By John Paul Omac
LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA – For four centuries, Los Baños has been a cradle for history, culture, and arts.
But history will never be a heritage if not preserved and passed on to younger generations. Fortunately for the people of Los Baños, historical artifacts and other artistic pieces with cultural relevance will soon find a new home.
The Municipality of Los Baños is rebranding its former Municipal Hall to be its own “town museum” as part of the celebration of the 400th year foundation anniversary of the town. Spearheaded by the Municipal Tourism Office, The Los Baños Town Museum is expected to open September 17, 2015.
“The museum will focus mainly on the history of Los Baños—events that transpired from 1615 up to 2015,” said Rommel Maningas, Municipal Tourism Officer of Los Baños, Laguna.
“The main goal of the museum is to preserve the heritage of our town for the following generations to see,” explained Maningas. He said that through the museum, they hope that the constituents of Los Baños will have a better understanding of the town’s history and culture by studying significant events in the past, as well as the lives of the early residents of Los Baños.
Aside from this, Maningas also revealed that they also see the museum as a potential tourist attraction where tourists can also learn about the history of the town.
Initial plans for a museum can be dated as early as 2013 after the inauguration of the new municipal hall along the national highway, leaving behind the former town hall at Brgy. Baybayin. This led the local government to think for an alternative use to the historic structure. “Owing to its historical significance, we have decided to turn the former municipal hall into a museum,” Maningas said.
Arlene Garido, a student from Liceo de Los Baños, said that the new museum would be quite helpful for the students. “We will be able to learn more about the history and heritage of our town,” Garido said.
Melvin Ontol, resident of Brgy. Baybayin, also commends the effort to turn the old municipal hall into a museum. “At least they’ve found good use to it, rather than just abandoning it.”
Currently, the former municipal hall is still undergoing renovation and refurnishing to transform it into the said museum. Researches for the historical timeline and events are still on going in partnership with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). A crowdsourcing campaign has also been launched since June last year to ask for the public to donate artifacts, documents, or photographs relevant to the history of the town that can be exhibited in the museum.
Since last year, the Municipal Tourism Office has already received numerous submissions, mostly photographs, from the residents. However, upon filtering, Maningas revealed that only about five to ten percent of the submissions can be exhibited in the museum.
Among these historical donations is a 17th-century jar which a family from Brgy. Baybayin pledged to donate to the museum.
“We are still asking for possible donations that can be exhibited for the museum,” said Maningas. “rest assured that due credits will be given once the item has been displayed,” he added.
For those who are interested to donate, or have queries or concern, you may contact the Municipal Tourism Office at 530-2818 (local 215).