Did you know that May is the Philippines' National Heritage Month? Gabii sa Kabilin (GSK), or Night of Heritage, is an annual event of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) culture and heritage unit and its partners, in celebration of both National Heritage Month and International Museums Day, which is on May 18. The event features museums and other sites of historical and cultural significance, and its sixth run will be held on May 25, 2012, from 6 p.m. to 12 midnight.
From the targeted three thousand participants of Gabii sa Kabilin 2011, RAFI increased its target number to eleven thousand. Twenty-two attractions are included in this year's event, and seven of them are new participants, each marked with an asterisk in the list below:
- Ayala Center Cebu Cinema and The Terraces*
- Bank of the Philippine Islands Museum*
- College Assurance Plan (CAP) Theater*
- Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple*
- Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum*
- University of San Carlos Museum*
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints*
- Aboitizland Heritage Pocket
- Cathedral Museum
- Casa Gorordo Museum
- Cebu City Museum
- Cebu Normal University
- Fort San Pedro
- Mandaue City Plaza
- Museo Parian sa Sugbo
- Museo Sugbo
- Plaza Independencia
- Sacred Heart Parish Church
- Alternative Contemporary Arts Studio (ACAS)
- Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, through the Santo Niño de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation (SNAF)
- University of Southern Philippines Foundation Rizaliana Museum
- Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House
RAFI is not actually encouraging visitors to go to all twenty-two sites since the event is only six hours long. Visitors are asked to plot a reasonable number of sites where they want to go. The foundation will suggest some thematic lists of sites for visitors to consider. People who have been to Gabii sa Kabilin in previous years could also prioritize sites that they missed before.
Art fairs, cultural performances, exhibits, food markets, and interactive demonstrations are set up at the participating sites, for visitors to enjoy. Another difference from last year's run is that activities for children will be held at seven of the sites, namely Ayala Center Cebu, Cathedral Museum, Casa Gorordo Museum, Cebu City Museum, Cebu Normal University, Fort San Pedro, and Sacred Heart Parish Church. The children's activities include hat and basket weaving, children's storytelling, puso weaving, and lukay arts demonstration.
The chief of police said that the Cebu City Police is launching Oplan sa Gabii sa Kabilin for visitors' security. Police personnel will be deployed in the different participating sites and in the buses provided by RAFI. Barangay watchmen from the various locations of the participating sites will also help to maintain security and safety for the event.
The yearly event started in 2007, with just three museums in our city (Cathedral Museum, Casa Gorordo Museum, and Basilica del Santo Niño Museum) plus one heritage site, Fort San Pedro. In the southern part of Cebu, the towns of Argao and Sibonga also decided to launch their own Gabii sa Kabilin this May in partnership with RAFI. Cebu is the only place in the Philippines holding this event that's patterned after one that takes place in European museums.
RAFI's culture and heritage executive director said that Gabii sa Kabilin is intended to jump-start local interest in art and culture. RAFI is pointing out to visitors that Cebu City has places of interest beyond the beaches and major museums and that Cebu has other places worth visiting though they might be lesser known. The press conference for Gabii sa Kabilin 2012 was held on May 3, 2012, at Casa Gorordo Museum.
Meanwhile, RAFI has additional plans to launch a Web site featuring cultural sites in Cebu. It is tagging the different heritage sites and putting them on Google Maps. RAFI is working with some groups to put the necessary data online.
You may go to http://www.rafi.org.ph/event/2012gsktr/ to reserve your Gabii sa Kabilin tickets online, or you may call (032)418-7234 loc. 703 and look for May Sanchez. Starting May 10, 2012, tickets are sold at all participating sites, including the concierge at Ayala Center Cebu. At only Php150 each, the tickets will enable ticketholders to visit as many of the participating sites as they want to. Visitors will use Gabii sa Kabilin's designated buses and a tartanilla (horse-drawn carriage) to get from one site to another.
For detailed information on this year's Gabii sa Kabilin, its participating sites and their presentations, you may also check out www.rafi.org.ph and www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph because on May 10, the route for the tour will be made available for download. An event page on www.facebook.com/events/124149661053504/ was also created for Gabii sa Kabilin.