NEGROS ORIENTAL | Dumaguete City’s Silliman University Anthropology Museum

Thursday, July 18, 2013

American Eastern Stick Style Architecture of Dumaguete's Silliman Museum

The distinctive facade of the Silliman Museum usually represents Dumaguete City on postcards and pamphlets. Sad to say, it’s now my third time to visit the City of Gentle People but I haven’t stepped on this iconic structure even once. Being a museum guy, I’m elated that the Silliman University Anthropology Museum was gonna be our first stop on this particular trip.

Lush Old Trees at Dumaguete's Silliman UniversityI’ve always loved Silliman University’s laid back atmosphere; it’s tree-lined boulevards, its grassy fields and its very American architecture. I’ve actually written about a walk I did years prior along its arcades, searching for a fried ice cream. I still haven’t found that said dessert but the university hasn’t changed one bit from what I remembered it to be.

Dumaguete's Silliman University FounderThe Silliman Hall, where the anthropology museum is located, was built in the early 1900’s in the American Eastern Stick Style. Parts of the structure, like its metal pan ceiling and cast iron columns, are reclaimed from a New York theater. It used to be an assembly hall before it was converted to a museum in 1973.

Talk about history, it is the oldest of its kind the Philippines.

Pottery Section at Dumaguete's Silliman Museum The exhibits in the Silliman Museum are divided into two categories and seven galleries; three for Philippine ethnic groups and four galleries for artifacts across Negros Island and the mountainous areas of Cotabato. One can expect to see all sorts of earthen jars, prehistoric weapons, some skulls and such.

A Replica of a Native at Dumaguete's Silliman Museum Unfortunately, taking photos are not allowed on the first and second floor of the museum. Although we were allowed to take a few snaps at the ground floor since we’re gonna be promoting the place; the second floor told a totally different story for our click-happy fingers.

Burial Jar at Dumaguete's Silliman Museum And it was really just sad for shutterbugs like us as the second floor of Silliman’s Museum is where the action really is. There were golden sarimanok, intricate Muslim swords, tapestries of magnificent patterns, love potions and the most beautiful voodoo doll I’ve ever seen—well, not that I’ve seen a lot—but it was really intricately lovely. And that’s saying something especially for a witch’s doll which was said to have been confiscated from a local witch in the nearby island of Siquijor.

At the Third Floor of Dumaguete's Silliman Museum I have to say that Silliman’s small second floor collection can rival those of much bigger museums. But our excitement tapered off once we reached the building’s third storey. Although cameras are now allowed, it houses much more recent and less interesting artifacts like old dusty typewriters, tattered books and turn-of-the-century appurtenances.

Old Adding Machine at Dumaguete's Silliman Museum Although there were still a few items that caught my attention like the old adding machines, probably a precursor of the modern calculators. But the exhibits being displayed on a non-air conditioned attic didn’t add much to our enjoyment. It was almost midday and the weather was overcast, I can just imagine how sweltering hot it would be to visit this on a sunny day.

So after a quickly circling the area, everyone went back down and quickly went out into the cool shades of Silliman University’s massive old trees.

The Structure's Original Balusters at Dumaguete's Silliman Museum I really liked the fact that guides were constantly at our side, explaining in detail the artifacts we were viewing. It just gives a deeper significance to the pieces than just mere eye-candies to take pictures of (or not, in this case). It took us almost an hour to tour Silliman Museum’s three floors, and for a history geek, I consider it time well spent.

Dumaguete City Location Map

Silliman University Anthropology Museum
Address: Rizal Blvd., Brgy. Bantayan, Dumaguete City
Contact Number: (035) 422-6002 (loc.207)
(0916) 680-5714
Open Hours: Monday to Friday
8:30AM - 11:30 | 2:30PM - 5:00PM

GPS Coordinates: 9° 19' 52.02", 123° 18' 32.66"
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here

You Might Also Like


  1. tsss... ni hindi man lang ako nakaapak sa silliman, kung nalaman ko lang tong museo na to eh di sana...

  2. hi christian, finally u got to visit the silliman hall museum, an iconic building in our school in dumaguete city. it used to be an assembly hall, a music center where i learned how to play the guitar and a great symbol of the past.
    since the blissfulguro missed to see that place, kindly let her know that when i visit the philippines, i will invite her to go there for a personal visit to see silliman university and maybe rizal park in dapitan and dipolog, too my old hometown or maybe i will send her a message na lang.
    great, awesome photos of the silliman hall museum, bravo!

    1. Wow that's very generous of you Ma'am Oly, sige po I'll relay that to her :)

  3. i am a history geek as well and this post is bookmarked. i'd love to visit this university one day.

    1. Their second floor is really something Mark, just be sure to get a museum guide when you visit :)

  4. Had the chance to see the building but twas too quick. :) Looking forward to come. :)

    1. It took me three visits to Dumaguete to check out the museum Olan, so okay lang yan :)

  5. It took me only once visit the silliman museum.
    Amazing place.I liked to visit everyday 😍😍😍 I see a lot of Artifacts. .... old boat... love potion etc...

    1. Yes, even for its small size, the artifacts contained withing the Silliman Museum is impressive!