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IN MY EYES: The RSQ Museum, a forgotten treasure

By Edward B. Antonio

Vigan City’s living treasures made her as one of the modern 7 Wonder(s) Cities of the World.

Nobody can dispute that, fellas.

In fact, the inflow of both local and foreign tourists to Vigan in recent years has caused the building of lots of hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and souvenir shops.

Oh, the souvenir shops.

One souvenir shop even boasted to have sold souvenir shirts amounting to P200,000 a day!

What a life! What a money-colored life.

The hotels are full; the restaurant crews continuously serve the always-filled fastfood halls while the shopping malls rake in thousands of profits everyday.

Calle Crisologo is always full everyday while the dancing fountain continues to lure people who want to have an alternative, relaxing nightlife. “Empanadaans” are sprawled everywhere with the “uka-ukay” shops becoming alive along the corners of the public market from sunrise to sunset.

Such is the price of progress, fellas.

Such is the “wonder,” too, brought about as one of the 7 Wonder(s) Cities of the World!

Such is the wonder also of the sudden congestion of the roads, the heavy traffics and the lack of parking areas for tourists particularly in central attractions such as the Heritage Village, the shopping malls, the public market, the different museums, the fastfood areas and also in the areas around Plaza Burgos and Plaza Salcedo.

Another mall is constructed along Quezon Avenue and that will add to the congestion. When Ilocos Sur will host the 2018 Palarong Pambansa to be hosted by the Vigan and Ilocos Sur DepEd divisions, one could just imagine the pandemonium created by the influx of people in the city!

Well, this is a very big challenge posed to the city and provincial officials, after all, Vigan was able to contain these problems during the Miss Universe leg in the city.

Vigan’s living treasures have made what she is now.

But there is one golden treasure that the provincial government and the Municipality of San Juan (Ilocos Sur) need to look into. It is called the RSQ Museum in San Juan owned and managed by Roland S. Quilala, former president of the National Power Corporation (Napocor). It’s only a stone’s throw away from the national highway along the road going to Solotsolot.

Just last month, I happened to visit this museum, probably the best in the region, rivaling any of those museums in the province or even in the country!

The RSQ museum has more than 10 mini rooms with practically everything within the compound an image of living treasures with Quilala’s house a big museum itself!

A room showcases igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks millions of years old. There are lignites, fuel coals, limestones and multi-designed rocks 20 to 30 million years old. Also displayed is a meteorite rock which is one of the attractions of Room 1. Quilala said he acquired it in the Libyan Desert. In the adjacent room are indigenous Vietnamese pillows made of rattan, nothing of that in the Philippines.

Housed in another room is perhaps the oldest weaving loom I have ever seen. There is also a Physics Rooms where one can witness the metamorphosis of the television and other modern day appliances and gadgets. Just outside of this room is the traditional oven where the famous San Juan opia is made. There is also a bakery room where the bakery oven” has developed.” The ancient tools and gadgets used by man in making bread are stored here, one can really wonder how the first bakers worked for a living.

Another area shows the stages of the development of the drill, the yubo-yuban (blower), the calesa wheel and even the funeral carriage!

Also displayed is a 1957 Chevrolet adorned with different kinds of automobile rims from the 50s to date. There are also the “anawang” and a modified coffee maker-grinder that Quilala himself has designed. At the edge of his house are the earliest balloon bicycles while at the house sala could be seen different kinds of shells collected from the different sea shores in the world including a giant horn shell. There are scorpion shells, and other varieties such as lambis, conch, millipedes and harpago chibadro. There is also a hundred-year-old 6-seater dulang.

Their sink is made of a giant oyster shell while the interior walls are adorned with buri-trunk skins, so hard that it could hardly be nailed when dried. There are figurines of bamboo roots, bamboo organ that rival that of the Las Piñas bamboo organ, ancient furniture of Castilian culture, the earliest “kulintipay” windows, the earliest stereo types, a monophone, escritorio and a variety of canes. There are different kinds of stingray whips, an harp and the earliest turntables (when the plaka was used to play music).

Featured also are the evolution of the flat iron, the cooking stove, the kettle and the camera.

There is an Igorot house laden with all kinds of ancient materials which are collections that will amaze anyone. Some are Quilala’s collections from the different countries in the world and one is really amazed that they really exist!

There are a thousand and one artifacts that could be seen here, fellas, it could not be contained in one column.

If only the Municipality of San Juan and the provincial government could develop this further, we will have a most wonderful, worl-class museum our province could be proud of.

Do you think I am kidding, fellas? Visit it and be amazed.

No need to pay a penny — it’s free!#