The Bontok Museum of Mountain Province

bontok museum
The Bontok Museum of Mountain Province | @aswangproject

The Bontok Museum of Mountain Province

I have been overjoyed with second my trip to the Mountain Province. I’ve been speaking with locals and learning lots about the lives of William Henry Scott (author of Barangay and many other seminal works on the prehispanic Philippines) and Eduardo Masferre (godfather of Philippine photography). I will write more on this in the future. In a last minute decision, I hopped on a jeepney from Sagada to Bontoc to check out The Bontok Museum. I am so glad I did.

The museum was established by Mother Basil Gekiere, a Belgian and Bontoc resident for 56 years. She began collecting artifacts in 1975 with the intention of opening a museum. She realized her dream in 1981, passing away just two years later. Many of the cultural items on display from the various ethnolinguistic groups were donated from private collections and showcased the diverse cultures and influential trade that happened throughout the region. Historical photographs and replicas also adorn the walls. Photos were not permitted inside the museum, but it is okay to photograph the mini Ifugao village in the back.

Before leaving I popped into the souvenir shop and WHOA! I was thrilled to discover a library of incredible titles available for the perusal of museum patrons (shown in photos). I was able to finally read sections of a few books that had since eluded me. They also have a gift shop with a small selection of hard-to-find books for sale. Needless to say, my backpack was much heavier on my return journey to Sagada.

Bontoc Village Museum is located within the Catholic ICM Sisters convent and the St. Vincent’s Elementary School. It is also run by the Belgian ICM missionaries who were very helpful by going through their stockroom to find more copies of certain titles.

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