Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Relive the Rich History and Culture of Capiz at Ang Panublion Museum

With Interviews from Ms. Cheryl Anne del Rosario

It’s 10 o’clock in the morning and there were like four or five walk-in guests admiring the artifacts inside the glass cases lining Ang Panublion’s spherical wall. Another two were on the other side reading excerpts of Sugidanon, the epic of the indigenous group, Panay Bukidnon. The museum staff were busy arranging the seats. A group of students are expected for a tour at 10:30. This is how the day begins at Ang Panublion Museum, on Hughes Street, Roxas City. With its director and three staff, the workforce, albeit skeletal, runs the province’s historical, archaeological and cultural custodian in a praiseworthy and efficient and functional manner. In fact, it is inside this former water tank that the annual summer festival, Capiztahan, is planned, with no other than the museum director, Ms. Cheryl Anne del Rosario, as the principal organizer of this week-long event. On ordinary days, the museum caters to students, researchers, and guests, who are all eager to take a look at the wealth of heritage and culture that, unknown to many, is abundant in Capiz. After all, the province is marketed as an cultural eco-tourism destination, thanks to its moniker as the seafood capital. 

Ms. Cheryl Anne del Rosario, the Museum Director

Ms. del Rosario snippets of trivia about the museum before eager students. 

But beyond the wealth that the marine life has to offer, Capiz has a storied past that the world should know. And this is what Ms. Del Rosario and the rest of the museum personnel are working hard to promote (for her efforts, Ms. Del Rosario was hailed as one of the Outstanding Women of Capiz for her contribution in the field of culture and arts). With its exhibits and think-tank talks, the museum has been entrenched to the position as a popular go-to destination not only for those looking for artifacts, but also those who are doing research about local studies. In fact, the museum has its own library of Capiznon and Panayana studies and a licensed librarian regularly schedules a visit to the help the staff. Cheche, as the museum director is fondly called, wants to make sure that the experience of guests at the museum are nothing but memorable. With a warm and jolly greeting to every visitor, a short lecture is always provided by the trained museum staff.

“I’ve been in the museum since 2013, and I am happy our efforts have greatly improved the museum’s holdings, as well as the number of visitors coming here,” Cheche said. True enough, the museum has emerged as one of the top must see sites in Roxas City. Since 2012, the museum came under the management of United Capizeños Foundation, Inc.—One Capiz  and this was followed by a rising number of visitors coming.

“We are proud to say that Ang Panublion’s visitors have greatly increased in number. In 2,000, there were only 2,000 walk-ins. By the end of 2014, we also had more than 8,000 visitors. We expect that it would increase further by the end of 2015,” Cheche explained.

There’s still a lot of work to do, but it all guarantees that Ang Panublion would continue soaring high. In fact, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) has already approved the plan of extending the museum without destroying the water tank. The museum also forges ties with other agencies for possible collaborations in different projects and activities.  

Ang Panublion: The Legacy of the Past Roxas

The Manuel Roxas Exhibit in 2012.

The term “Panublion” is the Hiligaynon word for heritage. It is housed in a cylindrical tank that had served as the main water storage facility of residents for decades (Inquirer). In 1910, Pastor Alcazar, third president of the then-municipality of Capiz (1908-1912) constructed a water tank near the municipio to provide water to the Capiznons during the dry months. The tank is 6.10 meters high and has a diameter of 11.5 m and wall thickness of 4 centimeters. It provided the locals with water during dry months. When it was still functional, water flowed from catchments of the municipal building and an underground water stream to the tank. People would line up to get water from a spout in front of the museum, former museum curator, Bryan Argos, said. During World War II, the municipal building burned down but the tank was spared. It was eventually hidden from the public eye after government buildings were built around it. Only the water spout was visible. In the late 1980s, the Metro Roxas Water District was established and with the construction of the Paslang pumping station as a main water source of water supply, the tank has eventually outlived its usefulness. With the transfer of government offices in the new City Hall, the water once again came into the public’s eye. 

Ms. del Rosario shows Panay-Bukidnon swords to Panay-Bukidnon chanter and National Living Treasure Federico Caballero, a chanter of the Sugidanon epics. 

The city government and other citizens eventually thought of converting it into a museum. The tank retained its structure but it was modified, repainted, and installed with exits and windows. An adjacent administrative office was also built. Today, the museum is home to priceless artifacts, books, pictures, and other manifestations of the Capiz rich and thriving history, culture, and arts that locals and visitors alike frequent to have a taste of the unique heritage that the province has to offer.

The Story of Pastor Alcazar (as told by Rosario Alcazar Arboly, Pastor’s grand-daughter)

The Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana Exhibit in 2014. 

It is worthwhile to take note of the story of the Pastor Villamin Alcazar, the man behind the iconic water tank which is now to the museum, as we keep on our story of Ang Panublion. A native of Lemery, Batangas, Alcazar was a member of the revolutionary forces in Luzon, during the Spanish regime. When the Spaniards surrendered to the American forces In Manila, the revolutionary forces fron Luzon arrived in Panay Island. The group was headed by General Ananias Diokno. Capt. Pastor Alcazar, Francisco Dinglasan, also of Batangas and Capt. Marasigan, were dispatched to Capiz, to assist and render advice to the revolutionary movement of the province. On Dec. 8, 1899, the American forces seized control of the entire Panay Island. Pastor and Francisco, stayed in Capiz.

The Meyer Collection at Capiz Emmanuel Hospital - Ang Panublion's mobile exhibit.

Smitten with the charms of Rosario and Vicenta Arcenas, daughters of Don Esteban Rubio Arcenas. They fell in love, wooed and married the two sisters of the Illustrious Arcenas clan. Pastor had two sons, Esteban and Ricardo. Pastor, entered politics, rose from the ranks and was elected as the third president (now mayor) of Capiz, Capiz. During his tenure in office, water was the perennial problem of the Capizenos. The lack of water even for drinking in the summer months, compelled Pastor to build a water reservoir, to provide water to the residents. In 1910, the tank was constructed near the municipio to accumulate the rain that flowed from the roof of the municipio and fill up the tank during the wet season. 
The Daisy Avellane Exhibit at Capiz State University Library -  another mobile exhibit of the Museum. 

Pastor never set foot to his hometown again. To relieve his nostalgia, he constructed his house along Panay river in 1910. This house was a replica of his maternal home in Lemery. He also named the street where his house is situated "Primero De Mayo Street", the fiesta of Lemery, in Batangas. Pastor V. Alcazar, died on Aug. 22, 1925. He came to Capiz a stranger, but loved, lived and died a true Capizeno. He left a landmark that survived the ravages of time... now a Museum "Ang Panublion" a treasury of Capiz Heritage. A builder of the reservoir and to two other outstanding statesmen of Capiz in partnership with the construction of the Capiz Bridge, Senator Jose Cortes Altavas and Governor Antonio Habana. Pastor Alcazar left a legacy of a true nationalist, who Fought foreign domination, a public servant, who strived to serve his constituents both rich and poor and continue to do so, to this day.

How to reach Ang Panublion Museum?

You won't have a hard time locating the Museum. It's located Hughes crossing Legaspi streets, just beside the Roxas City Hall. You may also contact the Museum at (036) 522-8857. The Museum is open from 9 am until 6 pm, Monday to Saturday for FREE. 

Photo credits to the Museum Staff: Leiff Antonino, Johnwe Parnesio, and Richvin Paul Velasco.

1 comment:

johnwe parnesio said...

Ang Panublion Museum is open to all :) its our pleasure to served you. Come and visit us, we're open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm