(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Tuesday, 05 March 2024) Northeast Monsoon affecting Luzon. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies/Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Moderate to strong winds coming from Northeast to East will prevail with moderate to rough seas (1.2 to 2.8 meters).


Tuesday, 5 September 2023

‘Bayay Surigaonon’ Community Museum: Exploring the Resilience of Social History

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

‘Bayay Surigaonon’ is managed by the provincial government of Surigao del Norte located at the vicinity of the provincial capitol in Surigao City. This is a museum on social history nurturing the rich and enduring Surigaonon heritage and inspiring pride of place.

Museums play a crucial role in preserving local culture. With careful documentation and artifact preservation, a culture can be recorded and remembered regardless of its future. It can also be shared and understood by those from different cultural backgrounds.

In Surigao City, province of Surigao del Norte, various organizations from the government, non-government organizations, civil society organizations, and media are working hand-in-hand to maintain and preserve its community museum, which they call ‘Bayay Surigaonon’ (House of the Surigaonon). 

The Bayay Surigaonon has been known since 2020 as a show-window to a particular period characterizing Surigao’s Cultural Development on Social History. It recalls how life was with the Surigaonons during the early contacts into colonial cultures.

Arturo Cruje, consultant for culture and the arts in Surigao City, recalled that the town’s community museum was conceived in 2020 but was partially damaged after Super Typhoon Odette hit the Caraga region in December 2021.

“It took us a year to repair and I am optimistic that this will finally be opened for public viewing by the last week of September 2023. It is the mission of the provincial government to make the Bayay Surigaonon as a repository of artifacts and other memorabilia, curate, preserve, interpret and display them as contributory narratives to the history and culture of the Surigaonon. It also serves as a Function Hall for Culture and the Arts-related activities and for provincial guests,” said Cruje.

The view from the entrance at the Bayay Surigaonon in Surigao City.

Cruje stressed the need for the young generation to be well-aware of the social history of Surigao City, including its lifestyle in the 1900s.

“Some of the artifacts that we have here in the museum were discovered [not all are antiques]. Most are also donated while some were bought to make these as official property of the provincial government,” Cruje shared.

“Most of the museums in other regions have their own theme. Here in Surigao, we actually borrowed the concept from Pamintuan House in Pampanga; the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan; also, the old houses in Vigan, Bohol and Iloilo. So, we also thought of building an old Surigaonon house here,” Cruje added.

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga team headed by regional director Venus Garcia visited the Bayay Surigaonon in Surigao City. Arthuro Cruje, consultant for culture and the arts of Surigao City, welcomed the team and shared significant information about the efforts of various stakeholders to maintain and preserve the town’s community museum.

Some of the artifacts and decorations inside the museum are also up for sale. According to Cruje, suppliers of the abaca baskets and other handicrafts are constantly producing the same products and help them look for prospect markets, as a way of support of the provincial government to their livelihood.

Arthuro Cruje, consultant of the provincial government of Surigao del Norte for culture and the arts at the Bayay Surigaonon in Surigao City, presented the different artifacts and memorabilia inside the community museum, during the visit of the team from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga.

“By the time that the draft ordinance will be enacted, there will be some fees to be implemented/collected.  For instance, high school students will have to pay P20 only, free for senior citizens and elementary students, while shooting and video coverage will be P1,500 per hour and P500 in excess of an hour,” Cruje said.

Arthuro Cruje, consultant of the provincial government of Surigao del Norte for culture and the arts at the Bayay Surigaonon in Surigao City, called on the different partners to continuously help promote the Surigaonon ways.

Cruje also highlighted that there are mining companies that constantly give their support to the maintenance of the museum as part of their social corporate responsibility. 

“We also have partnership with banking institutions, other NGOs and CSOs for the development of our tourism here in Surigao City,” he said.

James Ryan Galvez, student from Surigao del Norte State University-Malimono Campus, expressed his appreciation to his fellow Surigaonon for extending support to the community museum which is of great help especially for youth to better understand the Surigaonon culture and be more appreciative of what they have now.

“Museum like this is very beneficial and essential for us because it will help us reminisce and appreciate the different histories that will serve as the foundation of what we have now. It will also remind us of what it takes to be a Filipino,” Galvez said.

James Ryan Galvez, student from Surigao del Norte State University-Malimono Campus, called on his fellow students to visit the Bayay Surigaonon and learn more about their social history and be able to share it as well with their peers.

With anticipation of the launching in the last week of September 2023, Cruje called on different sectors in the city including those in other regions to visit and explore the rich culture and tradition of the Surigaonon.

“I hope that by the time we open this, other people from other regions will visit our community museum so they could also learn the culture of Surigaonon and our lifestyle. Our fellow Surigaonon should also know more about where they came from, our roots, and should practice the use of Surigaonon dialect. Wherever they go, they should know they are Surigaonon. We should never be ashamed of our dialect. Through these simple acts, we help maintain and preserve our social history,” Cruje elaborated. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)