"History is who we are and why we are the way we are" - David McCullough -
The very thing that defines us and sets us apart from each other is our own identity. Each one of us is different--- each one has his/her own ideals and aspirations, dreams, talents, attitudes, beliefs, experiences, and way of living. Each one is unique. Nobody can say that one identity is more or above the other. Also, aside from our individual differences, the bigger part is our cultural identity which also constitutes and influences to who we are right now. Growing up, we are all taught early in school about who we are as a nation, the events that led us to our current situation, how we came to be, the different influences that overtime has become part of us, and who we really are before all these influences came in. We've known all about the tragedies that happened in our history and the events that shaped our nation. They are a combination of both painful and proud moments. However, regardless if they are ugly or not, they are all an important part of who we are and it is necessary for us to also revisit them in order to appreciate not only the beauty of the past but also to learn from it.
Last friday, an event which claims to celebrate our very own City's culture and heritage and to give everyone, especially the young generation a glimpse of the legacies of the past took place. It's an annual event held in Cebu City from 6pm to 12 midnight wherein people get to visit museums and heritage sites, enjoy exhibits and cultural shows, and also to participate in various activities, contests and food fairs. This event is popularly known as "Gabii sa Kabilin" or "Night of Heritage". For this year, twenty-nine museums and heritage sites have been identified to participate.
(Please pardon me as this post will be really lengthy)
I've known and heard about this event since I was in college and I've never had the chance to actually join but this year, when I saw a Facebook post from my friend who's selling tickets for only 150php, I immediately grabbed the opportunity to join and experience the magical night. Over the years, as I've gained age and knowledge, my interest in knowing my roots more also deepened. I definitely appreciate early Filipino martyrs and heroes who fought for the country just so we can achieve and enjoy our sovereignty. The country's history is just overflowingly rich. And the least thing that we can do is to recognize those heroes efforts and celebrate them even with just one night.
So for this very special event, I invited my friend and my boyfriend to revisit with me. For that night, the First Museum we visited is the
Museum of Naive Art (MONA)
This museum is located in West Gorordo Hotel and it features a certain artist named Paulina Constancia, a Filipino-Canadian. All three of us are not familiar of what a "Naive Art" is but we can tell by the name alone what possible type of art it is. Nevertheless, after the guided tour, we learned that a "Naive Art" is defined as an art having a child-like perspective and always has a refreshing innocence. It also uses bright colors in its painting and uses different mediums on paper and canvass and most importantly, it is simple and shows idealized scenes of everyday life.
We've noticed that most of Paulina's paintings are about motherhood
and scenes that depict Filipino's culture portrayed in daily living like this one:
It shows a typical Filipino classroom setup. The students sitting in the front are very participative while the students on the back are equally uninterested and the mind goes off elsewhere
This one also shows a family outing on a beach wherein kids like to build sandcastles
Ahh, this one is indeed true. As you can see, there's the very native dirty ice cream sold in the streets which only the old couple appreciates and then there's the modern 7/11 on the back where the teenagers mostly flock. But as for me, I'd pick the native dirty ice cream over the fundae in 7/11
And then there's this one, it shows the Filipinos enjoying the all-time favorite merienda which is Banana-cue
Looking at Paulina's painting, I instantly became nostalgic. Her drawing took me back to my childhood days and how simple life is back then when I was a kid. Her paintings show a common daily scenario which Filipino kids experience growing up and definitely showcases Filipino culture, traditions, and heritage.
After viewing her paintings, we've also enjoyed some other games and activities which include Fish Memory Game,
"Stuff the Fish" Crafting Activity,
Singing of Cebuano songs about fish and Fish painting or monoprinting which I and my friend enjoyed a lot. We just enjoyed the activity and played with colors like we were kids. After that, we get to take our paintings home as a souvenir.
Because we enjoyed the first Museum so much, we didn't know we already spent an hour and a half there. So we then moved on to our Second Museum which is the
Museum of Heritage and Folk Art (MoHFA)
This museums is also located in a hotel which is called the Mayflower Inn. I really appreciate that these hotels/inns also have their own collection of art and galleries. As what is displayed here, MoHFA is a personal collection to remember our beginnings and our past. The collections include Sacred Art, Folk Art, Musical Instruments, Coins and Banknotes, Technology, Household Items, and Toys.
I'm amazed with their collection of cameras! It's like watching the cameras evolve
The games and activities they presented are the same as the first one so skipped that part instead and moved on to our Third Museum which is the
Rizal Memorial Library and Museum
Now this Museum is just located near the Capitol and is also open 24 hours. This is a museum that we can always visit anytime because it is owned by the government and there's no entrance fee but nonetheless, we checked out what's going on inside and found that they are currently having an on-the-spot sketching/drawing inside!
It's amazing how each artist have different mediums and perspective for the same painting.
Then we also checked out their collection on the 2nd floor.
Most of the items displayed are about the early years of colonization. Back then when we had our own culture thru our earliest leaders in Cebu. They featured some things used in the household even before the Spaniards colonized us. And paintings depicting early Cebu, which definitely brought us back to time.
Our Fourth Museum is sort of a different one but is equally important and has very noble causes. It is called the
Museum of Bicycling (MoB)
Now this one is located in the "Elicon House" just across the University of San Carlos-main.
(It's already 11pm that time and we just did not notice because we enjoyed the museum touring a lot!)
Now this Museum aims to raise our awareness and brings into focus the countless and often-overlooked benefits of bicycling. There is also a rising revolution to bring back the bicycle and to use it as the weapon of choice to counter problems and issues such as obesity, unbearable traffic congestion, pollution and climate change. The museum shows a collection of carefully chosen bicycles, pictures, artworks, and information that show the importance, practicality, & versatility of bicycling.
(I'm particularly amazed with their collections of bicycles because I myself is also a fan of bicycles and I like riding bicycles very much and I love the simplicity of it. I like how it helps me reconnect with my environment and helps me sweat and burn calories.)
The owner of the Elicon House and of the bicycle collection himself is the one who toured us around
At the end of the tour, he urged all of us to Join the Bike Revolution. It's just fairly simple, first you've got to have a bike, second, you've got to learn how to bike, and third, you should bike.
One more thing about the MoB is this pedal-operated shake machine which I loved so much! You get to create the mango shake by just pedalling (and I got to drink my Mango Shake after I pedalled). Almost all of their equipment here are also pedal-powered.
And since it is nearing 12 midnight, we're down to our Firfth and last Museum of the Night which is the
Biological and Archaeological Gallery of the University of San Carlos-Main
In their Biological Gallery, they show a collection of taxidermied animals. One of my favorites is this. It's actually the first time I've known that a Philippine Eagle is as big as this.
The size is like almost half of my body.
And they also displayed some pre-hispanic earthen jars and urns they have discovered which is equally amazing.
So that was it. We are able to visit 5 out of 29 museums, galleries and heritage sites. I loved how different and diverse the museums we visited are from each other. The knowledge, wonder, amazement that we, especially I have experienced is actually very overwhelming. It was truly a walk-down-memory lane. It was a very magical night where we, are in a quest for treasures and knowledge, continuously searching til' midnight falls. It was a one-of-a-kind experience. Since we did not finish all of the museums and sites, we'll surely be joining again next year.
I hope through this I'm able to share with you something about my country and for my fellow Filipinos, I just wanted to say how proud I am with the rich history, art, and heritage we got. It is truly a wonderful treasure to pass on to the next generation.
Thank you for reading and passing by, Co-Steemians!