Museum celebrates Toledo’s past-A A +A
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
ONE of the first municipal halls in Cebu Province now houses artifacts of Toledo City’s culture, faith, economy and political history.
The Museo Toledo was opened last Sunday afternoon and showcases the history of the place, including its being host to several power plants and the province’s largest mining company, the Atlas Mining Corp. that has since been managed by Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC).
“The museum shows that Toledahanons are a very resilient people. We were very rich because of Atlas Mining but with its closure we were at our lowest point,” Toledo Vice Mayor Arlene Zambo told Sun.Star Cebu.
“The spirit of Toledohanons never died, we adjusted to the call of the times,” she said.
Toledo City was known as Jinulauan until 1863, when it was renamed after a municipality in the central part of Spain, Toledo.
There are no records of the town, according to historians, during the Spanish period, except in 1896, when two oil rigs yielded the first tangible source of petroleum in the country.
Historians point to the name of Toledo City’s largest river, Jinulauan, which is an old word with the root word bulawan or gold. The place could be a source of gold in pre-Spanish times.
The use of gold by Visayans as currency in barter dates back to 1600 as recorded by Jesuit missionaries Pedro Chirino and in 1668 as recorded by Francisco Ignacio Alcina.
There is little information about the Lutopan copper deposits. But the minerals were reported to be mined briefly by Japanese troops in the 1940s.
In 1955, Atlas Mining Corp. started producing copper concentrate using a concentrator at 4,000 metric tons of ore per day.
The company closed in 1994 after prolonged financial problems 10 years after the price of copper in the world market declined.
In 2008, the Toledo Copper Mine re-opened with a startup milling rate of 20,000 metric tons of copper ore per day.
Last year, 89 shipments were made to China and South Korea. In December 2012 alone, two shipments were made to PASAR in Isabel, Leyte Province.
The opening rites at the museum were attended by Toledo City Mayor Aurelio Espinosa, City Council members, Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, third district) and lawyer Cristina Garcia-Frasco.
Frasco and Garcia lamented that Gov. Gwen Garcia could not make it to the event.
“My mother would have come here today because this (heritage conservation) is really one of the thrusts of her administration,” said Frasco.
“I feel she is here in spirit,” she said.
Frasco said the Museo Toledo is comparable with museums in other countries.
Rep. Garcia said, “We see Toledo also treasures its soul, its past lessons that it will take in its voyage to the future.”
One room in the second floor of the building was set up by CCC and is called the Atlas Copper Mining Gallery. It contains a diorama of the copper ore mining process, old photos of the mine and sample of the equipment used.
The other galleries are the pre-Spanish and ethnographic display, historical and the art and transient exhibitions area.
The items are housed in a building that is almost one hundred years old. They include a letter of President Ramon Magsaysay to Toledo City Mayor Vicente Birao for the support of his candidacy, anting-anting paraphernalia of former guerilla member Subayon Barangay Captain Saludo Secares and religious statues.
An exhibit of Cebuano artists was also set up by Qube Gallery, that include the four-panel mix media art work of Toledano artist Marvin Natural entitled “I am Who I Am.”
The works of artists Josua Cabrera, Orly Ypon and Randy Plarisa were among the exhibit entitled “Thirteen.”
Visitors are also given an idea of the environment of miners in the Atlas gallery. The walls are lined with dioramas, photos of mining pits, display of miniature heavy equipment and tools such as a shovel and sledge hammers.
They leave also the gallery through a “mine tunnel” complete with timber support, pipes and wooden tracks.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 08, 2013.