Built Heritage Tradition of the People’s Museum and Library of Bayombong in the Municipality of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya

In our #MuseumFromHome series, this week’s feature of our #BuiltTraditionThursday is the People’s Museum and Library of Bayombong, formerly the Old Provincial Capitol Building of the province of Nueva Vizcaya, an Important Cultural Property of the Municipality of Bayombong.

The structure that would come to be known as the People’s Museum and Library was built in 1906, burned in 1926 but was restored, and then rebuilt and renovated after World War II in 1945 to serve as the “Capitol Offices of Nueva Vizcaya”. The property also served to house several ancillary support facilities including Trial Courts, Fiscal Offices, and banking operations. The current structure remains that of the 1945 restoration, and it was adaptively reused from a Capitol Building into the People’s Museum and Library of Bayombong, when a new Capitol was built in 1993. 

A two-storey building, the Museum and Library is located on a lot measuring approximately 1400 square meters and having a building footprint of around 22.15 by 21.9 meters (485 square meters), the lot is bounded by Capt. Dela Cruz Street to the east, Sto. Domingo street to the north, and Burgos Street to the west. The building is also adjacent to several prominent landmarks, including the Children’s Park and the Cathedral of St. Dominic and its adjoining plaza. 

Though rebuilt well into and past the American colonial period in 1945, the Museum and Library building was restored in keeping with the Spanish colonial influence of its original design. Features such as massive brick walls, wood paneling, and capiz shell windows typical of Spanish era structures (particularly those of the bahay-na-bato) in the Philippines remain intact. In its current capacity, the property maintains a repository of artefacts and documents depicting the social, cultural, political, religious, military, and educational life of the Novo Vizcayanos; including but not limited to anthropological dioramas, local and ethnic products and methods, and archival records. 

In more recent history, due to the ever-present challenge of disaster risk management for heritage structures, the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya has initiated efforts for protection development programs and preventive maintenance for the People’s Museum and Library of Bayombong. This conscious effort was catalyzed by the onslaught of category-4 Typhoon Ulysses in November 2020, and spurned on by Typhoon Odette in December 2021. This development project promises the safeguarding of the Important Cultural Property through faithful restoration and modernization with respect for the structure’s-built heritage. 

Text and illustrations/photos by Ar. Armando Arciaga III, AABHD