Galleria Taal 

The Taal volcano eruption forced historical museums in the heritage town of Taal to evacuate their valuable artifacts to a nearby museum for safekeeping.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) quickly moved artifacts from the Museo nina Marcela Marino at Felipe Agoncillo and Museo nina Leon at Galicano Apacible to the Museo ni Jose Rizal in Calamba days after Taal first spewed ash and steam.

Senior Shrine Curator Zarah Escueta said some of those evacuated were multi-million-peso paintings and portraits done by Fernando Amorsolo, some personal properties like combs, jewelry, jewelry box and even the “pamphlet” of the 1899 Constitution.

The NHCP’s materials research and conservation division head Rommel Aquino said the agency created a rescue team “primarily to retrieve important heritage objects housed” in the Apacible and Agoncillo museums.

“They survived hundreds of years, each with its own story to tell,” he said, adding “What we’ve done was risky, but future generations also deserve to hear these stories.”

Aquino pointed out that museum artifacts “bear stories and values important in the community and the national narrative.”

The team also assessed the museum structures, the first time NHCP performed this precautionary step after the eruption.

Last January 26, the NHCP said in its official Facebook Page that “With the alert level on the Taal Volcano lowered to 3, it is expected that our museums nearby — Museo nina Marcela Mariño at Felipe AgoncilloMuseo nina Leon at Galicano Apacible, and Museo ni Apolinario Mabini, Tanauan — will soon reopen after cleaning and checking.”  (Jojo Mangahis)