I love museums! It’s where you can get a glimpse of the place’s history and culture. Whenever I visit countries and cities, I’m sure to pass by some. Although I’ve been a long time visitor of Laoag, I should confess that it was just a few months ago that I was able to visit its Museo Ilocos Norte as well as its Taoid Museum, both a must visit for the serious Laoag visitor or tourist. The two museums are just beside each other, in a very accessible complex.
Museo Ilocos Norte
Housed at a beautiful heritage brick building that used to be the tabacalera warehouse during the Spanish colonial period, you can explore the exhibit that showcases Ilocano history and culture, their way of life. From agricultural artefacts, including the processes in tobacco farming and preparation, which the region is known for, to outfit to recent history. It’s not airconditioned but there are fans inside that keeps the temperature manageable.
But what makes this museum a must visit is its replica of a traditional affluent Ilocano bahay na bato house patterned after one of the old houses. It gives you a glimpse of life with its furnishings: the old furnitures and decors, dining setup, the kitchen and sleeping quarters. It’s an interesting abode before the advent of modern houses fitted with air conditioning.
Taoid: Museum of the Cordilleras in Ilocos Norte
Perhaps this is the more interesting of the two museums. Located just beside Museo Ilocos Norte, It’s a two level structure with better exhibits, important artefacts and information and its air conditioned. The purpose of this museum is to showcase the Cordillera culture and of its many tribes as well as to give the visitor an understanding of their way of life, rituals and cosmology. It also highlights the relationship of both the upland Cordillera with the lowland Ilocanos who are not only trading partners but stewards of this important geographic areas. Thus, Taoid is a term that refers to a shared heritage.
The visit to this museum was very enlightening. It was more educational and will make you appreciate the complex way of living of the various tribes of the Cordillera, their rituals and practices, governed by the environment and nature. The brutality of the headhunting culture as well as the role of animism in the day to day lives. But what is more intriguing for me is the death ritual which involves mummification which got me interested because of a lenten practice that I documented in Paete, Laguna before.
These two museums are a must visit and will surely enrich your understanding of the Ilocano and their geographic partners, the various tribes of the Cordilleras.
Museo Ilocos Norte & Taoid: Museum of the Cordillera in Ilocos Norte
V. Llanes, Laoag City