The city of Naga now has its own public museum, the Museo Naga. This is a special project by Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong. The Museo Naga is meant to be “a platform where Nagahanons and the visiting public can appreciate the history, heritage, environment of the city of Naga and its adaptations through time”.
Designed with the help of Dr Jocelyn Gerra as a conservation consultant, the Museo Naga is located on the second floor of the city’s former municipal building. It has three exhibition galleries: the Natural History Gallery, the Naga Heritage and Contemporary Art Gallery and the Chiefs Gallery, as well as a library and conference room.
The Natural History Gallery presents a geological timescale of the Earth. According to Dr Gerra, based on the Cebu Island Strategic Profile – prepared by the Bureau of Mines and Geosciences – Cebu’s oldest geological formation is the Tunlob Shale, which is around 200 million years old, probably from the Jurassic period.
The profile is followed by a multimedia presentation of the flora and fauna of the city, the formation of coal, a model train, the Naga station and the raw material for cement. There is a diorama of the city showing its “elevations, valleys, hills, river system as well as the coal mines and limestone areas where the flourishing cement industry was founded during the American colonial period of the Philippines”.
The Naga Heritage and Contemporary Gallery houses artifacts collected in Naga and explains why there are places called Tinaan, Uling and Colon (unfortunately access to the clay source for pottery making was sold to a private company, so the industry is now more than a memory).
There is a small porcelain collection of trade items from Southeast Asia that will give some insight into what may have happened to Naga in pre-Hispanic times. Finely embroidered items of clothing, musical instruments made by the Naga, and Art Deco chairs are also on display.
The rulers gallery shows the rulers of Naga (during its recorded history). The portraits show when they served the city. The resolutions and minutes of the municipal council dating from 1908 are displayed, as well as the documents related to the transformation of Naga into a city.
Dr Gerra recounted that Mayor Chiong asked him to conceptualize and manage his version of a museum in October 2020. The fact that it came to fruition in about a year is due to Mayor Chiong’s clear directions on this project. museum. She has placed the best people in her administration to facilitate and monitor the necessary work.
To oversee the creation of the museum and the construction process, a technical working group was formed, led by Ruth Bandola-Alensonorin, responsible for tourism, heritage and development of Naga, with members the municipal administrator engineer Arthur Villamor , Planning and Development Coordinating Engineer Joveno Garcia, Municipal Engineer Ma. Alpha Alojado, Municipal Consultant Dr Carmelino Cruz, Chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee for Tourism, Heritage and Sociocultural Affairs Scott Jovenal Chiong and Dr Gerra.
The museum’s exhibition designer is architect Anthony Abelgas, and the exhibition layout was carried out by architects Loloy Castro and Fatima Castro of CJModelworks, Mandaue City.
Museo Naga is not just about having a tourist spot in the city, but a way for its citizens to appreciate its history and have a sense of pride.
Due to Covid-19, Museo Naga is currently open by appointment only.