Celebrating another memorable Gabii Sa Kabilin
By Patricia May P. Catan
Photos: RDZ Santizas, NS Villaflor, and SunStar File
CEBU may be known for its white sandy beaches, but for residents like us, we all know that this island has so much to offer other than vacation spots. The Queen City of the South as well as its neighboring cities of Mandaue, Talisay and Lapu-Lapu are all rich in history and culture that are evident in museums and heritage sites. Dedicating a night for these local wonders is the annual Gabii Sa Kabilin, held last Friday in celebration of the Heritage Month of May, where guests can visit and explore various museums and heritage sites. Let’s get to know these different places and immerse ourselves with our own history.
Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu
Built in the 19th century, this museum is one of the best preserved authentic bahay na bato. But before it became the ecclesiastical museum that it is now, it was a parish convent at first then a school, a cooperative store and a temporary chapel. The Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu was then reopened in November 2006 where it houses galleries that reflects the growth of the Catholic faith, memorabilia of Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, pictures of churches from the Spanish era, collection of statues and saints, chalices, and a sample of a priest’s bedroom.
Cebu Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish
Originally dedicated to Our Lady Queen of China, Sacred Heart Parish Jesuit was founded in April 1952 for the Chinese community in Cebu. It was only in 1960 when the parish was finished with the help of donations from Chinese parishioners which marked the return of Jesuits to Cebu. In 2012, the parish was declared the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus where a special ministry for the city’s Chinese-Filipino community can be found.
Basilica Minore del Santo Niño Museum
The museum opened in 1915 during the commemoration of the fourth centennial anniversary of the Philippines’ Christianization. The museum is situated within the oldest church in the Philippines where religious artifacts from the local Augustinian community is housed like ancient vestments worn by Santo Niño, religious images, priestly vestments, liturgical vessels, ecclesiastical books, and various works of art.
Casa Gorordo Museum
Casa Gorordo is one of the three remaining old houses in the Spanish Colonial period. The house was built by Alejandro Reynes y Rosales in the mid-19th century and today, it is a lifestyle museum that displays altar pieces, antique furnishings, paintings, and relics. It also has an area for art exhibition, a small store, books, and memorabilia. A must-see within the museum is the master’s bedroom where a collection of “sayas” is displayed.
Cebu City Museum
Constructed through the efforts of then Councilor Jose Nolasco and designed by Architect Juan Marcos Arellano, the museum has an assortment of antiques, sculptures, furniture, and mixed carvings donated by prominent Cebuano families. Cebu City Museum is on the same building as the Dr. Jose Rizal Memorial Library, which has an extensive collection of books including the Filipiñiana section that could not be found in the National Library in Manila.
Cebu Provincial Capitol
Located at the north end of Osmeña Boulevard, the Cebu Provincial Capitol is the seat of the provincial government of Cebu in the Philippines. The capitol was designed by Juan Arellano, the Filipino architect known for the Manila Metropolitan Theater.
Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. Memorabilia and CAP Art Gallery
Named after the only Cebuano president of the Philippines, Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. Memorabilia contains information about Cebu’s history and the Philippine government during his term and where some of his possessions are also on display. After the death of the former president in 1961, the College Assurance Plan bought the property but still preserved the president’s quarter on the second floor. The CAP Art Gallery on the ground floor serves as their office and exhibits works of Cebu’s amateur and professional artists.
Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple
The temple was constructed in 1988 and built by Paterno Luym and his wife, Rosita Luym in honor of the memory of Paterno’s beloved mother, who was a devout Buddhist. In the temple, there are three buildings sitting on the hilltop of a 1.8 hectare land area. These are the Guan Yin Shrine, the Bamboo Garden Dining Hall and the Di Zhang Shrine. The Chu Un Temple is just one of the branches of Sangha of Fo Guang Shang based in Kaohsiung, Taiwan which provides Dharma services and educational and cultural activities.
Fort San Pedro
Built by Spaniards under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, Fort San Pedro served as a military defense structure in Cebu. The original fort was made of wood and was then replaced in the 17th century with a stone fort to repel Muslim raiders. The fort was built back in 1738, making it the oldest triangular fort in the country.
Galeria Independencia (Palm Grass Hotel)
Galeria Independencia is located at the second floor of Palm Grass Hotel, Cebu’s only heritage hotel. The gallery is a history-themed exhibit hall dedicated to all local heroes and martyrs. It also features reproductions of native swords, amulets, various ethnic instruments, and mosaics.
Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum
Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum is a musically themed museum where works of long-forgotten Cebuano composers from lyric sheets to memorabilia are displayed. The museum is divided into three galleries. These are the Halad Music Gallery which displays composers from 20th century who produced well-known Cebuano songs and artists who have earned international recognition. The Kinaiyang Sugbuanon shows Cebuano traditions over time and lastly, the Founder’s Gallery dedicated to the founder himself, Jose R. Gullas.
Museo Parian sa Sugbo (1730 Jesuit House)
This Jesuit House located in the Parian District of Cebu is said to be the oldest dated house in the Philippines. The mini museum called Sugbo Gallery in the ground floor displays photos and maps of Cebu during the 70s. Fixtures and other ancient personal collection of the owners are in the second floor.
Museo Sugbo was once called Carcel de Cebu and was then changed to Cebu Provincial Jail during the American period. In the 1980s, it was renamed to Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center. The place was converted to Museo Sugbo when CPDRC relocated. Museo Sugbo was inaugurated on April 5, 2008 with the first four galleries and a year later, the galleries rose to 10.
Museum of Bicycling (Elicon House)
This unique museum concept is the first of its kind in Cebu and probably the entire country. Its niche is to show importance, practicality and versatility of the bicycle. It was built mainly out of the passion of Elicon House on making use of the bicycle for sustainable transportation.
Museum of Heritage and Folk Art (Mayflower Inn)
Bringing an assortment of collections together from national and international cultures is Museum of Heritage and Folk Art. Located within Mayflower Inn, the museum boasts of its walls and shelves filled with art, crafts and historical artifacts.
Museum of Naive Art (West Gorordo Hotel)
Art exhibits of Filipino-Canadian artist and poet, Paulina Constancia who’s best known for her bright-colored, capricious narratives painted on quilts and tiles, assemblages, and mixed media artworks is often found at the museum. It also allows guests to connect back to nature, ourselves and other people through the use of child-like images, striking colors and scenes from daily living.
Plaza Parian used to be surrounded by rich history during the colonial years. It was where all the dramatic events transpired and it was once the center of business and trade in Cebu. Filipino and Chinese businessmen and shoppers alike converged to buy or trade goods at the place. At present the plaza is where the Heritage of Cebu Monument is. It is the large tableau sculpture that depicts the significant and symbolic events in Cebu’s history. The monument was conceptualized in 1996.
San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church
Dating back to the time of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, this church was built in an area some time during the Spanish conquest over 400 years ago. San Nicolas was founded back on May 16, 1584 as a parish, making it one of the oldest churches in the country and dubbed the most prolific parish in Cebu. The church highlights include the tile mosaic of the 12 apostles and Mary used as altar backdrop and serves as modern retalbo. The stained glass renditions of Stations of the Cross manufactured by a German firm and the church interior has old decorative corbels.
San Pedro Calungsod Shrine
Located within the premises of the Archbishop’s residence in Cebu is the shrine of local saint, San Pedro Calungsod. The shrine houses the official image of San Pedro that was used for his canonization.
St. Theresa’s College Folklife Museum
Situated in one of the best colleges in Cebu since the 1940s, the museum was managed by Belgian nuns before it was under the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Most of the collections found in the folk life museum are religious objects that came from the different towns in Cebu donated by the students of the school. The museum also features the Theresiana Collections that show photos of the former directress, old uniforms and photos of some students. Indigenous clothes, musical instruments, hunting materials, and artifacts from Asian countries are displayed in the museum as well.
Sugbo Chinese Heritage Musuem
The museum is located at the Gatiaoco Building and has three floors dedicated to the history of the Chinese settlement in Cebu. The Sugbo Chinese Heritage Museum houses various artifacts, documents and memorabilia donated by 15 Chinese-Cebuano families. Among the notable displays are the story line of the early Chinese in Cebu, artifacts exhibit, background of the construction and restoration of the building.
United Church of Christ of the Philippines – Bradford Memorial Chapel
Located along Osmeña Boulevard, the structure is the oldest evangelical church in Cebu City. It was constructed in 1913 through the generosity of Dwight Day who dedicated it in memory of her mother, Matilda Bradford and after its completion, it paved way for Protestantism in Cebu.
University of San Carlos Museum
The museum has been operating since 1952 and was only inaugurated in April 23, 1967. From its inauguration, the museum only occupied two classrooms and another room. But by 2017, the museum is now occupying the ground floor wings of the Arthur Dingman Building and according to an inventory made in 1988, the museum’s collection has a total of 9,606 artifacts, objects and specimens.
University of Southern Philippines Foundation Rizaliana Museum
The museum recently reopened its doors to the public last May 25 after its two-year closure. The new and improved Rizaliana Museum will focus more on Dr. Jose Rizal’s life in Europe. The museum which has now five new galleries aims to connect more with the younger generation.
Cebu Archdiocesan Shrine of Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish
Built in 1836 and completed 12 years later, the parish of Sta. Teresa de Avila is now considered among the oldest parish churches in the Philippines. It was declared by former Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal as an Archdiocesan Shrine in 2007. It is situated right in front of the old Talisay City Hall in Poblacion, Talisay.
Talisay Beach Landing
The landing of American forces on the beach of Talisay City on March 26, 1945 to free Cebu from Japanese occupation during the World War II was a significant turning point in Cebu’s history. Each year, the city of Talisay celebrates this historic event to memorialize the heroism of all those who resisted the rule of Japanese forces in Cebu.
The Mandaue City Hall or more commonly known as Mandaue Presidencia serves as the seat of government for the city of Mandaue. It is a Neo-Grec style building which is found right in the heart of the city. It was first used as the office of Mandaue’s mayor since the Commonwealth Era.
The Mactan Shrine is where the 20-meter statue of Rajah Lapu-Lapu stand erect, the native chieftain of Mactan Island who defeated Ferdinand Magellan during the Battle of Mactan in 1521. It is located in Punta Engaño, Mactan Island, Cebu.