I’ve always wondered what’s inside the Ifugao-inspired building at the corner of Harrison and Governor Pack Road in Baguio City every time I pass by it. I know it’s a museum, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to find the time to visit it, considering how frequent I go up to the City of Pines.
This last time, I made sure I get to enter its doors.
|CARVED WOODEN SPOONS|
Baguio City has always fascinated me. And I always make it a point to ask a few questions about its history whenever I meet someone who actually lives in Baguio; how the Americans discovered it, what it looked like before it became the Summer Capital of the Philippines and even, how life was during the American Period.
|MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND WEAVINGS|
A few, especially the old-timers, were able to paint a somewhat muddied history of how Baguio City came about, but most of the time, I get blank stares. They simply have no idea about the city’s history.
These questions, plus a few more, I finally got the answer to at the Baguio Museum.
|BAGUIO MUSEUM’S UNIQUE FACADE|
We’ve just had a hearty plate of pancit batil patong at Baguio’s Athletic Bowl before we visited the museum. The heavens was pregnant with rain, and as we were about to cross Harrision Road after taking a few snaps of its facade, it poured.
|THE MUMMY CORNER|
Up a few steps, a lady greeted us. We paid the minimal entrance fee and was let to ourselves to roam the four floors of the museum. She let out a reminder before letting us go not to take photos of the mummy at the main floor of the museum though. I’m not sure if it’s for respect or if they just want to avoid further deterioration due to the use of flash. We willing obliged, nevertheless.
|IFUGAO DIORAMA WITH THE RICE TERRACES AT THE BACKGROUND|
The museum holds, not only Baguio’s history, but the Cordillera’s and a bit of Ifugao’s as well. On the main level, which is located on the second floor—much like the region’s traditional stilt houses—a spread of artifacts from the region abound.
|ONE OF THE MODEL HOUSES|
Jars, utensils, musical instruments, deities, jewelries, apparels and fabrics are encased on a couple of glass panels. There were also excellent models made from wood and thatch of different huts used by tribes during the olden days. And on one corner, burial jars and carved wooden coffins, one of which contains the real mummy that the museum curator specifically told us not to take pictures of.
|KALINGA’S BODONG DIORAMA|
On another side of the floor, two detailed dioramas of various Cordilleran and Ifugao scenes are displayed. One of these is Kalinga’s Bodong, an agreement ceremony between the tribes of the region for peaceful coexistence. I love how detailed and well-made the sets are. Really fine quality, worthy of an upscale museum.
|AN OLD ADVERT ABOUT BAGUIO CITY|
On the ground floor, we found a temporary exhibit regarding the early years of the Americans in Baguio. The panels are cheaply printed on tarps, but it was very informational, nonetheless. There were a few prints advertising Baguio as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, and how you haven’t seen the Philippines if you haven’t set foot in Baguio. Quite interesting.
|DIORAMA OF BAGUIO’S CURRENT STATE|
The third floor of the Baguio Museum holds a detailed history of the city, from its pre-American period up to the current one. Huge dioramas depict the growth of Baguio from a once bare pastoral land to the chaotic mess that it has now become.
|OLD BAGUIO PHOTOGRAPHS|
All around these models are old photographs of the city, complete with historical annotations of how the Americans discovered it and how the city came to be. While the prints were really not of museum quality, I still love each and every one. And even though I’m not a Baguio native, I can’t help but feel a twinge of nostalgia in seeing the old Baguio, full of pines and with hills bare of houses.
|CONTEMPORARY EXHIBIT AT THE ATTIC|
The weakest part of the museum is its attic. During our visit, an exhibit of contemporary photographs and artworks were on display. I’m not absolutely certain, but from my observation, these pieces have been gathering dust here for a while.
It took us about an hour or so to fully explore the Baguio Museum. While the exhibit and even its space can hardly stand up with the more famous BenCab Museum, I still would definitely recommend this place to Baguio die-hards. For the casual Baguio tourists, the museum would be a good introduction to the city.
Address: Governor Pack Road cor. Harrison Road,
Baguio City, Benguet
Contact Number: (+6363) 444-7451
Open Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Entrance Fee: PHP40.00 Adult | PHP10.00 Elementary
GPS Coordinates Map: 16.407068, 120.598353
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