Museumgoers or travelers just passing by Tarlac are in for a treat as Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) dusts off a portion of its vast collection of cultural artifacts for a “traveling exhibit” in the province.
Curated by Victor Estralla, the “Nayon sa Diwa: Bringing Cultural Communities Closer to the Heart” showcases over 200 rarely seen ethnographic items from various parts of the country.
These include priceless historical and cultural items from the Cordilleras, the Lumads of Mindanao, and the Muslims of Bangsamoro, among others.
The exhibit, the first of its kind the NPF staged outside Metro Manila, also highlights the works of Tarlac’s very own Abelling Aetas.
“It specifically aims to bring the ethnographic collection of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation to the people of Tarlac and the rest of Central Luzon as well as to encourage them to conserve our rich natural and cultural heritage,” Estralla said.
The curator also hoped this could spark critical discussions to inspire more Filipinos to reflect and become part of the “pursuit of our national identity”.
The traveling exhibit is one of Nayong Pilipino’s numerous initiatives to continue promoting Filipino culture and heritage in the absence of a permanent museum.
NPF Executive Director Gertie Duran-Batocabe said Tarlac makes for a perfect location given its title as the “beating heart of Luzon”.
“It is landlocked by four big provinces – Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Zambales. Because of this, Tarlac is considered to be the most multicultural of the provinces in the region for having a mixture of four different ethnic groups,” she said.
“As the beating heart of Luzon, Tarlac has always been a cradle of culture and heritage in the Philippines which provides a distinct experience for those visiting the area,” she added.
The exhibit was opened to the public on March 30 and will run until the last week of May at the Diwa ng Tarlac museum.
Just in time for the Lenten season, travelers may then opt for a side trip to the neo-gothic San Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac City.
The famous Monasterio de Tarlac, which houses a relic believed to be a fragment of the True Cross, upon which Jesus Christ was crucified, is also an hour away via private vehicle from the capital. (PNA)