CEBU CITY, Philippines – The first National Museum in Cebu will be opening its doors next month.
The National Museum of the Philippines (NPM) announced on Thursday, July 27, that the National Museum – Central Visayas Regional Museum (NM Cebu) will start welcoming guests this August 1.
In a briefer, the NMP said the museum will be “partially opened” to the public from Tuesdays to Sundays. Its opening hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission to the NM Cebu will also be free, they added.
The NMP made the announcement on the eve of the museum’s inauguration this Friday, July 28, which will be led by President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.
The Aduana Building
NM Cebu will be housed in the Aduana building, also known as the Old Customs House and the Malacañan sa Sugbo.
The building was designed and built in 1910 by American Architect William Parsons. It was also one of the surviving structures established during the American rule in Cebu in the early 20th century, according to the NMP.
“Built of reinforced concrete, the Aduana embodies American-influenced architecture while incorporating local building traditions,” NMP said.
The structure served as the head office of the Customs in Cebu until 2004 when it was converted into the official residence of the President in the Visayas called the Malacañan sa Sugbo.
In 2013, the building was deemed unsafe for occupancy after it sustained significant damages due to the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that rocked the provinces of Bohol and Cebu.
Six years later, plans of converting it into a National Museum were made public. The site was declared as a National Cultural Treasure in 2019, the same year the NMP entered into a usufruct agreement with the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), which owns and manages the property, to turn it into a National Museum.
The NMP said the National Museum in Cebu will feature various exhibitions and galleries that highlight the “Cebuano spirit and heritage.” This included the island’s ‘rich and diverse biodiversity, geology, archaeological treasures, art, and ethnographic and maritime traditions.’
It will also have a special exhibition of artworks from the Philippine Center in New York. An upcoming gallery dedicated to renowned Cebuano painter Martino Abellana is also expected, NMP added.
“Aside from the five galleries, NM Cebu also boasts a lobby and reception hall featuring additional art by Cebuanos and featuring Cebuano culture and history, a terrace, a courtyard, and the NM’s first-ever regional Museum Shop,” they said.