THREE new galleries were opened yesterday at the Museo Sugbo, while the Province handed out Heritage Awards to three towns and three bara-ngays, as part of its 441st anniversary celebration.

Curated by University of the Philippines professor Javy Villacin, the new fine arts gallery of the museum features contemporary art pieces.

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Meanwhile, the changing exhibition gallery featured “Spanish Colonial Bridges in the Philippines” and “Flora Filipina: From Acapulco to the Philippines,” an exhibit on plants introduced to the country as a result of the galleon trade in the 16th century.

Another new gallery features artifacts and articles about Cebu’s media industry.

“It is culture that will unite people,” said Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, who reportedly cancelled her flight home yesterday afternoon just to attend the museum events.

In a speech, she told stories behind the building of historical structures like the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the San Juanico Bridge.

“From time to time, we need to remind ourselves of how great our history is,” the former first lady said.

She joined Gov. Gwen Garcia for the unveiling of the Museo Sugbo Marker, as well as the gallery openings and the inauguration of the museum’s souvenir and coffee shops.

During the tour, Governor Garcia told Congresswoman Marcos about the building’s history, how it served as the provincial jail during the American era, became the Cebu City jail from 1946-1976 and then the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, from 1976 until 2004.

Also yesterday, for their work in preserving Cebuano heritage, three barangays received prizes from the Province: Poblacion, Tabuelan (first, P50,000); San Isidro, San Francisco (second, P30,000); and Cantao-an, City of Naga (third, P20,000).

The Cebu Heritage Awards also went to Cordova (first, P150,000 and a trophy); Barili (second, P100,000 and a trophy); and Alguinsan (third, P75,000 and a certificate).

Agreements were signed for two donations to the museum on M.J. Cuenco Ave. in Tejero, Cebu City: a World War II-era Japanese machine gun donated by Mandaue City Assistant Prosecutor Bienvenido Mabanto Jr. and a Purple Heart medal once awarded to Pvt.

Uldarico Cabahug, also of Mandaue City.

The Cebu Media Gallery is a joint project of the Province and the Cebu Citizens’ Press Council. It features, among others, antique printing equipment and vintage cameras, radios and other broadcasting equipment.

“Puentes de España en las Islas Filipinas” is a joint project between the Province and the Embassy of Mexico. On loan from the University of Sto. Tomas, among others, are a set of photographs of old but still existing Spanish-era bridges. These will be housed in the Museo Sugbo for a few months—a fitting reminder of the need for bridges between the future and the past. (RRF)