An ethnographic museum is Baguio’s latest attraction

Text and photos by Erka Capili Inciong, BW Graphic Artist

MUSEO KORDILYERA, which opened on Jan. 31, is an addition to the must-visit sites in Baguio City.

An ethnographic museum is Baguio’s latest attraction
At the entrance of the museum, wooden statues of the Ifugao rice deity bul-ul welcome visitors. Rice is one of the most important commodities in Ifugao society, thus the bul-ul plays a major role in various rituals before, during and after the harvest season, as well as in other feasts and ceremonies.

Located within the University of the Philippines-Baguio (UPB), the minimalist design of the building is in itself quite an attraction.

Inside, the Museo Kordilyera–UPB Ethnographic Museum is a place where the visitor gets an understanding of a facet of Filipino culture which is still evolving, and comes to a deeper realization that there’s more to learn about our past in order to move forward. The museum’s goal is to help make people understand and respect the diverse culture and identity of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera and Northern Luzon.

An ethnographic museum is Baguio’s latest attraction

Of the museum’s three floors, only the reception level is above the ground. According to the UP Baguio Web site, the museum houses exhibition spaces for both its permanent collection and temporary exhibits, a visitor’s room, an audio-visual room, and a museum shop and café.

An ethnographic museum is Baguio’s latest attraction
The museum’s reception area. All day access to the museum costs P60.

An ethnographic museum is Baguio’s latest attraction
The Museo Kordilyera currently has three exhibits as an inaugural offering. One is on tattoos, known in the local language as batok. The exhibit is based on the extensive research of Prof. Analyn Salvador-Amores on the tattooing traditions of the Cordillera region, which is both an art and the use of body as an archive.

An ethnographic museum is Baguio’s latest attraction
One of the museum’s three current exhibits is Jules de Raedt: Life Works, Lived Worlds which displays the process and requirements of ethnographic research as pursued by the late Dr. Jules de Raedt, who conducted fieldwork among the Buaya people of Kalinga from 1964-1966. Dr. De Raedt taught anthropology at UP Baguio for many years.

An ethnographic museum is Baguio’s latest attraction
One of the museum’s three current exhibits is titled The Indigenous, In Flux: Reconfiguring the Ethnographic Photograph, featuring the documentation done by Prof. Roland Rabang of how “indigenous societies, as dynamic entities, are bound to their past but also firmly connected to the present,” according to the museum’s printed guide.

An ethnographic museum is Baguio’s latest attraction
Museo Kordilyera–UPB Ethnographic Museum

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