Cebu's first National Museum open its doors on August 1
Cebu's first National Museum open its doors on August 1
Cebu's first National Museum open its doors on August 1
by Christhel Cuazon01 August 2023
Photo courtesy: Department of Tourism

The first National Museum in Cebu will be opening its doors to the public starting today, August 1.

According to the National Museum of the Philippines, the National Museum – Central Visayas Regional Museum (NM Cebu) will be “partially opened” to the public from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9 AM to 5 PM. Admission to the museum will also be free.

Last week, President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. led the inauguration of the museum together with Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, and other dignitaries.

“It is a milestone not only for the Queen City of the South and the whole province of Cebu but for the entire country as the opening of this museum brings to the fore our rich natural, cultural, and artistic treasures,” Marcos said during the ceremony.

What's inside the NM-Cebu?


NM Cebu will be housed in the Aduana building, also known as the Old Customs House and the Malacañan sa Sugbo.

The building was designed and built by American architect William Parsons in 1910. It was converted into the Malacañang sa Sugbo in 2004, during the term of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In 2013, the building was deemed unsafe for occupancy after it sustained significant damages due to the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that rocked the provinces of Bohol and Cebu.

Six years later, plans of converting it into a National Museum were made public. The site was declared a National Cultural Treasure in 2019, the same year the NMP entered into a usufruct agreement with the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), which owns and manages the property, to turn it into a National Museum.


Boasting a rich artistic, cultural, and historical relevance, the NMP Cebu features five key art galleries for its inaugural event:

“Kinaiyahan: Cebu’s Natural Wonders” is located in Gallery 1 which features unique geological features, including some unfamiliar plant and animal species endemic to the place which would potentially draw the attention of would-be visitors.

“Ang Karaang Sugbo ug ang mga Kabiling Bahandi” or Gallery 2 contains significant archaeological finds that would further educate visitors about the history of Cebu, and others related to the Philippines.

“Paglawig: Cultural Movement Across the Seas” of Gallery 3 features the exhibit of sustained ethnographic traditions inculcated in maritime history and industry.


The Gallery 4 of the museum, on the other hand, is a special exhibit especially curated for the inaugural event which displays “The Philippine Center New York Core Collection of 1974”, which brought the collection of the Philippine Center in New York to Cebu to share with new audiences the artworks of leading Filipino artists in the early 1970s.

Finally, Gallery 5, or the “Ang Kamamugnaon ug Kinaadman ni Maestro Tinong” highlights the work of famed Cebuano artist Martino “Tinong” Abellana, likewise dubbed as the “Dean of Cebuano Painters” who became a central figure in the development of most Cebuano artists.

The NMP said the National Museum in Cebu will feature various exhibitions and galleries that highlight the “Cebuano spirit and heritage.” This included the island’s ‘rich and diverse biodiversity, geology, archaeological treasures, art, and ethnographic and maritime traditions.’

It will also have a special exhibition of artworks from the Philippine Center in New York. An upcoming gallery dedicated to renowned Cebuano painter Martino Abellana is also expected, NMP added.


“Aside from the five galleries, NM Cebu also boasts a lobby and reception hall featuring additional art by Cebuanos and featuring Cebuano culture and history, a terrace, a courtyard, and the NM’s first-ever regional Museum Shop,” they said.

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