Cebu Cathedral Museum

-The old convent converted into a wonderful museum

The old convent converted into a wonderful museum

Cebu Cathedral has unveiled their Museums finest collection, entitled “Cuna del Cristianismo: The Ecclesiastical Treasures of the Archdiocese of Cebu”, the displays would be permanent, and it features pieces from pre Vatican II chasubles, life size paintings of Cebu’s bishops [including that of Dn. Pedro de Agusto, an Augustinian from Mexico, the islands first Bishop], rare photos [recuerdo de patay of past Bishops] and amazing centuries old icons from the old parishes across the island.

The rear portion of the convento, at a distance the Cebu Cathedral

The rear portion of the convento, at a distance the Cebu Cathedral

This is by far one of the most impressive museum I’ve ever visited here. The former convento that houses the exhibition is in itself a remarkable and historical place built under the administration of what many consider a visionary builder – Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon [builder of the churches in Oslob and Naga and the impressive convent in Sibonga was also created]. This building was witness to the accomplishments of the pioneer Augustinian missions. As missions succeeded in converting Sugbuanon natives, it gradually formed the shape of not only this wonderful island but the entire nation. The Cebu missions would serve to be the model for future missionary expeditions.

The wooden engraving of Saints

The wooden engraving of Saints

A beautiful altar with its sacristy, adored with gold and silver

A beautiful altar with its sacristy, adored with gold and silver

There is a guided tour when I came in, but I decided not to join the group because I wanted to observe at my own [very] leisurely phase. In the first floor, a whole retablo, complete with religious objects is on display, the silver art is of the most excellent quality, said to had been imported by way of the galleons. Heavy wooden benches and engraving of the four gospel saints more than two centuries old can also be found in the first level. What’s amazing is that the whole house is still partially supported by the original log foundations!  Some of these thick timber foundations are highlighted by lights for everyone to see.

The floor, showing the first portion belonging to the prehispanic era, then the Hispanic and later the American colonial

The floor, showing the first portion belonging to the prehispanic era, then the Hispanic and later the American colonial

A portion of the second floor is dedicated to Cardinal Vidal, a great man who has served his church admirably. The exhibits features some of his personal collections. Letters and a private notes, photos and medals – his La Lealtad Acrisolada por Isabel La Catolica [presented by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia in ‘76], another medal presented this time by El Generalissimo, Francisco Franco, the prestigious Gran Cruz de la Orden Isabel La Catolica.

-	A Cebu Bishop’s photo, taken and printed in Binondo Manila

This project of the Archdiocese of Cebu is a very good example of what restoration should be, I’m so happy with what I’ve seen here. Although there were portions that were obviously reconstructed for safety, the effort placed on preserving the old character of the historical house is commendable.

Photo taking is prohibited on the relics exhibited on the second level, something that we all – being visitors should respect, I limited my shoots on the areas where it was allowed.

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