Over the weekend, I joined an annual cultural event in Cebu called Gabii sa Kabilin or the “Night of Heritage.”
During this six-hour event, numerous museums and heritage sites across Metro Cebu open their doors (or gates) to local and foreign visitors. Guests have the opportunity to enjoy cultural shows, exhibits, activities, food fairs, and even contests during this annual even. Buses and tartanillas or horse-drawn carriages are available for guest to get from one site to another. Guests can also walk to participating sites located close to each other.
The event was inspired by the Lange Nacht der Museen or Long Night of the Museums in Germany. The Gabii sa Kabilin was launched in 2007 and was the only metropolis to hold such an event in the Asia-Pacific region during that time. The first run of the event was limited to three museums. This gradually expanded, adding more museums and heritage sites into its itinerary. Currently it involves over thirty museums and heritage sites spread across the four major cities of Metro Cebu.
The Gabii sa Kabilin is held on the last Friday of May as part of the celebration of the Philippine National Heritage Month. While there are seven routes guests can choose from, guests can actually jump from one route to another depending on which site they may want to visit.
This is actually the third time I joined the event, and I still get goose bumps whenever I visit the participating sites, especially those sites that do not normally open their doors to visitors the rest of the year.
When I first joined the event in 2012, I was able to check out the Museo Sugbo, the Museo Parian – Jesuit House, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente Cathedral, the Casa Gorordo Museum, Plaza Parian, Fort San Pedro, and the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House. Since some of these sites were close to each other, I opted to walk from one site to another.
Last year, I was able to visit the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod, the new Talisay City Hall, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish in Talisay City, the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum, the University of Southern Philippines Foundation-Rizaliana Museum, and the United Church of Christ of the Philippines-Bradford Memorial Chapel.
For this year, I was able to take some pictures at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, the Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple, the ANTHILL Fabric Factory and the Cebu City Museum. I spent most of my time at the Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple since the organizers presented a short musical play on the life of Siddharta Gautama, also known as Gautama Buddha. The play was a preview of a bigger presentation set to be staged in SM City-Cebu within the year.
I would have wanted to visit more of the participating sites but the six hours allotted for the event is definitely not enough to be able to visit all or at least most of the museums and heritage sites here in Cebu.
While there are some areas for the organizers to improve on, it was generally a great event for history and heritage lovers, as well as anyone interested to know more about the rich cultural heritage of the Queen City of the South and its neighboring cities.