Baguio has long been considered and is still without a doubt this country’s summer capital. There is no denying it’s cool weather, lush pine trees and wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. With the Panagbenga Festival fast approaching, the drove of tourists would no doubt be trekking up the mountains to partake in the annual flower festival. But more than just enjoying the flower festival and enjoying the breathtaking views of the mountain city, why not take a trek down another cultural road and visit the BenCab Museum. The museum is home to our national artist more formally known as Benedicto Cabrera, an artist of the visual and the fine arts.
The museum, being the home of BenCab also functions as his workshop. Oftentimes the site of his wonderful art pieces, but more than just being his home and his workshop, it is the also a shrine to the mysterious Sabel. For many years, Sabel has been the subject of BenCab’s paintings and works, as I toured around the museum, our guide never failed to point out or mention a Sabel painting. She would be in the tiles, a huge mosaic, among the crowd, and even in a different medium, but no doubt she was there.
Besides Sabel and her ignominious presence, there were other works to behold and see. Artists both past and present seem to have converged in this one museum, each work trying to catch your attention inviting you to stay for a little while and appreciate the workmanship of the art pieces. But more than just appreciating what our country’s artists have contributed, art and bulol pieces from the Igorots in Baguio hold a special place in the museum. An entire room dedicated to the preservation of the Igorot culture is put up for display; each bulol piece and Igorot artifact was explained and their significance added to what little knowledge I had of the Igorot people.
The tour ends when the guide led us to the museum’s gardens. With the weather fine and the morning still early, there was a lot of fog that made the place all the more magical (for lack of a better term). After having visited over two floors of art pieces, it was time to enjoy a cup of coffee, and what better way to have it in a museum. The ground/garden floor of the museum has a cafe named after BenCab’s inspiration, Sabel. In Cafe Sabel, you can enjoy a quick snack or have a hearty meal as you enjoy the sprawling gardens and the wonderful mountains of Baguio.
The BenCab Museum can be found at Km. 6, Asin Road in Baguio City.