On February 1, 2024, the National Museum of the Philippines held the soft opening of its component site museum at the Tabon Cave Complex and Lipuun Point in Quezon, Palawan. Gracing the event were Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates, Second District Representative Jose Alvarez, Quezon Mayor Joselito Ayala, the members of the provincial board, and other government officials from partner agencies.

In his welcome address, Director-General Jeremy Barns praised the local government of Palawan’s long-term partnership with the NMP and expressed his confidence that with the enduring collaboration, “we [will] continue to soar high in our efforts to preserve this cultural and natural landscape for generations to enjoy”.

The local government of Palawan responded with their words of gratitude with Gov. Socrates calling the museum “a huge investment that will help the tourism industry in Palawan and make us conscious of our heritage”. He conveyed the gratitude of the people of Palawan for the NMP’s dynamism in making the museum a reality. Mayor Ayala on the other hand recognized the collective efforts of the local and national governments in preserving the Tabon Cave Complex. He also reiterated the call for the people of Quezon to encourage visits to the site.

Meanwhile, UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (UNACOM) Secretary-General Dr. Ivan Henares updated everyone on the steps that are currently being undertaken for the nomination of the Tabon Cave Complex and all of Lipuun Point as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. He highlighted Tabon’s “outstanding universal value” and the enormous assistance of the NMP in the nomination process through its many years of continuing research on the site. 

To cap the program and to invite the audience to view the new exhibitions, Deputy Director-General for Museums Jorell Legaspi gave an overview of each gallery, weaving together the narratives which have been shaped by decades of research and NMP presence in Palawan.