Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Tacloban City. But I guess many of the city’s and neighboring towns’ residents have never seen what’s inside it. Sto. Niño Shrine, as what the locals usually call the place, is one of the several presidential rest houses built under the administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. It was specially built for his wife Imelda Romualdez Marcos who was raised in Tacloban City.
Sto. Niño Shrine is located along Real Street. From outside, it looks like just an ordinary mansion, but inside, it houses a chapel for the Leyte’s Patron Sto. Niño, several rooms with their own motifs, a grand ballroom, beautifully crafted furniture, and priceless artifacts, such as paintings, dioramas, religious relics, antique collections and ivory sculptures.
Truly, the former presidential mansion was a symbol of grandeur during the Marcos administration. But after the custody of the mansion was transferred to the national government through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), did it retain its splendor?
The museum was also damaged during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) on November 8, 2013. Thus, many of us are wondering and worrying about the present condition of this important tourist destination.
I believe that if the mansion and the priceless stuff in it are owned by the government, they are also owned by the people. They’re all part of the national legacy for the people. This makes every Taclobanon and all Filipinos be obliged to visit the place, see what’s inside it, and assess the current condition of our own heritage.
If you haven’t been inside Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum or if you’re wondering what happened to it after Super Typhoon Yolanda, here are 45 pictures that were taken on October 9, 2014 to give you an idea of what’s inside it now.
The mansion still has its magnificence. If it’s your first time to visit the place, you might be awed by what you will see inside. However, it’s already obvious that the heritage museum is not well preserved, as evidenced by decaying furniture, deteriorating walls, and not well conserved artifacts. I believe that the artifacts housed by the museum are priceless and must be maintained by the government. The whole structure must also be preserved as it’s one of the most important tourist destinations in the city.
Should you pay a visit at Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum?
If you’re a Filipino, especially if you’re a Taclobanon or a Leyteño, you must definitely visit the shrine and museum. There are still many other awe-inspiring and important things that my camera failed to capture, and I think you have to personally visit the place to see them with your own eyes.
Although the tangible properties of the place are deteriorating, the lessons of history and culture that the museum will teach you are absolutely valuable. Furthermore, the mansion might not last for long. Thus, you have to personally visit it before it’s gone. Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating about its fate. Anyway, I hope that the mansion will be preserved by our government. Remember that the mansion and the treasures inside it are legacies for the Filipino people. We have the right to see them, assess them, and protect them.