Saturday, June 30, 2012

Six Museums in Pasig City

439 years. That's very long indeed. Pasig is one of the oldest existing towns in the Philippines, as it was created by the Augustinians in 1572, and a lot of history had happened here. The name "Pasig" was from Sanskrit meaning "river flowing from one body of water to another." Since the Pasig River connects Laguna Bay to Manila Bay, thus the name. The 439th Pasig Day celebration is filled with a long list of events and activities spanning almost 3 months which includes the Tour of Six Museums in Pasig City.

It was surprising to learn that there are 6 museums in Pasig City, so I want to see for myself what it is all about. July 28 was the scheduled date and it kicked off at the Pasig City Museum.

Pasig City Museum. It was a mansion by one of the past Mayors of Pasig City, Don Fortunato Concepcion, bought by the Pasig City government and turned it into a house of history and artifacts. Photos would tell much of the story here so here they are:

The Concepcion Mansion or Pasig City Museum
A replica of the Laguna Copperplate inscription, regarded as the earliest proof of pre-colonial literacy
A few personal belongings of a local hero of the revolution, Valentin Cruz
"Nagsabado sa Pasig" Diorama. The first battle of the revolution of which we won.
Photograph of the First Municipal Council of Pasig City

Colegio del Buen Consejo Museum. The name translates to "School of Good Counsel" and it is one of the oldest catholic schools in Pasig City. Known before as the Beaterio de Sta. Rita de Pasig, a religious and educational institution for girls, Colegio del Buen Consejo stands where it has stood for the last 100 years. Most of the artifacts in the museum are old photos, and tools used in celebrating the Holy Mass.

Pasig Cathedral. There was supposed to be a Ecclesiatical Museum by the Diocese of Pasig, but it wasn't ready yet so our stop was at the Cathedral of Pasig City. The church itself is like a museum so no one really minded going there as part of the tour. What was seen there is an old carved image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, old iron fittings and stained glass. The ornate iron grills in the Pasig Cathedral were handmade by the blacksmiths of the past using heating and bending which is a long and tedious process.

Dolljoy Museum. It was for all ages and it was surprising. Who would ever thought that a walled compound in Caniogan, Pasig City didn't only have a factory for toys but a museum also. The Dolljoy museum houses a huge collection of dolls and figurines which women and kids will enjoy. On display are the owner's collections and the ones either produced in the past or currently in production.

Meralco Museum. Here's another surprise and most often forgotten about by many. The Meralco headquarters is still part of Pasig City, hence its part of the museum tour. The company indeed has a lot of history, from its American leaders to the Filipinos who headed them, there were a lot of milestones that landmarked many firsts in the country.

Lopez Museum. The Lopez Museum is both a gallery and library located at Benpress Building in Ortigas Center. As a gallery, it displays artistic works of both modern and past artists. There were a lot of paintings from Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo and some old photographs of the Ilustrados. Security is really impressive here given that a lot of historical items are found here. Good thing they allow photographs to be taken, under one condition: do not use flash. The reason is that camera flash accelerate the deterioration of old items because of heat it generates. In this museum I took photos of "historical items" only. Though modern artists convey Filipino Culture partly, they'll have to wait more before being featured by The Pinoy Warrior, say after a hundred years.

It was a long day, quite tiring, but worthwhile. Many people say history and culture is for the academics and scholars, and museums are of least priority nowadays. I say it is very important. These institutions help us remember the past, our identity, our heritage. Ignoring our past and heritage means ignoring our identity. It gives people a sense of belongingness and may perhaps explain a few things about our art, culture and traditions. Our ancestors were proud of who they were and their origins, let us be the same. As in the popular saying goes "ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, di makakarating sa paroroonan." We've got a long way to go. For us not to get lost, we need to still have a connection with our past. Museums help us do exactly that.