Museum of Three Cultures – Cagayan de Oro City

During our first day in Cagayan de Oro City, my friend and our gracious host Lot showed me and Tina the Museum of Three Cultures which is located inside the Capitol University of Cagayan de Oro. The museum and the University was founded by Lot's late grandmother, Madame Laureana San Pedro Rosales who first arrived in Mindanao in 1951. An educator gifted with a heart keen for helping others and a drive to conserve the different lively cultures in Mindanao, Madame Laureana San Pedro Rosales first taught at a small school in Butuan City before expanding into Marawi where, together with her husband - she founded a small Islamic school.


Founding schools in a far-flung place in Mindanao was just a part of Madame Rosales' dreams of empowering people across cultures and creating a unity of sort in Mindanao, afterward she embarked on a trip across Mindanao convincing the young women of Mindanao to embrace the idea of attending a school and to attain for themselves an education needed to empower women across cultures, religion and social class. Throughout the years, her resolve succeeded and through her educational programs, many of today's women leaders from Mindanao has acknowledged her as their mentor.


In 1962, Madame Rosales established the Iligan Capitol College which became the foundation of an education system that will further set up a number of other schools and universities in the Philippines such as the aforementioned Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City, Bataan Heroes Memorial College and Lyceum of Iligan among others which also include the Capitol University Medical City - a high tech medical facility in Cagayan de Oro City.


It was at this monumental achievement which spanned many years and decades that Madame Rosales was able to collect numerous artifacts that encompasses and bridges the three distinct cultures of the Mindanao region. These are the Muslims, the Christians and the Lumads. The Museum of Three Cultures houses all of these various artifacts from these wonderful cultural and artistic representation of the whole of Mindanao.


The museum first opened to the public in May 2008 and is already a member of the International Council of Museums based in Paris, the International Committee of Museums of Archaeology and History, and the International Movement for a New Museology.


The Museum of Three Cultures showcases a collection of rare antiques from the Manobo and Higaunon cultures, archeological digs found in Butuan, jewelry, wooden crafts, furniture, musical instruments, weapons  as well as a vast collection of Christian lowland artifacts and Lumad arts and crafts.


A section of the museum shows visual aids composed of photographs, slideshows, Spanish era documents and other memorabilia that represents a large historical archive of Mindanao. 




It was a great gesture from Lot to introduce me and Tina to her late grandmother's lifelong quest to spread education and the preservation of heritage and culture among the people in Mindanao regardless of religious upbringing and bloodlines. Madame Rosales as I remember from Lot, passed away less than two years ago, but I'm pretty sure that her legacy among the people she helped and the educational and medical institutions she founded will serve more people in the coming years.

The Museum of Three Cultures is a nice starting point for anyone like me who'd find the history of Mindanao and its rich heritage as something to further study upon. So if you find yourself within Cagayan de Oro City, make sure to drop by at this museum which is open to public on weekdays except on Mondays.