I had little sleep in transit from Kuala Lumpur to Penang. While waiting for my check-in time at my hotel, it was a good decision to go out for a cursory heritage tour of Penang with KKDay. It’s a good way to orient myself with the city of Goerge town being a first timer here. One of our early stops was the Colonial Penang Museum. It wasn’t listed on the itinerary so I wasn’t expecting much. But lo, my eyes were kept peeled from fascination with over a thousand pieces of items painting a rich history of Penang’s British colonial era. An ideal starting point that gives insight on Penang heritage.
I’ve been interested with the aboriginal heritage of Taiwan since it has close proximity with our islands. I know some Itbayaten have Taiwanese ancient lineage based on the paler complexion and somehow thin eyes. Could ancient Taiwanese have stone houses similar in Batanes? That I have to see as we visit the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village in Yuchi, Nantou County, central Taiwan.
“Did someone turn this wooden staff around?” I asked. There were only three of us in the museum. I can clearly remember when I first passed by this wooden staff with a carved bulul (wooden carved sculptures from Cordilleras) on top with a lock of hair that it was facing out towards the window. Going back to take a photos this time with my camera after going around, I was surprised it was looking towards the room this time. Ate Fe, our guide and care taker for the Museum of Cordillera Cultural Heritage said she did not as she was busy talking to my good friend Lagalog. I tried to move the base, it was heavy and not easy to budge. Reading the small description at the base, this wooden mahogany staff was carved by a tribal shaman in the 1970s. The bulul image inspired by the image of his wife and actual lock of hair used on the top. Gave me a little goosebumps. Was it watching over us?
Why would I want to visit a pewter museum? And what’s a pewter again? Those who are not really familiar what a ‘pewter’ is may find this of no interest. But really, give it a chance, as a visit to a pewter museum factory gives an insightful journey to one of Malaysia’s industrial heritage. Pewters are malleable metal allow handcrafted into everyday objects we use, aware or not. Royal Selangor in Malaysia is one of the key companies spearheading quality pewtersmithing and distributing this finely crafted objects around the world. The museum highlights the science and the journey of pewtersmithing development.
We need more museums than malls. I sure am glad we have another National Museum opening its doors real soon. On October 29, 2017, National Museum of the Philippines celebrated its 116th year anniversary. As a treat, they opened the National Museum of Natural History for a day. It was a great way to preview what the museum would offer once it officially opens sometime early 2018. With this development, Manila adds another knowledge enriching landmark to compliment the Fine Arts, Anthropology and Filipino People Museum in Manila.
If there’s one thing I noticed, America is really proud of their military. I don’t think it is mostly about patriotism on their part but giving respect and due to those who served for their country. America invested a lot on their military technology and it follows that it pours through their people. Those in the military, past and present, gets benefits like considerable discounts at establishments to family perks. In my visit to the USA, my brother-in-law, suggested I visit the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. I wasn’t surprised really. To know America is to know its military. Besides, it would be interesting to see the now decommissioned USS Midway (CV–41) aircraft carrier which used to be the largest ship in the world until 1955. It even made its way to the Philippines after its deployment.
There was a night in Sibaltan, El Nido where a group of performers from the Sibaltan Heritage Society (SHC) showcased a few Cuyonon folk dances. Cuyonons, are an ethno-linguistic group that originated from Cuyo Island. I watch at least five pairs of young boys and girls enthusiastically dance on the sand, under somewhat dim light of the night from Tapik Beach resort. The sound coming from a boom box was all treble with scratchy bass but the performance was all heart and passion as we could see the expressions from the young performers as they execute dance steps highly Spanish-influenced, often upbeat to jumpy with a lot of swirl movements from the girl. I could not understand the lyrics but I was told these dances are often about Cuyonon life – livelihood, courtship, marriage that are often depicted with witty naughtiness to slightly obscene which is a character of Cuyonon songs. Watching this humble spectacle made me imagine how the Cuyonons manage to cross the Sulu Seas, traversing at least 100 nautical miles to reach the shores of Paragua, what we know now as the land of Palawan. The newly built Pangko Maritime Museum in Sibaltan, sheds some light into the history of Cuyonon migration.