I have been teaching Philippine History for three years now (one in each of the schools I have worked in), honestly I love teaching it and I have a deeper appreciation for the subject compared when it was taught back in high school. Ever since I started I always try to bring my students on field trips, be it to the local museum or national park and every time I go to the National Museum, Malacanan Palace or even Intramuros there’s something new and exciting for me to discover, however these places only tackled certain moments: propaganda and reform, the development of government, and Spanish culture and influences. It was only yesterday that I got to experience another important part of our country’s history: the Katipunan and Andres Bonifacio in the Museo ng Katipunan.
The museum, located at Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan, is a small two-floor building. The first floor is dedicated to busts of Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto and Gregoria De Jesus and a 10-minute audio video presentation of Andres Bonifacio and how the Katipunan came to be. From the onset I was impressed with the facilities of museum, it isn’t stuffy or dark but mellow and didn’t have that old smell or disrepair look about it. Plus, the AV production looked top-notched, I guess with the sudden surge of interest in Philippine history the NHCP is getting a big boost from local companies.
But if I was already wowed by the AVP, it was when we got to the second floor that things started getting interesting. The museum is arranged into 8 exhibits: the life of Bonifacio, the what the Tagalog should know, the Kartilya, the important personalities of the Katipunan, dioramas, the revolution in the Philippines, Emilio Jacinto and Oryang. The museum is large enough to accommodate around 30 people comfortably and the exhibits look well maintained.
As we moved along from exhibit to exhibit, artifacts and artworks are displayed prominently, from the all-famous bolos wielded by the Katipuneros to weird anting-antings, these were very interesting and warranted a closer look.
Like most museums there would be an interactive part, the push the button and light up relief map kind, and usually these things don’t work. The museum on the other hand pushes that by adding technology: hologram of a person reciting Andres Bonifacio’s “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa” and the most exciting part, augmented reality. My students entered a booth with a TV and a camera and pointed cards with an AR logo on it, depending on the card it would either display an info card or sounds with soldiers marching alongside you in the TV. It’s all so cool and it shows that certain steps are being taken to make museums relevant and interesting.
The Museo ng Katipunan was a fun experience, I went to the museum expecting to see an old, dark, and poorly maintained museum. I left with a sense of appreciation and admiration that our country’s Historical institute is doing something to make museum’s, whether big or small, relevant, exciting and interesting. I hope that in the future more and more museums become as interesting and properly maintained.
Museo ng Katipunan is located at Pinaglabanan Shrine, Corazon de Jesus Street. San Juan City.