We have been molded by our academics on our own cultural heritage that is the manifestation of how our way of living today developed and passed on from one generation to another. We have been taught and exposed to our culture expressed in practices, objects, values, places, traditions, beliefs, lifestyle, artistic expressions, performances, and etc. We all learn these from our teachers back during our elementary, high school and college years with limited exposure. Now, question: do you really know the core and value of our own cultural heritage? The truth of the matter is, majority of us didn’t really take it seriously, at least in my own opinion. Thankfully, there are organizations like the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and its partner organizations holding events to help preserve and promote our culture and heritage, hence the foundation of the Gabii Sa Kabilin (Night of Cultural Heritage).
Gabii Sa Kabilin or GSK is the talk of the town and been hearing it since living here in Cebu. It was my first time to take part in this big event that I was so excited about what it’s like. It’s actually beyond my expectations. Why? Read through and learn from my heritage hunt.
An Overview of Gabii Sa Kabilin
GSK is an annual event organized by RAFI and other organizations featuring both the culture and history of the Cebuanos since 2007. The event happens every last Friday of May from 6 pm to 12 midnight where people use one ticket as an entry tool to all the participating museums and heritage sites. 2017 serves as its 11th edition highlighting the entries of its 26 participants from Cebu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City and Lapu-Lapu City, each of which has its own activities for all visitors. I came with my friends and visited six of these heritage sites and museums.
Where to Go and What to Do During GSK?
I was able to have a conversation with one of RAFI’s organizers, asking him details about GSK since it’s my first time to join. He gave me a brief overview of the event and how it’s going to happen and recommended where to appropriately start to get the most of it – downtown area. Already aware of the traffic, we went off to start our museum hopping earlier than scheduled.
Basilica del Santo Niño Museum
This is the sole museum we visited that only allows us to take a photo outside the area. The reason could be because of its effect on the stored and preserved religious artifacts and its trove of ex-votos including toys and jewelry given by devotees to the Santo Niño. This is perfect for those who want to know about religious artifacts, especially those related to the Santo Niño.
Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu
The architectural gem Archdiocesan Museum of Cebu exhibits illustrations and photographs depicting Catholic faith’s growth in the island. It’s so welcoming and vibrant outside as you enter its façade with ladies in costume performing the notable cultural dance of Cebuanos during Sinulog. They have lots of activities inside like sacred relics exposition, rondalla concert, and art making from lukay (coconut leaves.)
Fort San Pedro
Notable as Philippine’s oldest tri-bastion fort, Fort San Pedro highlights artifacts, paintings, sculptures, documents and weaponry from the Spaniards. The military defense structure-turned museum offers cultural show, exhibits, and audio-visual presentations.
Sugbo Chinese Heritage Museum
Still, on its on-going construction, Sugbo Chinese Heritage Museum serves as a historical site where the first Chinese people settled in Cebu. Artifacts exhibit, early Chinese settlement storyline exhibit, building construction and restoration background, and rehabilitated area viewing are among its activities.
Casa Gorordo Museum
What makes Casa Gorordo a must-visit heritage site is its list of activities and accommodating guides. The whole family will surely enjoy its children’s choir performance, food strip, a photo booth for old clothes, music performances, and curated Visayan traditional dance presentation. The museum shows the luxurious life of the Gorordo family from 1860s to 1920s.
Plaza Parian or the AboitizLand
Plaza Parian is named as the Heritage of Cebu Monument with its tableau sculpture that features symbolic and significant events in Cebu from the era of Rajah Humabon to the beatification of martyr Pedro Calungsod. The night at the Plaza became vibrant with the presentation of the University of San Carlos Theater Guild’s plays.
It was not until the 13th of August 2009 when the former provincial jail of Cebu was converted into a museum. Interesting facts about the museum are its American-era and Spanish-era galleries as well as a WW II gallery. It showcases cultural presentation, town products exhibit and short film screening. Awesome!
With these few museums we have visited, do you think the cheap investment of 150 pesos is more than just enough? Obviously, you can’t complete your museum visits to all participating sites with the time constraint of 6 hours. However, the experience of knowing your roots and understanding why Cebuanos live like they do today is beyond monetary value. It was a tiring night but filled with knowledge on the history of Cebu years back then. Are we going to do this next year despite the traffic congestion, sweats, and painful heels walking from one site to the next? Definitely, it’s a YES with excitement. See you on the 12th GSK then.
*Some photos are credited to friends.