By Marjorie Gorospe INQUIRER.net FILIPINOS are rich in culture and tradition. But will the future generation still remember them? Practices, such as the “Bayanihan,” which describes a community coming together to help out those in need, and traditional Filipino dances and games are almost forgotten. The Marikina government, however, has created doll museum to help Filpinos remember. Working with world-renowned fashion designers Patis Tesoro and Guia Gomez, the local government has created 46 dioramas that highlight the history of Marikina and Filipino culture as well. The Marikina dioramas that feature over 500 paper mache and resin dolls enclosed in glass. Dolly Borlongan, the museum’s curator said that the museum is a “walkthrough” of the earliest traditions of the Filipinos to the industrialization and urbanization of the country. "It is not bad that we grow as a nation along with modernization. But we should never forget how we started," she said. The museum also offers a glimpse of how Filipinos’ values are molded through traditions. The local government charges a minimal entrance fee of P25. For senior citizens and students of Marikina, it is free. For P25 pesos, you will be able to take a glimpse of our past through these dioramas made by our very own world class talents.
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(Photo: A wooden Belen made out of uprooted trees in UP Los Banos) By Marjorie Gorospe CHRISTMAS is often associated with lanterns, caroling and Christmas trees. But one of the more common symbols of Christmas is Jesus Christ’s nativity, which is portrayed through a Belen. While people only get to see Belens during the Christmas season, residents and visitors in Marikina can actually find this symbol all year round through a Belen Museum, which is open everyday except on holidays. The museum has a variety of Belens, which is owned by Carmen Carlos. Carlos started collecting Belens when she was still in high school in the 1950s. Since then, her collection has grown. She has paintings, dioramas and embroidery, which were given as gifts by close friends. “It is a symbol of hope,” says Dolly Borlongan, the museum’s curator. According to her, Mayor Lourdes Fernando opened the museum to let the people feel Christmas all year round. The mayor was the one who asked Carlos to house her collection in a museum. The Belen also reflects different cultures. The museum features an Igorot version of the Belen, a Belen from Nicaragua, China, Mexico, Germany, Russia, Peru and other foreign countries. The museum also houses a Belen from Jerusalem. Among the favorite Belens is the “Belen made of River Stones.” “Imagine from simple stones, it becomes a nativity scene. Simple yet unique,” says Borlongan. Some of the Belen highlight different materials used: Belen made out of Baguio’s pine trees; Bulacan’s leather; Angono’s crochet ; Romblon’s marble stones, resin, clay, ceramics, paper mache, tin and wax. “To those who want to experience Christmas in different ways, you may visit the museum and witness how different countries remembers the nativity,” Borlongan says.
By Marjorie Gorospe If you want to take a glimpse of the former first lady Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection, then you should drop by the Shoe Museum in Marikina City. Over 800 pairs of shoes are displayed, mostly owned by Imelda Marcos while she was First Lady and Governor of Metro Manila. There are also pairs of shoe coming from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Senator Manny Villar, Senator Panfilo Lacson and other current and former leaders of the country. “I ask them and sometimes request if they can donate a shoe to the museum,” says museum curator Dolly Borlongan. Borlongan recalls the contribution of Marcos to the shoe industry of Marikina, as she has always been the number one promoter of Marikina shoes, wearing them during special occasions. Known as the shoe capital of the Philippines, the Shoe Museum hopes to carry on the tradition and pride of the Marikeños. In 2002, Marikina shoemakers made world record when they created the largest shoes measuring 5.5 meters long, 2.25 meters wide and 1.83 meters high. Borlongan says he wanted to place gargantuan pair of shoes in the museum. However, there was little space to spare in the museum. So the giant shoes are resting at the Marikina River Banks Mall. During my visit to the museum, Borlongan granted my wish to see the giant shoes. When I saw it, I realized the museum represents Marikeños proud tradition.
By Marjorie Gorospe INQUIRER.net Do you ever feel belittled in a world of “big people?” If you do, maybe you can visit the Miniature Museum, a place where you can feel a bit “bigger.” Through patience and determination, Aleli Lourdes Salinas Vengua, an interior decorator, built miniature houses. She now has a total of 24 miniature rooms in glass cases, where you can find shadow boxes of a sari-sari store, an artist studio, frames of various items like animals, hats, cups, musical instruments. She also has built model houses with miniature interiors. Vengua’s passion for smaller things led her to artistry. When she passed away, her daughter, Lara Vengua, eventually lent her mother’s miniature collection to the Marikina City government for public viewing. “Along with her collection are the values which we try to impart to our visitors especially the young ones because this museum is a product of determination and a lot of patience plus artistry. If one really wants to achieve a dream, no matter how big or small—it is possible,” says Dolly Borlongan, musem curator during a quick tour of Vengua’s collection. Borlongan pointed that Vengua created miniature guitars, which required a lot of attention to details despite its size. She says miniature designers like Vengua often aim for perfection in their craft. As I was looking at the miniature collection, I saw a sign posted on the wall. It says, “View it and you are transported to a land of awe and wonderment. Observe the Lilliputian objects and you journey into the depths of complete artistry. Concentrate on the details and you can get a glimpse of the artist's soul.” I did see a glimpse of Vengua’s soul.