Cagayanos or Cagayanes celebrated their culture, art, and exotic food during the month of June 2023.
This started with the “exotic food festival”, the reopening of the Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center and playing host to the North Luzon Association of Museums (NLAM) with members coming from northern Luzon.
The exotic food festival, actually on its third year, was spearheaded by the Provincial Agriculture Office headed by Dr. Pearlita Lucia Mabasa and the Cagayan First Lady Mabel Villarica-Mamba, who is also the province’ “Patron of the Arts” and chairperson of the “Aggao Nac Cagayan 2023” steering committee and Gov. Manuel Mamba’s representative.
The First Lady helps the governor’s intensification campaign on culture, education and arts. This year is the 440th founding anniversary of Cagayan. She is also the chair of the Cagayan Art and Creative Writing Awards which we will commence on July 2.
“This exotic food festival featured what normally farmers would consider as pests but instead turned into a viable source of food and income.” Some of the featured exotic specialties were eel, kuhol, frog or palaka, bayawak and edible flowers.
Another major event was the reopening and unveiling of the marker of the Cagayan Museum and Historical Research Center.
“Bahagi ng development agenda ni Governor Mamba ay nakatuon sa proteksiyon, pangangalaga, at pagmimintina, at pagdiriwang ng yamang kultural ng ating probinsiya. Naniniwala siya na ito ay tungo sa pagpapalago ng lalawigan, pagbibigay-daan sa pag-unlad. At sa pamamagitan ng Cagayan Museum na nasa ilalim ng opisina ng gobernador, ito ang aming mandato. Kaya naman patuloy ang aming pagpapatupad ng adhikain na ito para sa mga Cagayano,” diin ng Unang Ginang Mamba.
“Sa maraming taon aniya, lumago na nga ang panlalawigang museo at naging bahagi nang lokal na komunidad sa mga programa nito, naging kasama sila sa pangangalaga at pagbibigay serbisyo sa taumbayan Isa ang Cagayan sa mga lugar sa Pilipinas na may mahabang kasaysayan. Marami tayong dapat ipagdiwang at ipagbunyi. Napakasarap maging Cagayano lalo na sa panahong ito,” dugtong pa ni Unang Ginang.
Ang museo ay hindi lamang imbakan ng luma. Ito ay tagapangalaga ng ating kultura, tagapangalaga ng ating kaluluwa at kung sino tayo bilang mga Cagayano.
“Iyan ang nais ni Governor Mamba simula nang siya naupo noong 2016- ipakita kung ano ang kagalingan ng Cagayano, ipagyabang sa buong munod kung sino at ano tayo.
Nakita natin sa malinis at mabuting pamamahala kung sino tayo. Napakarami pala nating kayang gawin. Napakaramai nating mararating at napakaraming pangarap ang matutupad basta’t malinis at puro ang inyong intensiyon ang maglingkod,” mula sa panulat ni Mia Baquiran.
Kevin Domingo Baclig, Director and Curator of the museum also stated, “the Cagayan Museum opened its doors to the public in 1973 under the initiative of Gov. Teresa Dupaya. She was a teacher by profession and an ardent lover of Cagayan culture and arts, as she was an artist herself. The original building was a two story structure inside in provincial Capitol compound. In the early 90s, the center was transferred to the Cagayan Expo building.
In 2018, the museum started its transfer to the Casa Tribunal de Cagayan that was built in 1877 at the Tuguegarao City Center.”
According to the director, the museum had a soft opening at its new location in 2018. Closed its doors in Dec. 5, 2022 and reopened again on June 26, 2023. The newly-rehabilitated museum now has a gift shop, a conservation laboratory, and soon a courtyard cafe.
The museum also houses the Cagayan Archives and Historical Research Center with a large collection of Spanish manuscripts.
For those interested to visit the museum, here are the following contact information: mobile number (078) 255-7201 and email address <[email protected].
The term Catagayan according to research, comes from “the place where the tagay grows. It was shortened to Cagayan. Linguists, however, hold that Cagayan comes from an ancient, lost word that means “river”.
Another highlight of the celebration and reopening of the Cagayan Museum was the hosting of the first meeting of the NLAM after the pandemic.
It was also the venue of the election of the new set of Officers of the North Association of Museums for 2023.
The NLAM is an association of museums from Baguio, Cordillera and Regions I and II with following objectives: to further the linkages, camaraderie and programs of the Museums of the North, which was founded by the late Executive Director and Curator of the Baguio Museum Leonora San Agustin and to serve as the gateway to the National Committee on Museums (NCOM) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Elected officers for 2023 are Gemma Gardingan Estolas of the Baguio Museum as president, Kevin Baclig of the Cagayam Museum as vice president, Richie Cavinta of Museo San Nicoleno in Ilocos Norte as secretary, Linda Simon of Gameng Museum in Ilocos Norte as treasurer, Valerie Frias of Arca’s Yard as PRO, Hedena Afaga of Bacarra Museum as auditor, and Marichelle Costales of Nueva Vizcaya People’s Museum as NLAM representative to NCOM. (Photos by Lucy Ruiz and Kevin Baclig)
– Stella Maria L. de Guia