First economic history museum in PHL opens in Iloilo

SENATOR Franklin Drilon, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairperson Dr. Rene Escalante and NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy, unveil the Historical Marker of Bahay Kalakal ng Ynchausti y Compania, which is now the Museum of the Philippine Economic History in Ortiz St., City Proper, Iloilo City on Feb. 11, 2019. Also present during the opening ceremonies are members of the Ynchausti Family. The restored built-heritage was also known as the former Elizalde Building, after the Elizaldes bought it from the Ynchaustis, and later on became the COA Building. (Ricky D. Alejo)

THE century-old Elizalde building located in Iloilo City’s Central Business District is now the country’s first ever museum on economic history.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon led the inauguration of the Museum of Philippine Economic History on Monday, together with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) officials led by its chairman Rene Escalante and executive director Ludovico Badoy.

Drilon described the museum as “the first of its kind” which provides a glimpse into the country’s colorful and lengthy economic history.

The Ilonggo senator said the selection of Iloilo as host to the first museum on economic history is befitting of Iloilo’s previous title as the Queen City of the South for its contribution to the industries and business that thrived in the country.

“I am proud of this heritage landmark and museum, showcasing the endurance, innovation and creativity of Filipino workers and enterprising businessmen and women to create a path towards self-sustainability and progress for the Philippines,” Drilon said.

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“Filipinos will enjoy this museum, not only as a learning hub of Philippine history, but also as a place that would inspire visitors, young and old, to venture their own path and willingly contribute to the Philippine economy,” he stressed.

The museum, according to Drilon, will provide a window to the past and “educate Filipinos of today and of the future generation about the economic history of the country and about the life of our forebears.”

On display are hundreds of artifacts, including old San Miguel beer bottles from the Ynchausti clan; molino de sangre, which was a very important tool during the peak of Western Visayas region’s sugar industry; looms from the oldest weavers of Miagao in Iloilo, which was known then as the Textile Capital of the Philippines.

The museum also showcases artifacts coming from other regions such as t’nalak from Mindanao and decades-old gold, necklace and other accessories from Pampanga; old photographs and maps, and other interesting remnants of the past.

The museum is housed at the historic and century-old Elizalde building, which was one of the centers of economic activity in Iloilo that shaped the economic vigor of the country since the Spanish colonial times.

It was formerly owned by one of the country’s biggest trading firms, the Ynchausti y Compania, of the Ynchausti family. The firm’s name was synonymous with its products like Yco Floor Wax, Yco Paints, Tanduay Rum, and Rizal Cement.

“Iloilo is poised to become the country’s center of culture and the arts,” the Ilonggo senator stated.

“All these initiatives will breathe new life into Iloilo’s growing economy and tourism. Because of these, I am certain that Iloilo could soon become the country’s center of culture and the arts,” said Drilon, referring to other restoration projects under the Iloilo Heritage and Urban Renewal Project, which he started five years ago.

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