Magsingal National Museum Branch

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The Magsingal National Museum Branch or the Museum of Ilocano Culture and Artifacts is a Philippine museum that displays an ethnographic collection on the material culture and liturgical artifacts of the entire Ilocos Region. One of the branches of the National Museum of the Philippines, it is housed in the rectory of an old Spanish brick church in Magsingal, Ilocos Sur, a municipality near the provincial capital of Vigan. The museum is open from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday to Friday, and on Saturdays and Sundays by appointment. There is no entrance fee.

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Magsingal bell tower by Madz Pacpaco

Location

The Magsingal Museum is located 12.3 kilometers away from Vigan in the town of Magsingal. It is about 2 hours away from the Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte.

The museum building

The museum is housed in the rectory of the old Magsingal church, which served as the residence of the parish priest during the Spanish colonial period. Both the church and rectory were built in 1676 in baroque style. In front is the old bell tower. With their durable foundation of brick, stone, and lime, these structures have managed to survive the calamities that have hit the province over the centuries, including typhoons, fires, and earthquakes. The rectory was used as a school during the early years of the American colonization of the Philippines. During the Japanese Occupation, some of the residents of Magsingal were interred here, but the building was cleared out prior to making it a museum.

The entire museum building is about 235 square meters in area. It is 1 storey high with a mezzanine level.

History

In 1977, Juan Manuel, the secretary of education at that time, requested that the superintendent of schools in Ilocos Sur turn the historic church rectory into a museum. It was one of the first branch museums of the National Museum that was set up in line with the Department of Education’s goal to set up more local and regional museums in the Philippines. In October 1982, the Magsingal National Museum Branch was formally opened to the public. The 1,170 square meter lot that the museum stands on was donated by the municipality of Magsingal on October 6, 1986. The local officials fenced the museum grounds in 1996.

The collection

The museum showcases various Ilocano artifacts, including ancient archeological finds and indigenous and contemporary products of the region. These include a large number of utilitarian items such as fish traps, baskets, harvesting knives, water containers, pottery jars, wooden bowls and plates, and hanging flower vases. Artistic items like bamboo musical instruments and sinamay clothing, as well as religious items like wooden rosaries and icons, are also on display. One of the highlights of the collection is a rare 105 cm concrete potter’s wheel, of the type on which the famous burnay pots of Ilocos Sur are made. There is also a sugarcane crusher or dadapilan, a machine to which a carabao is hitched in order to crush the juice out of sugarcane, and a model of a pugon, a structure used for drying tobacco, among other items.

References

Citation

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