Warming the hearts last Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, were the long queues and crowds of enthusiasts flocking to the permanent and special displays curated by 20 institutions participating in this year’s “Gabii sa Kabilin,” a night of heritage that gives citizens access to heritage sites preserving diverse facets of Cebuanos’ rich and colorful past.

As reported by Justin K. Vestil in SunStar Cebu on Saturday, Oct. 22, the event held annually every May since 2007 returned after a two-year hiatus observed when Metro Cebu went into lockdown during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Organizers behind the 20 participating museums and heritage sites that took part in this year’s Heritage Night should be commended for archiving and mounting multi-sensory interactions that redefined and elaborated on the conventional visit to a museum as simply a visual and aural tour to view objects and scrutinize subjects associated with some distant, alienated past.

The successful re-animation of the past and its reconnection with current generations on Oct. 21 should move stakeholders to prioritize more funds and support for heritage and culture.

While the P200 ticket gave access for citizens to visit 20 heritage sites, the time used for moving from one site to another, as well as the long queues outside the more popular venues, made many netizens express hopes that the access opened by the “Gabii sa Kabilin” be extended through other ways.

Pronounced in the 17 heritage destinations in Cebu City, two in Talisay City and one in Mandaue City is the support of the Church, the academe and the private sector.

Local government units (LGUs) and regional line agencies (RLAs) should move as catalysts to sustain these reserves of civil society’s interest in and involvement with heritage and culture.

The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) should give incentives to private and public schools supporting museums.

This academic institutionalization of heritage and history must inspire the rest of academia and the public and private sector to follow the initiatives set by the University of San Carlos (USC) with its USC Museum, the St. Theresa’s College and its Sr. Ma. Delia Coronel Folklife Museum and the University of Southern Philippines Foundation Rizaliana Museum.

This year, the University of the Philippines Cebu launched its Museum of Art and Culture.

These museums are repositories of the academic community’s investment in memory and memory-making, which benefit their students and the rest of the Cebu public.

Embedded in the academic curricula should be trips to the museums to create a culture steeped in history, with particular attention paid to local histories. The Roman Catholic Church leads in this preservation of local history, which prioritizes communal milestones and key movers behind church and community changes.

According to an Oct. 22 report by Honey I. Cotejo in SunStar Cebu, Msgr. Agustin Ancajas of the Archdiocese of Cebu organized an exhibit of clay figurines he created himself to present a different perspective behind the narrative of sainthood as his personal way of commemorating the 10th anniversary of the canonization of St. Pedro Calungsod.

Entitled “Marianas 1672 Revisited: People in the Mission and Martyrdom of San Pedro Calungsod in Clay,” the exhibit is open and free to the public at the Teatro de San Pedro Gallery in the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod at the South Road Properties.

Beyond Oct. 21 and the observance of “Gabii sa Kabilin,” Cebuanos do not lack in storytellers and narratives that reveal more than a glimmer of identity, community and pride of place. We must make the most of these opportunities to face our prospects by way of connecting with the past and sustaining our stories as a people.