaeologist, expect meaningful and relevant displays that demands at least a two-hour stay. USC also publishes their own books under USC Press and a display of these books can be found on Highway Mandaue in an equally interesting and history-inspired coffee shop, PhiloSophia Library Café.

There is more in this list including the Rizaliana Museum of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation, the Basilica Del Santo Niño Museum and the Cathedral Museum of Cebu.

This afternoon, I am taking my children to one museum. I still do not know where exactly as I have to factor in hunger, tantrums and the weather in the equation, but we will make this happen. This is going to be our first time to do this so I’m excited to show a part of Philippine history, or more specifically Cebu history, to my Filipino American brood.

You can read about the detailed outcome of the trip in my blog, the URL of which you can find below this column’s photo. Special shoutout to CDN photojournalists Junjie Mendoza and Tatay Tonee Despojo who made me look credible and believable, and to our editorial coordinator Raffy Escoton who insisted to have this photo taken.

From Casa Ruffolo Uno where the walls are covered with crayon marks and pencil lines; where the current favorite line is “Nanay, I pooped/peed in the toilet”; and where the living room is an ongoing demolition project, I wish everyone a happy and sane weekend!

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