Th Sto Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum.
Th Sto Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum.

TACLOBAN CITY,  (PNA) – The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) will finance the repair of the Santo Niño Heritage Museum, one of the landmarks of this city built during Marcos administration.

The Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG) has released PHP20 million for the rehabilitation of the building, starting on its outer part.

Once rehabilitation of the outer portion of the museum is done, facelift of the inner portion of the museum will be done, said PCGG supervising officer for Eastern Visayas Renor Dauag.

Even if the rehabilitation works is on-going, Dauag said they still allow tourists to visit the museum, which houses ecclesiastical antiques and art collections, the paintings of the 14 stations of the Cross done by Filipino artists, wooden base-relief of the legend of the First Filipino man and woman (Si Malakas at si Maganda), a collection of original paintings by Fernando Amorsolo, spacious ballroom and priceless collector’s items.

Dauag hopes that once the rehabilitation is completed, it will attract more tourists, which consists of students who are on educational tour.

PCGG collects P200 per visitor of the museum. Last year, the government generated PHP711,439 income from 8,978 tourists. From January to June this year, they earned PHP600,575 from 8,180 visitors.

Before super typhoon Yolanda struck, revenue from tourism was pegged at PHP100,000 monthly.

Odon Sabarre, a resident artist of Eastern Visayas and a ballet scholar of Former First Lady Imelda Marcos, said that for the longest time since the government sequestered the property and neglected it, it’s high time that an agency gives focus on its rehabilitation.

Sabarre said that the building is one of the projects that the Marcos government made to showcases wonders of the world in one place.

While fund is already provided for the museum, repair of the adjacent building – the People’s Center and Library is still uncertain.

Dauag said that the government has allocated fund for the rehabilitation of the only public library in this city.

Inside the People’s Center and Library are rare to find books, which are useful for researchers.

It was destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda, but evacuation brought much damage to the facility, according to Dauag. He recalled that some evacuees use pages of books in lieu of toilet papers.

The Santo Nino Shrine is one of the 29 presidential rest houses that the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos had built. Five years after its opening, the property was sequestered by the government through PCGG.

The Plan to rehabilitate the museum started in 2012, but due to bidding process glitches, it took a while before it started until super typhoon Yolanda struck and destroyed the outer portion of the museum. (PNA)