Heritage Museum of Villa Escudero
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A mere inherited hobby of collecting artifacts is now a source of historical and cultural knowledge. And, this collection can also aid foreign tourists to get a glimpse of the Philippine culture and history.
As part of day tour activities, Villa Escudero (website) in Tiaong, Quezon Province allows the public to take a tour at their Museum, which houses a wide collection of religious and cultural artifacts. The wide collection was initially a private collection of Don Arsenio and Dona Rosario.
The private collection of artifacts is vast that it is composed of life-size religious statues, altars, rare items, and other artifacts that date back to the pre-colonial era in the Philippines. The rare collection also includes souvenir items that the couple got from their overseas travel. And, new items are added to the collection as the Escudero siblings continue to pursue the same hobby of collecting religious and cultural artifacts.
In this article, I’d like to share the list of artifacts that I find memorable and unique.
11. Baptismal Font of Lucban Church
You can find in the Heritage Museum the original Retablo Baptistery of Lucban Church. Lucban Church is only one of the many century-old Catholic Churches in Quezon Province. And, the Retablo Baptistery is believed to be the actual baptistery in which Hermano Pule was baptized.
Hermano Pule (sometimes, spelled as Hermano Puli) is a religious leader and a Filipino hero during the Spanish colonial period. Other artifacts related to his life story are also featured in the Heritage Museum.
10. Jesus’ Third fall
The Heritage Museum displays a wide variety of religious statues. This includes 14 Station of the Cross, which depicts the suffering and Death of Jesus Christ. But, what I find rare is the tableau of Jesus Christ’s Third Fall.
9. Carroza of Santo Entierro
The Carroza of Santo Entierro in the Heritage Museum surely doesn’t come unnoticeable. The Santo Entierro refers to the holy burial of Jesus Christ.
So, here, the statue that represents the dead body of Jesus Christ is found in the glass bier with “kamagong” frame. The bier is designed with angels, ornaments, and carvings. And, was originally housed and paraded in Sta. Cruz Church, Manila, way back before World War II. The sculpture and the carroza was made by the world-renowned Filipino artist, Isabelo Tampingco.
8. An Original Quiapo Altar
One of the main highlights of the Heritage Museum is the original Quiapo Altar. The original Quiapo Altar is made of silver with carvings. It was offered to the Escuderos for restoration since the Church head wants a new alter for the old church.
7. Design of San Francisco Church
From the outside, AERA ((Arsenio Escudero, Rosario Adap) Heritage Museum looks like a Catholic Church but is painted with pink color. The truth is that it is actually a replica of San Francisco Church built in Intramuros.
The original San Francisco Church was destroyed during the World War II. With the intention of having it reconstructed, Spain handed the blueprint design of the Church to the Marcos Administration. But, its reconstruction did not push through and Don Ado, then working with the Intramuros Administration, tried to memorize the blueprints and based the new AERA museum to its architecture.
6. Xian Terracotta Warriors
Aside from the local artifacts, the Heritage Museum displays the items which the Escudero Family acquired from different countries. One of these is a replica of the Xian Terracotta Warriors from China.
It is just incredible how Xian Terracotta Warriors are well-crafted and sturdy. They were created during the time of their first Emperor.
5. Carrozas or Parade Float
When you enter the Museum, you’ll be greeted by life-size religious statues on carrozas or parade floats. These life-size religious statues depict the highlights in the life of Jesus Christ.
The well-dressed characters and gilded carrozas do not only sit in the Museum the whole year. These are also often paraded in the streets within its vicinity every Good Friday, one of the most significant events in the Calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.
4. Mary, Mother of God
Among the life-size Santos or religious statues in the Heritage Museum is the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary made of wood. What makes this interesting is that while the body of the statue is a carved wood, its face is made of ivory.
Another statue of Mary, Mother of God that stood out is the one carrying a Sto. Nino or child Jesus. The image of Blessed Virgin Mary is dressed in a red cloak which has a gold rococo floral design. The image of the child Jesus is wearing a silver armor.
3. Carmelo and Batangas Rose Petal Miracles
The Heritage Museum exhibits the Rose petals with different religious imprints. They are believed to miraculously fall from the sky of Lipa, Batangas.
Another rose petal miracle is linked with Carmelo Cortez. He is believed to miraculously make religious characters appear on rose petals. He is also believed to be capable of healing sick people.
2. Kulaman Burial Jars
Many Philippine artifacts tell us a peek of the life of Filipinos even before the colonial era. This kind of artifacts, from the clothing of our ancestors, accessories up to burial jars can be found in this Museum.
But, the most interesting Philippine artifact is the Kulaman Burial Jars. Kulaman Burial Jars are those jars retrieved from Kulaman Plateau located in South Cotabato, Mindanao. Unlike most burial jars made of clay, Kulaman Burial Jar is made out of limestone.
1. Painting with New Testament
One of the rarest artworks in AERA Museum is the painting of Jesus Christ. In the painting, you can see ascending Jesus Christ with cherubs surrounding Him and a dove above Him. It looks like an ordinary painting. But, when you look closer you can read the New Testament of the Bible handwritten all over!