Along the busy street of Osmeña Boulevard and just nearby the Cebu Provincial Capitol, is a pre-World War II building—Rizal Memorial Library and Museum. The structure is named after the Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal, who fought for freedom through his writings during the Spanish colonial period.
The museum was opened to the public on March 16, 1992. The building has undergone renovation in the recent years. The edifice has its inherent charm and magnetism, as its prewar, neoclassical look stands out amidst the business establishments, restaurants, parlors and convenience stores that line the area.
The city public library is located at the ground level of the building, which keeps important and rare books on Cebu’s history and culture. The museum houses a collection of antiques, sculptures, furniture and woodcarvings donated by prominent Cebuano families. There are also several important archeological finds. As one strolls around the museum, one can find portraits of well-known Cebuano figures, floral and landscape artwork, and murals.
One can also marvel at the paintings and sculptures created by the finest artists of Cebu. The paintings illustrate authentic Cebuano customs and costumes, and give an idea of Cebu’s lifestyle during the 1500’s up to the Japanese occupation in the 1940’s. A spacious and elegant hall with stained glass windows occupies the third level. It is sometimes utilized as a performing arts hall for concerts and theater performances by Cebuano talents.
The Rizal Memorial Library and Museum serves to educate and give Cebuanos and tourists alike a look into the past. Indeed, a visit would immerse one into the local culture and also reignite the beauty and the gratitude of how far history has taken us, and those who made the difference.
The Rizal Memorial Museum and Cebu City Library is open from 8 a.m. to 12 n.n. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For inquiries please call (032) 253-1526. (update 10/25/11)