I always believe that for you to know more about the place you are visiting - its culture, practices and traditions, you should at least visit its museum. So, right after checking-in at Hotel Amancio, I went out to have early lunch at a nearby eatery and proceeded to Balay na Santiago Museum (balay is a Gaddang word for house). Located at the heart of the city along Miranda Street (near the barangay hall of Calao West), it's just less than 5 minutes away from the national high-way via a tricycle.
At first glance, I noticed that the museum looks like a bahay na bato with a resemblance to Emilio Aguinaldo's mansion in Kawit Cavite. At the entrance, I met the personnel manning the museum and paid the minimal fee of 5 pesos. I was then directed to go upstairs where the museum is.
According to Santiago City's website, "Balay Na Santigo houses the remnants of the present day urban glory that is Santiago City. The museum showcases a collection of the ethno-linguistic lifestyle of those who made Santiago the melting pot of culture that it is today. It shows a glimpse of the past customs and traditions that have united the multi-race Santiagueños."
I was impressed at how well maintained the museum is. I saw a collection that vary from old photographs to antique furniture, memorabilia and jars as well as religious items, dresses, photos of the city and the province's tourists spots, old photos of Isabela's stone churches in Alicia, San Pablo, Tumauini and others that gives every visitor an idea about the city's glorious past.
There is also a room with grand four-poster bed, an elegant period living and dining rooms as well as three-and-a-half feet tall wooden salt burnay, some Bulul statues, giant paper mache they use during their Pattaradday Festival, some old plates and jars and replicas of the traditional Igorot house and a bahay-kubo.
Truly, this small museum is packed with a lot of interesting mementos of the city's vibrant past.
You'll definitely feel like that you've been transported to the past when you visit Balay Na Santiago. It's open daily from 8:00 AM to 12:00 NN and 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM. Admission fee is 5 pesos. You may contact them at (078) 682-4930.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Manila, take an air-conditioned bus (Florida Bus Lines, Baliwag Transit, Victory Liner, etc.) bound for Cagayan Valley, it passes by the province of Isabela via the Maharlika hi-way and get off at Santiago City. Travel time is approximately 8 hours by land from Metro Manila. From the city, just take a tricycle to Balay Na Santiago along Miranda Street (near the barangay hall of Calao West).
To read my other posts on Isabela, click here.
This is part of my 3-day trip to the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino and Isabela that happened last March 2-4, 2012. Join me as I re-visit the second largest province of the Philippines - Isabela. To read my other posts on Isabela, click here.
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