Monday, June 05, 2017

Storage of Precious Things: Ang Panublion: The Roxas City Museum of Capiz

The last time I was in Roxas City, Capiz, it was in late April 2017 to attend the provincial festival, Capiztahan, a flurry of events which included the inauguration of the new annex of Ang Panublion: The Roxas City Museum.
Ang Panublion, which sits on Hughes Street, very near the Roxas City Hall, and in the charming city center with its old government buildings, royal poinciana trees and old bridge spanning the Panay River, is one of the more handsome little museums I have been to outside Metro Manila. My interest was bolstered by the fact that the structure was originally the city’s water tank, repurposed as a repository of cultural treasures and stories.
The water tank was constructed in 1910 under the administration of Pastor Alcazar, the third president (1908 to 1912) of the town of Capiz, former name of Roxas City. It was a circular structure that stood 6.10 meters, with a diameter of 11.5 meters. Its wall was 27.5-centimeter thick. The tank was used to store water, siphoned from the nearby municipal building, for the dry season.
The water tank survived World War II intact, but the municipal hall was destroyed. Office buildings were built around the tank, engulfing it completely with only a water spout remained as a visible reminder. Over time, many residents of Roxas City forgot about the old water tank.
The city would then have a new and efficient water system, through the efforts of its congressman Gerardo “Dinggoy” Roxas, Jr. (1986 to 1993).
The water tank was only seen again after three decades after the office structures were torn down in 1993. The then city government and concerned citizens thought of converting it into a museum. Ang Panublion: The Roxas City Museum was opened on April 14, 2012, its name the Hiligaynon word for “keeper of precious things.” Managed and maintained by the United Capizenos Foundation-One Capiz, the museum houses artefacts, memorabilia, and crafts and everyday things from old eras. It tells the history and culture of the province and its peoples, the predominant Hiligaynon and the Panay Bukidnon. It also memorializes Capiz’s prominent citizens such as Manuel Acuña Roxas, the fifth president of the Philippines; and National Artists Jovita Fuentes and Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana.
Ang Panublion has become a favorite tourist destination. However, the structure proved too small for its growing collections. This year, its annex was unveiled, where some of the museum’s holdings were transferred. It also houses a new item—Roxas’s presidential car. The car is a 1940 Fleetwood Cadillac 75 limousine, imported for his inauguration on July 4, 1946, with a wheelbase of 3.58, and powered by a 5.6-liter V8, producing 135 horsepower. The car was used from his inauguration until his death on April 15, 1948. The car was taken into custody by the National Historical Institute (presently the National Historical Commission of the Philippines), and then transferred it to the President Manuel Acuña Roxas Foundation. It was restored in 2014 by Frank Koh and Alex Claudio of Route 66, costing about P1.8 million, shouldered by the foundation with assistance from the NHCP. The car was part of an exhibit commemorating Roxas’ 69th death anniversary, and tracing the Roxas family in Capiz from the late 1800s until present time.
Ang Panublion will continue to provide sustenance to the province’s cultural life.

Contact Ang Panublion: The Roxas City Museum via telephone number (+63 36) 522-8857; fax number (+63 36) 621-7415; email addresses and; or Facebook account (Ang Panublion Museum).

The annex with the presidential car

The museum in 2014

Center of Roxas City, Capiz

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