AN OLD building situated at the back of the Cebu City Hall was finally turned over to an organization dedicated to preserving Cebu-Chinese culture and heritage on Monday, February 18.
Metrobank Foundation Inc. formally turned over the newly-renovated Gotiaoco Building in M.C. Briones Street in Cebu City to the Sugbo Chinese Heritage Museum Foundation Inc. (SCHMFI).
The building, which serves as the venue for the museum, was constructed in 1914 through the efforts of Don Pedro Gotiaoco, a Chinese-Filipino businessman.
The old building was declared by the Cebu City government as a heritage site in 2012.
Bob Gothong, SCHMFI chairman, thanked the Gotiaoco family for donating the building.
Gothong said the museum will serve as an instrument that would help educate the next generation on how the Cebuano-Chinese community contributed to the rich cultural heritage of Cebu.
It would also be the first Chinese museum outside Metro Manila.
The museum will provide exhibits on various heritage pieces, items and collections from heirlooms of Chinese-Cebuano families.
House Speaker and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who served as guest speaker, said it was high time that Cebu City would have its own Chinese-Cebuano museum.
She even mentioned Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who was present in the ceremony, concerning an old joke that Cebu had no existing Chinatown.
“Mayor Tommy, I don't know if it’s you who said this but there's an urban legend that quotes you as saying that Cebu doesn't have a Chinatown because Cebu is one big Chinatown,” Arroyo quipped.
Arroyo added that it is important for the Cebuanos to remember the contributions made by the Chinese community in developing the local economy of the country. Jolissa Mae Taboada, USJ-Intern)