Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bontoc: A day at the museum

It's my second foray into bontoc but it's the first time I paid the Bontoc Museum a visit on the good advice (and guidance) of my best buddy, ironwulf. Having a few hours to spare and with Sagada just over an hour's ride away, we took a side trip to this much-written about museum.We arrived during the lunch hours and found the gates closed. I was about to feel disheartened but the kind caretaker on duty gladly opened the doors and welcomed us without much of a prodding. As it was lunchbreak, we had the museum all to ourselves, marveling at the displays, reading the captions, goofing off as well.Founded by a Belgian nun, the Bontoc Museum is a treasure trove of genuine artifacts and implements of the people of the Cordillera highlands. It also has stuff unearthed from the caves. For the photographs alone, the trip was well worth it, showcasing rare images of the cordillera way of life taken by missionaries and the famous photographer, Eduardo Masfere. The photos harken back to a simpler time when the rice terraces were dotted by the thatched roofs of the Ifugao houses, not the corrugated tin roofing marring the green landscape. Photography is prohibited inside the museum but we were free to shoot the outside displays where the ato (communes) were faithfully recreated.Visitors details: Bontoc Museum is open from Mondays to Fridays, 8am-12nn, 1-5pm; on weekends, museum doors can be opened upon request • Museum fee: php50 • located near the Bontoc Catholic Church, a tricycle ride away (fare: P8/person) from the town center
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