October 11, 2018

The Western Visayas Association of Museums, Inc. held a Museum Summit at the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Arts with the theme “Hyperconnected Museums: New Aproaches, New Publics.”  This brought together museum workers,  cultural workers, and the academe to learn about the other roles of museums in our society.  The WVAMI is headed by Tanya Lopez of the Negros Museum.  Other officers are Sta. Barbara Tourism Officer Irene Magallon-Vice President, Venna Jane Villanueva Denoy-Gevero of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Secretary, RemarGallego of Museo sang Bata sa Negros – Asst. Secretary, yours truly – Treasurer, Pilar Martinez of RosendoMejica Historical Landmark – Auditor, Directors Cheryl Anne del Rosario of AngPanublion Museum, Clem del Castillo of Balay ni Tan Juan, and Irene Gaston of Hda. Rosalia Historical Landmark, Dr. Doris Bagarinao of the Museum of Aquatic History (SEAFDEC), and NCCA Representative Lyn Marie Mapa of USLS.

The summit had 4 topics i.e. Museums as Storytellers by artist-writer-curator-researcher MarikaConstantino who was a 2017 Global Cultural Fellow of the International Cultural Relations of the University of Edinburgh; Designing Museum Education Programs by Capiz State University College Librarian Christian George Acevedo who is also the incoming librarian at the University of the Pacific (Suva, Fiji Islands); Museums, Social Activism and Critical Public Engagement: The Changing Roles of Museums in the 21st Century by the inimitable modern-day babaylan Joyce Colon whose lecture dealt with the evolving roles of museums in the context of a changing world; and Heritage Food by Prof. Marie Joy Sumagaysay.

This NCCA-funded cultural forum held last September 27-28 opened the participants’ eyes to the many possibilities museums can offer to the public.  There were forums where discussions were made on how to make museums more exciting and significant to the Filipinos.

Prof. Sumagaysay explains food to us. Take a look at the letras y figuras in the background.  What do you see?

The second day was all about food and the participants were treated to a heritage food tour led by UP-Visayas Prof. Marie Joy Sumagaysay.  Known initially as the “Cemetery Girl” for her interest and research on cemeteries (Cemetery Art in the Context of the Cultural Heritage of Our Church, and The Stone Cemeteries of Iloilo), Prof. Sumagaysay now devotes herself to documenting and promoting Ilonggo heritage food.

Clean is the word in La Paz Market
The divine ube brazo de mercedez of La Paz Bakeshop

An early morning trip to La Paz Market exposed us to many of our favorite food.   Prof. Joy had all of us comfortably seated at the famous Madge Café where we had the most sublime back-to-our-roots moment.  We had native coffee sourced from Iloilo; a taste test of batchoy from different kitchens; some old-fashioned bread; and the divine ube brazo de mercedez of La Paz Bakeshop.  If you think we all stood up and called it a day after the last crumb was wiped off the plate, you’re wrong.  It was just the beginning.  The next stop was a kitchen tour of Panaderia de Molo so that we could have a look at the century-old wooden mixing bowls, the cavernous ovens, the mélange of old and modern baking equipment, and listened to a descendant discuss the history of the business.  We crowded into the store to have a taste of Panaderia’s famous baked goods.  As usual, we were not disappointed.

The airy kitchen of Panaderia de Molo
Tulapjo is fried pork fat. A rare treat nowadays.

KapEsing was just some blocks ahead so off we went to have a really good bowl of piping hot pancitmolo.  Slurp! From the kitchen came a small cauldron  ofpancitmolo and some fresh lumpia in their thin, yellow-tinted translucent wrapper.  Prof. Sumagaysay explained that this was the precursor of the lumpia that was brought over from Molo to Silay.  This heritage food trip was an actual lesson in the history of Western Visayas.  Personally, it was a weaving of the food stories of Negros and Iloilo.

This fresh lumpia recipe was brought over to Silay from Molo
Nothing like a bowl of piping hot pancit molo
More, more, more molo!
Kap Esing’s wife Mrs. Villanueva with a cherished family picture

The morning was finally capped by a visit to the Molo Mansion for a look-see of the district’s latest destination which was the Yusay-Consing resident now converted into SM Kultura.

Molo Mansion’s rarely seen second floor

All in all, the WVAMI Museum Summit 2018 was a needed refresher and educational meet for  culture in this part of the country.The WVAMI, with the support of the NCCA, has organized workshops and seminars such as Basic Museology, Cultural Mapping, Collections Management, Heritage Conservation Talks, International Museum Day activities, Visayan Visual Arts Conference (ViVaExcon), Curatorial and Art Management, Establishing Museums, etc.