Gabii sa Kabilin 2019: Museo Sugbo

Gabii sa Kabilin (Night of Heritage) is an annual event in Cebu held every last Friday of May, to celebrate the locale's history and culture. With one ticket, people can visit several participating museums and heritage sites from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight. 

The event has been running for eleven years, but because of COVID-19 pandemic, the event is scheduled at a later date this year. For now, I am just posting a throwback of the event in 2019 with the theme "Setting Sail" to commemorate the historic event when five ships sailed from Spain to prove that the world is round. 

There were many museums and heritage sites which my ticket allowed me to visit, but I just visited three places, namely Museo Sugbo, Mandaue Presidencia, and Mactan Shrine. Shuttle services were provided by the Provincial Government of Cebu.

I started at Museo Sugbo, which is the museum of the Province of Cebu housed in the former Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC). 

Entrance to Museo Sugbo

National Historical Marker of Museo Sugbo.

History of the museum edifice which formerly served as a prison.

Fountain at the courtyard.

Since there were no presentations yet when I arrived, I visited first the museum exhibits. I started touring the section where the ancient tools of primitive people in the place, that would be known as Cebu, were displayed. There were ceramic wares from China, clay pottery, and stone tools.    

Excavated ceramic bowls.

Ancient tools used by Cebuanos in their daily living.

The museum also has an exhibit on the primitive deities of local populace until the introduction of Christianity by Spaniards which made Cebu the "Cradle of Christianity in Asia." 

The Golden Tara of Agusan, a Hindu deity.

Exhibit on "The First Parishes" of Cebu

Collection of antique saint statues.

There are sculptures by renowned Cebuano artists on exhibit at the museum. These are mainly human figures. 

Sculptures by a renowned Cebuano artist.

On to Spanish era exhibits, you can see these gun and sword used during the military expedition to Jolo led by Governor General Narciso Claveria in 1840. The purpose of the expedition was to capture the Balanguingui Island in Sulu Archipelago to thwart the Moro piratical activities.

A gun and a sword used during the Claveria Military Expedition to Jolo in 1840.             .

In that area, you will also see a copy of the first Bisaya-Spanish Dictionary compiled by Fr. Juan Felix dela Encarnacion and published in 1878. 

The First Bisaya-Spanish Dictionary

On to fight for Philippine independence from the Spanish colonizers, the museum also allocated an area for Cebu Katipuneros. The list of Katipuneros in Cebu is quite long, and their leader was Lieutenant-General Pantaleón Villegas, also known as Leon Kilat.  

List of Cebu Katipuneros

The exhibits on contemporary times are quite interesting. You will get to know about famous personages in Cebu, the descendants of whom are now famous celebrities in the country.

One senator from Cebu is Senator Vicente Rama, the ancestor of Annabelle Rama, a Filipina celebrity. The museum has an enormous collection of his memorabilias and senatorial papers. It is also interesting to know that he authored a novel entitled "Ang Silot ni Bathala" (The Punishment of God). 

Memorabilias of Senator Vicente Rama

Exhibit on the family of Senator Vicente Rama.

Exhibit on the life of Sen. Vicente Rama as a legislator.

"Ang Silot ni Bathala," a novel written by Senator Vicente Rama.

Sotto is another famous surname in Cebu. The senator from Cebu with surname of Sotto was Senator Vicente Sotto, the grandfather of Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto, III, and famous comedian Marvic "Vic" Sotto, Sr. He is also the great grandfather of the highly admired politician, Pasig City Mayor Victor María Regis "Vico" Sotto, the son of Vic Sotto.   

A news article about Senator Vicente Sotto.

The famous personages featured in the museum include Capt. J.S. Ferrer, Jovito S. Abellana and his family, Justice Sotero Cabahug, and Gen. Arcadio Maxilom.  

Memorabilias of Capt. J.S. Ferrer.

"Gogma sa Kataw," a book authored by Jovito S. Abellana.

Memorabilias of Abellana Family.

The Philippine Legion of Honor Medal conferred upon Justice Sotero Cabahug.

Visayas Campaign Medal  and the story of Gen. Arcadio Maxilom.

There is also a section in the museum about the "Thomasites" who came to Cebu and Bohol. They taught at Philippine schools while the country was under American rule.

About Edward Sharp, a "Thomasite" in Bohol.

Then came the Second World War, which also caused severe damage to Cebu City and neighboring towns. This section also has a large collection of memorabilia from the era. 

Exhibits on the Second World War

These tons of "Guerilla Currency" captured my attention. These notes were issued from 1941-1944 during Japanese occupation of the Philippines. It was said that carrying these notes meant instant death when caught. These banknotes however were redeemable after the war with the Philippine National Bank (i.e. if the bearer survives).  

Collection of Guerrilla Currency

As we know from Philippine History, General Douglas MacArthur promised to return to the Philippines to liberate it. From liberating Leyte, they proceeded to Cebu to liberate it too. The museum has a good narrative on the liberation of Cebu from Japanese forces.   

About the beginning of the liberation of Cebu in 1945.

About the battle at Babag Hill.

The recent addition to the museum is the exhibition on "Rice Gods and Saints." This exhibition is about the ancient pagan religion of indigenous people, until Christianity arrived at Cebu's shores, and since then taken deep roots. This is particularly accentuated by Cebu's deep devotion to the Sto. Niño.

Exhibition on "Rice Gods and Saints."

Catholic Santos

Catholic santos and church ornaments.

Sto. Niño Festival

To me, the unique feature of Museo Sugbo is the Mass Media Gallery, which shows the workings of mass media in Cebu, as well as the tools or equipment being used in both televised and printed channels.    

Diorama of a Newsroom

The machine for printing newspapers of local circulation.

Gadgets used in journalism.

The museum also talks about politics, and what really captured my attention was the campaign poster of Senator Jovito Salonga. For one, I am a fan of this great statesman. 

Campaign poster of Senator Jovito Salonga.

Before going out of the room where the presidential exhibits are located, you will see this primitive ballot box with this question on top, "Who is your best President among those in this gallery?" To me this is a funny question. 

The Ballot Box

As the evening dawned, the presentation prepared by an artists' group in Cebu was commenced. The presentation was about the coming of various ethnic groups to Cebu, either to settle there or conduct trade. One amazing part of the presentation was about a marriage ritual conducted by a "babaylan" (priestess).  

A play about ancient Cebuano customs.

In the museum's courtyard, there were stalls from three municipalities in Cebu which exhibit their unique products. The stall which I like most is that from Catmon because of their organic food produce. 
Stall of the Municipality of Catmon.

I also learned from them about these seeds called millet (locally called kabog), which they made into rice cakes. I tried it and it was so delicious. 

About the Millet or Kabog which is endemic to Catmon.

Millet or Kabog

Among the products they were selling that night were suman (rice cake), latik (a variety of rice cake), organic coco jam, crab with millet (kabog), and native eggs.

Suman (rice cake).

Latik (variety of rice cake)

Organic Coco Jam

Crab with millet or kabog.

Native Eggs

Another stall is from Consolacion which exhibits their craft of making "sarok," a native hat made from bamboo strips and dried banana leaves. There were weavers there to demonstrate how the "sarok" is being made.

Sarok, a native hat made from bamboo strips and dried banana leaves. 

Cebu folks weaving the sarok.

The stall from Sibonga exhibits the making of clay pots in Cebu. In the said municipality, they have a good source of clay, which they use in making the said oven baked pots. 

Pottery in Cebu

Pottery Products

Of course, Cebuanos being good in preparing grilled foods, there was a makeshift stall installed in front of the museum selling grilled sausages, chicken and pork intestines, street foods, chicken parts, pork strips, and seafoods.

Sausages and chicken intestines for grilling.

Street foods and chicken parts for grilling.

Seafoods and pork strip for grilling.

Visiting the Museo Sugbo will let you learn the history of the Province of Cebu in a comprehensive manner. They present all the aspects of Cebuano society and how, collectively, they contributed to nation building. The visit is made more fun by the night time activities due to Gabii sa Kabilin 2019!