Museo Ilocos Norte: Pride of ancestry is a priceless legacy

Yesterday, I brought 7-year old Alexa to a museum for the first time. We actually went to the Museo Ilocos Norte five days ago, but, unfortunately, it was closed until the 25th. She reminded me of our date. She looked thrilled as I took exterior shots of the building. I, too, was excited to let her have a cultural learning experience in a different setting. On our way, I gave her bits and pieces of what to expect.

An inquiring mind

At first, the little girl was reluctant to get in by herself. She started loosening up as we were halfway down the left section of the first floor. She read the captions intently, and asked me questions in between viewing the various collections.

We have brought Alexa to trekking and other outdoor adventures since she was four or five, in the hope to make her appreciate her rich natural heritage. She recognized several familiar things she saw in far-flung localities.

The library next door was closed, and she looked fairly frustrated. At the end of the tour, I asked her if she had fun, and she gave an affirmative answer.

A stroll down memory lane

The old Tabacalera Museum has gone a long way from creepy to comfortable and updated.  The efforts that were put into its overhaul is commendable. Certainly, the Museo Ilocos Norte of today represents the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the people of Ilocos Norte.

The whole experience was a reminder of who I am.

Katukkong ken malabi (hat made of squash, or tabungao, and receptacle)

Alat ken sugod (fishing basket and comb used for the special purpose of catching lisa, or lice)

Traditional clothing of the Ilocanos

Indigenous cultural artifacts from the highlands of the eastern and southern parts of the province

An Isneg house

Ulnas ken karison (sled and wagon, designed to be drawn by carabaos)

A typical market scene of the olden days: Tagilako idiay tiendaan (an assortment of goods and fresh local produce sold at the market)

A calesa, or carriage, for personal use

Calesa as a means of public transportation

Dap-ayan, a place to unwind, or a meeting venue for community officials. Today, they are called Multi-Purpose Centers; many of them are pretty modern.

Antique musical instruments

The teatro of the museo. Behind the curtains is a monitor for a 15-minute video (for small groups) showing the musical traditions of the province.

A replica of a pugon (for tobacco curing) made from bamboo slats, mud, dried leaves and carabao dung. Natural and recycled materials 🙂

An ancestral house

The Museo Sarusar Shop is a curio shop. Travel guide books and  popular food products, like cornik and basi, are also available

Finely crafted curio items and more

A showcase of abel Iloco

Gameng houses a library. It is a learning center for the traditions of Ilocos Norte. Museo Ilocos Norte is managed by Gameng Foundation, Inc., with support from the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte and friends of the museum

Dedication of the Museo Ilocos Norte

Erected in 1878 and known as the Tabacalera Building, this edifice was originally designed as the Administrative Center of the Tobacco Monopoly in Ilocos Norte during the reign of Spain over the Philippine Islands.

In early 1999, the Provincial Government launched a major rehabilitation and restoration program for the building to reactivate and operationalize anew the provincial museum which, prior to a temporary lull, was housed in this building in the early ’70s.

The Museo Ilocos Norte, as this building is aptly called, now serves a noble purpose – a repository of GAMENG, the vast cultural heritage of the people of Ilocos Norte. It is our hope that this will inspire all Ilocanos to appreciate our ancestry and rich legacy, so that together we will grow in awareness and take pride of our culture.
Here, therefore, stands the Museo Ilocos Norte, and may it remain for another thousand years or more as our generation’s modest contribution to the future generations. May this building serve as a tribute and reminder of our collective efforts in ensuring that our people shall continue to live in peace, dignity and democracy.

Also, let this structure be a reminder of my humble, yet far-reaching vision to transform every Ilocano into a vibrant, enterprising and worthy citizen of the new millennium.

Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
Governor of Ilocos Norte
12 November 1999
Museo Ilocos Norte Gen. Luna St, Laoag, Ilocos Norte Tel. No. (077)7704587
Museum Hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm
Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

5 thoughts on “Museo Ilocos Norte: Pride of ancestry is a priceless legacy

  1. Tina,

    I greatly appreciate you for enjoying a life of a wanderlust, a very good professional photojournalist, an excellent writer and a loving mother, rolled into one! I envy you, but hey, everyone has his/her own peculiar likes and stature in life. Some have all the luck. I sincerely enjoy reading your well-written informative blogs and watching your picture collections! Thank you!

  2. It had a makeover in 1999. It’s well maintained and updated from time to time, thanks to the management. There is also a gallery for new features. The latest was traditional roping or panagtali.

  3. i visited here on my vacation last year.i was so fascinated with everything.i went with herdy who did not seem impressed with things nor my overwhelming barrage of questions and my enthusiasm…so i told him “everything is soo interesting why are you not interested”? and he said “i come here all the time” oh that answered my question!

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