From the Museo Diocesano de Malolos, participants of the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) caravan moved on to next room which houses the Museum of the Malolos Republic. Here, we were welcomed by Mr. Jose Ruel Paguiligan of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and curator of the Barasoain Church Historical Landmark.
The modernized museum, one of 22 museums throughout the country that the Aquino administration wanted upgraded into digitally-enhanced institutions in order to advance historical studies, was finished in 2012. It is a rich source of historical data, including documents and artifacts explaining how the Malolos Congress was put together on September 15, 1898.
With the magic of modern technology, learning history lesson is now more fun and interesting. The upgraded museum was jointly funded by the NHCP and the Provincial Government of Bulacan headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado.
It has five galleries, with the first two explaining the backdrop to the Malolos Congress to visitors. It boasts of interactive digital displays that allow students and other visitors to respond (however, it interacts only in Filipino) to a history quiz about the Philippine Revolution, making the presentation of history more interesting and, at the same time, more engaging.
It also includes an E-learning room (designed for students and equipped with 22 computers containing interactive lessons in Philippine history), research facilities and an audio-visual room. Permanent collections of the museum include the original carriage used by Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo during the opening of the Malolos Congress and reproductions of stereographic cards of the Philippine-American War.
Gallery 1, the ante room, presents a 7-minute video introducing the museum and the evolution of the idea of freedom and the struggle of Filipinos as a prologue. Gallery 2 traces the events leading to the establishment of the Malolos Congress namely the constitution of Biak-na-Bato, the proclamation of independence at Kawit, Cavite and the decrees of the revolutionary government headed by Gen. Aguinaldo.
Its two touch screen monitors display the historical overview of facts, from 1882 to 1899, and sources about the first Philippine Congress (headed by Pedro Paterno, it was convened on September 15, 1898 inside the Barasoain Church) and the events that preceded and followed it.
Gallery 3, at the main hall, and the smaller hall Gallery 4 focuses on Malolos, the Constitutional Congress; the Malolos Congress and the Constitution. Gallery 3 centers mostly on the downfall of the Spanish rule in the country and the succeeding events that led to the formation of the Constitución Política de la República Filipina.
It also offers a 7-minute light-and-sound presentation, with a diorama with life-size resin statues of the leading figures and prominent delegates of the Malolos Congress – a sitting Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic, flanked by key figures of the Malolos Congress. A pew, which is said to have been used during the actual convention of the revolutionary congress, can also be found in this particular exhibit.
In Gallery 4 is a list of the names of all the representatives who joined the Congress. There were 193 delegates, none of whom were paid for their work. Only 42 were elected while the rest were appointed. The gallery also has a bust of Don Felipe G. Calderon, who penned the Malolos Constitution.
Gallery 5 provides the epilogue and dwells on the theme—Defense of the Republic—by featuring how Filipinos went to war against a new colonizer, the United States of America to defend the republic and the freedom and sovereignty of the people.
Museum of the Malolos Republic: Barasoain Convent, Paseo del Congreso Road, Brgy. San Gabriel, Malolos City, Bulacan.