Lydia Aznar-Alfonso its
founder belongs to the great men and women who dreamt of only one
thing---to collect and preserve; to record and teach.
Today she is in a position to realize this dream. To build a Museum
Complex that reaches out to people across the country with programs
of cultural and educational value.
A place where everyone, young and old, rich and poor, find inspiration
and meaning. A Museum that breaths life, where one is resuscitated,
where one built peoples dreams, where a great past comes alive to
inspire you to go beyond the ordinary and the mundane life.
Lydia Aznar-Alfonso has so much to share---treasures that
she has amassed through the years not only for herself but for all,
to the Cebuanos in particular as great legacy and to the Filipinos
and all peoples of the world in general.
Her Collections has earned credits in prestigious books and magazines
of Antiques and Artifacts, its rare and quality pieces has been
sought after. Starting in the late 1967, she acquired pieces from
collectors and those who sold her beginning collection then she
drove and pursued her passion for archaeology; did some readings
and observations and finally went into digging her own finds and
Successfully she unearthed prehistoric stone age implements; clay
potteries, burial jars and urns; wooden boat coffins in them were
trade beads, shell and gold jewelries, semi-precious stones and
other ceramic jars Oriental and Chinese in origin.
Of her clay potteries and other stone and iron-age implements; it
showed a superior prehistoric Cebuano Culture. A culture that has
been made extinct when another wave of traders came to Cebu's chore
bringing with them their 12-16th Century ceramics of the Chinese
Ming and Sung Dynasties, thus a collection of Oriental Art came
from China and neighboring countries in Asia.
It is interesting, not only for historians and scholars but for
all who seek their own Filipino identity to discover that each piece
of jewelry, clay pot or stone implement tells its own story.
Through its design, craftsmanship, artistic flair and the quality
of its gold, the artistry of the early Cebuanos in Prehistoric times
comes alive with a vibrant material legacy of a culture whose vision
of life and death is brougth alive by its golden earplugs most similar
to the modern day Bagobo tribesmen of Davao and Mindanao.
The Museum Collection proves to us that there is a strong link of
an extinct Cebuano indigenous heritage, and an extant indigenous
living heritage of the tribes of Mindanao, the Ethnographic heritage
that was of Rajah Humanay and Rajah Humabon comes to us vividly--the
Grand Visayan Pintados with its regal flair of artistic body tattoos
is seen replicated in their designs found in their clay potteries,
their gold jewelries and in many artifacts that they have left behind.
Cebu has remained to be a City of many Churches, it is known as
the Cradle of Christianity in the Philippines. The City takes pride
in six churches built during the Spanish period, a number second
only to that of Intramuros which has eleven before the 1946 bombing.
Up to the mid-nineteenth Century, the Catholic Church was the sole
patron of the arts and it was in the building of churches and many
liturgical arts that the creative energies of the Cebuanos where
Realizing that time was so short, Dr. Lydia Aznar-Alfonso likewise
tried to retrieve important religious relics that were found either
in decay or being looted---santos, or holy images of freestanding
sculptures or in relief, icons and religious paintings in wooden
panels. It must also be noted that Cebu as a province, is one of
the richest of the Visayas, which in l846 according to Jean Mallat,
had forty-one towns: the island of Bantayan, Siquijor, Dawis Bohol
and Camotes were under Cebu's jurisdiction.
This shows to prove why artifacts and other relics found in Cebu
and in the neighboring Visayan centers were similar, likewise the
architectural site of Bohol and Cebu churches were of similar directions
showing a distinct Muslim influence combined with the neo-classical
Baroque and Philippine folk elements.
These cultural legacy together with the carved Hispanic antique
furnitures at the turn of the century is preserved in the collection
as abridge linking the distant past of prehistoric Cebu and the
In recent times, she witnessed the awakening of the art movement
of Cebu from the 2nd generation group of Martino Abellana, Julian
Jumalon, Manuel Rodriquez, Alcoseba Sr., Tamayo, to the 3rd generation
group of Romulo Galicano, Sym, Boy and Jun Mendoza, Raje Palanca,
Subang, Kimsoy Yap, Gig de Pio, Manuel Panares, to the l970's group
of artist Boy Kiamko, Undo Alcoseba, Tony Vidal, Jet Floriendo and
the artists of the UP School of Fine Arts---Cuevas, Mojares, Pepito,
of the late l970's into the l980's of JV Villacin, Raymond Fernandez,
Karl Roque, and the new generation of artists of the l990's Anton
Quisumbing, Stella Ocampo among others. She being a partron, started
to document these periods with a collection you will find an inter
linkage ofthe extinct material culture of the prehistoric Cebuanos
and other Visayan Communities, the Chinese and Asian Ceramics with
the Hispanic Traditions at the turn of the Century and todays mainstream
contemporary art movement.
Aware of the awesome responsibilitiy of sharing this rich
cultural tradition not only to the scholars and those engage in
cultural work but also to the grassroots; Dr. Lydia Aznar-Alfonso
sets up a Museum Foundation to establish the following:
1. a University
Museum where an education component could set-up training programs
that will equip the museum practitioners with the knowhow and in-depth
understanding of what culture is.
2. a Preventive Conservation
Laboratory under the auspices of the National Museum where collectors
and other museums could ask for assistance in terms of conservation
3. a non-formal educational
offering, that will develop cultural awareness among the grassroots,
and a humanities program of art appreciation for housewives and
other art enthusiasts desiring to know more about art and culture.
4. a training program for docents,
museums lectures and tour guides for Cebu museum and galleries.
5. a museum complex in the
hills of Pardo where a theme park could be built around the collection
of indigenous Cebuano Artifacts. With indigeious tress Narra and
Molave, Bayong were wood sources not only for altars with money
and gold inlay but also for ship building of the Spanish Galleons.
6. a sculptural garden around
the park that could become a venue for living exhibitions of weaving,
basket-making, guitar making or even a food bazaar where torta,
hojaldres, or bibingka could be offered to tourists and students
groups; or the mounting of zarsuela, passion plays or even the pastores
of the Christmas season.
With many projects and other potentials, a Foundation will be set-up
to protect and ensure that a trust fund could protect this Lydia
Aznar-Alfonso Legacy, a vision that could only be made possible
if Cebuano Collectors. the NGO and the GO's will sit down to define
what it wants for Cebu in terms of Cultural Revival that could be
a partner for economic survival and development.