Historic Cebu bldg now a museum

The Gotiaco Building across Cebu City Hall now houses the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum. (PIA7) 

CEBU CITY, Feb. 27 (PIA) -- The historic Gotiaoco Building here, which stands out due to its majestic white facade across the Cebu City Hall, is finally back in the spotlight after years of restoration by the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum Foundation Inc. (SCHMFI). 

SCHMFI chose the said building to house the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum which will showcase the journey of the Cebuano Chinese as early as the 10th century or the pre-colonial Cebu, Sung and Ming Dynasty, eras with the Spanish and American rule up to the contemporary period.

The Gotiaoco Building is a 105-year old neoclassical structure believed to be the most modern of its time and one of the first buildings in Cebu to have an elevator.

It was built by a Chinese migrant, Manuel Gotianuy, in honor of his father, Don Pedro Gotianuy in 1914.

Atty. Augusto Go, one of the descendants of Pedro Gotiaoco and son of Manuel Gotianuy, turned over the property back to the Philippine national government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) after the lease of the property expired in 2013.

Through the facilitation of the National Museum of the Philippines, DENR signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Museum as administrator of the property.

One of the alleys inside the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum. (PIA7) 

For 25 years, the Gotiaoco Building will be used as a museum after the National Museum of the Philippines and SCHMFI inked a memorandum of agreement on Sept. 23, 2013.

Go said he is happy over the restoration of the building.

¨I believe that this is a uniting effort of all the community, we are  diverse cultural communities but we are one. This is the story of all of us," Go said.

Bob Gothong, chairman of SCHMFI, explained the restoration took long due to the series of consultations to restore the building the way it was back in 1914.

The phase of the restoration kicked off in July 2016  which lasted more than 29 month.

¨In effect, when you restore an original historic building to its original structure design, we need to be very specific on what materials to use," Gothong said.

It was discovered that construction materials used to construct the building were imports from Xiamen in China and Chinese workers also helped construct the building back then.

Gothong said they have been conscious on how to do the construction work while preserving the integrity of the building.

In its full operation, SCHMFI sees the museum will help stimulate dialogue among people of diverse cultural backgrounds. (fan/PIA7)

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