I can get used to this. Yesterday morning, we went to the University of Southern Philippines-Foundation (USPF) Rizaliana Museum. We happened to miss it during RAFI’s Gabii sa Kabilin (GSK) the passed weekend and Floyd could not be at peace missing Dr. Jose Rizal’s artworks which are said to be displayed there. He was not very sure, he just heard. Sure that there was nothing to lose, I obliged.
As always in our little journeys, we go through street obstacles (i baptized the term just today and let me define that as usual unexpected obstacles you go through similar to what you experience when you are running errands, processing gov’t papers, etc. How can something usual be unexpected, you’d probably know what I mean.)
The first obstacle was finding out whether it was the USPF Campus in Lahug or the one near the Metropolitan Cathedral. I was sure the one featured in GSK was the latter builiding but he wanted to be even “surer”. He still had his ticket in his wallet and got satisfied to see the map indicating it wasn’t the Lahug Campus.
I wouldn’t say that finding what jeepney to ride was an obstacle. I’m quite confident that though I don’t memorize the jeepney routes, getting lost wouldn’t be a problem. I mean, we all speak Bisaya here anyway and he is not hesitant about asking directions.
The major obstacle was, we were initially not allowed entrance to the museum. It turns out that it requires at least 20 pesons for the museum to open. Floyd did the negotiations anyway, he was persistent. He explained that he was not from Cebu City and he really wanted to come to see Rizal’s works and the valuable pieces found in the museum. Probably moved by his determination (I was sure it was not persuasion), the person in charge got us in and we were both happy and thrilled.
What welcomed us first was the wood carved bust of Jose Rizal made by Dr. Ramon Abellana, a renowned sculptor and composer from Carcar, Cebu (brother of Martino Abellana, known as the Dean of Cebuano Painters). It was completed in May 22, 1960 according to the signature found at its back. I’ve never seen a very beautiful sculpture as that before and I had goosebumps.
Also displayed in the museum was a photograph of Rizal’s sketch of Josephine Bracken. Floyd who is an artist himself was in awe descibing the piece as comparable to the works during Renaissance period. If only there were more artworks to see. I nodded in agreement. Other pieces on display were clothes of Rizal, postcards, and some love letters of Josephine enclosed in a glass box.
Curiously, I asked the guide how the hero’s belongings came into possession of USPF. She said one of the University administrators’ spouse became a friend to Doña Trinidad Rizal, Pepe’s sister, and the latter decided to entrust some of Dr. Jose Rizal’s important possessions including clothes, artworks, letters, postcards, among others to USPF.
And according to our guide, more items are housed at the Main Campus museum in Lahug but it was under renovation. Now, that’s something to look forward to. In addition, the USPF Rizaliana Museum is said to be the only museum in Visayas displaying and taking care of items relating to our National Hero.