top of page

National Museum Opens In Dumaguete City

By: Penn T. Larena

The office of the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) formally opens its regional site in Negros Oriental on November 25, 2022 during the fiesta of Dumaguete City. With the ₱50 million restoration budget, the new regional museum will be its 14th branch in the country.

National Museum opens in Dumaguete City at the Old Presidencia formerly the city hall of Dumaguete City.
National Museum opens in Dumaguete City at the Old Presidencia

The museum exhibits geology, zoology, botany, archaeology, and marine biodiversity artifacts with local significance to Negros Island, Siquijor, and the rest of Central Visayas; will be housed in the Old Presidencia, formerly the city hall of Dumaguete City.

The renowned Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano, who also created the Legislative Building in Manila, which is now the National Museum of Fine Arts, originally designed the Dumaguete Presidencia, which was constructed in 1937. Both structures were created using a blend of regional and western neoclassical architectural designs that were popular throughout the American era.

During the ceremony for the opening of the Museum, the unveiling of a cultural marker declaring the Dumaguete Presidencia as an important Cultural Property was also a highlight of the event. Jeremy Barns, the Director-General of the National Museum, as well as other NMP representatives, Ambassador Luli M. Arroyo-Bernas, the Chairman of the board of trustees and the forthcoming Philippine Ambassador to Austria, and Atty. Cecille Tirol the Director of the Visayas National Museum joined Mayor Felipe Antonio B. Remollo and other local Government Officials in welcoming the guests and prominent personalities inside the museum as soon as the museum's doors opened to spectators.

Atty Cecille Tirol ,Hon. Jeremy Barns ,Mayor Ipe B. Remollo ,Hon Lourdes  M. Arroyo-Bernas and Andoni   MENDIETA ABOITIZ

Barns said the proposal to restore the Old Dumaguete Presidencia and convert it into a regional museum hit a soft spot among NMP officials.

"We are quite familiar with the architecture of Arellano, so we were really excited to get the chance to work on this and restore its original splendor, beauty, and design, which is a fusion of several architectural forms".

Most of the guests during the said event came from various sectors from all local chief executives in Negros Oriental, some mayors and officials from the neighboring provinces of Negros Occidental, Bohol, and Siquijor to witness the activity, and of course, descendants of the late Mayor Pedro Macias Teves were also in attendance.

According to Dr. Earl Jude Cleope of Silliman University, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Commissioner for Visayas, having a museum helps people connect to the past while also serving as a bridge to the future.

“Negros, Siquijor has a lot to offer and for sure if this will be managed well and there will be a proper program certainly, it will enlighten and at the same time inculcate the value of pride of place at the same time connection to the past,” Cleope added.

Msgr. Julius Heruela, chair of the Commission on Church Heritage, wishes that the museum's opening will inspire community stakeholders to preserve the city's heritage structures and other valuable cultural items.

The National Museum Dumaguete Branch houses important cultural artifacts such as the Bacong Burial Jars, species of flora and fauna that are found on Negros Island, scale models of heritage churches in Negros Oriental, rocks and geological items in Negros, and many more.

Entrance to the Museum is free to the public and will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every Tuesday through Sunday, except Mondays.

bottom of page