A MUSEUM dedicated to Chinese culture and heritage will soon rise in Cebu City.
The Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum will be housed in the century-old Gotiaoco building, which will be restored and converted.
The building is located near the executive building of the Cebu City Hall.
It will be the first Chinese museum outside Metro Manila.
Bob Gothong, chairman of the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum Foundation Inc. (SCHMFI), said the restoration will cost around P100 million, excluding the cost of artifacts that will be displayed in the museum.
He said they plan to start work next month and have it completed in two years’ time, considering that a building restoration is a meticulous process.
The contractor must remain true to the original design to allow the site to qualify as a United Nationals Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization world heritage site.
The museum will have three floors with a lobby, a grand hall and two major halls on the third floor.
The grand hall will have 15 small rooms where the gallery of the photos and information about Chinese families in Cebu will be placed.
Yesterday, the SCHMFI held a launching activity of the restoration project, which was participated by several local prominent Chinese families and members of the foundation.
Also in attendance were Mayor Michael Rama, Atty. Augustus Go and Ambassador Frank Benedicto.
At no cost to City
Gothong clarified that project is at no cost to the Cebu City Government, saying the SCHMFI will manage the museum.
He said he hopes the museum will teach the public, particularly the youth, about the contributions of Chinese-Cebuanos to all aspects of local life, particularly in trade and commerce.
He said schools will be invited to conduct field trips in the museum.
The Gotiaoco building was built in 1914 by Don Pedro Gotiaoco, who was the wealthiest businessman of his time in Cebu, said Gothong.
It was the first building with an elevator in Cebu and was a prime site for head offices of many multinational companies.
But the building was damaged during World War II.
Rama, for his part, said he is happy the project will finally be realized after several years of negotiations.
“I’m looking forward to its completion because that is an additional icon for the city,” he said.
Aside from the museum, Rama said, the group, through Ambassador Benedicto, also vowed to construct a senior citizens center next to the building to complement the senior citizens park.
Rama will visit the Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7 to inform the agency of the plan since the lot where the two-floor center for the elderly will stand is public property.