MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – Cebu’s well-loved Casa Gorordo reopens October 15 with a livelier, more vibrant exterior with new displays and a levelled-up experience for heritage lovers.
The Casa Gorordo Museum on E. Aboitiz St., Cebu City offers a more authentic experience, shedding its dark brown exterior for a more vivid ochre and green façade, the outcome of months of research into the culture and lifestyle of the Filipinos, particularly the Cebuanos of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The repainting project is a thoughtfully-designed undertaking reaching back to the Spanish colonial period when the homes of affluent Cebuanos – two-storey stone and wood dwellings now known as ‘balay nga tisa’ – stood out in resplendent color. The project was undertaken to reclaim the structure’s former aesthetic to better enable fulfillment of its mission to be a “guide to the world that shaped Cebuano cultural identity.”
A National Historical Landmark, Casa Gorordo Museum, is acknowledged as one of the country’s cultural and historical treasures. It was built in the mid-1800s and acquired by the Spanish merchant Juan Isidro de Gorordo in 1863. Four generations of the family lived in the house, including Cebu’s first Filipino bishop, Juan Gorordo, until it was acquired by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) in 1980. It was unveiled as a museum in 1983.
RAFI formed a committee to deliberate and decide on the curatorial justifications and aesthetic output of the project. Expert inputs were provided by Arch. Michael Manalo as Casa Gorordo Museum’s consultant on architectural conservation. Manalo is the Head of the Cultural Heritage Subcommittee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and is Chairman of the Committee on Culture of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) National Cultural Commission.
Florencio Moreño II, Officer-in-Charge of the RAFI Culture and Heritage Unit, says the color palette chosen for the museum is consistent with the aesthetic of the colonial period, yet considers the modest ethos of the house being the residence of a bishop.
Moreño also shares that the museum experience has been redesigned with technological enhancements and new displays.
“Continuous research has allowed us to expand the body of knowledge about the prevailing norms of society and the lifestyles of Cebuano families of those days. This robust experience of our shared heritage is something that visitors to Casa Gorordo will definitely appreciate,” he added.
The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. Regular app-guided tours are offered for only P100 per person. Groups of five or more may avail of special guided tours at P150 per person. Senior citizens, students and persons with disabilities are charged only P50 for the regular app-guided tours.
Messages about reservations and inquiries are being received on the Casa Gorordo Museum facebook page and messenger account.
(Photos: John Lindsey Banaynal and RAFI)