The Augustinian Recollects inaugurate a history, art and ecology museum in the island of Negros
The Museo Recoleto de Negros was blessed and inaugurated last May 25 in the campus of the University of Negros Occidental- Recoletos (UNO-R), Bacolod. In the museum, there are artifacts from old churches and parish documents dating from the 18th, 19th and the early part of the 20th centuries. The Museo Recoleto is part of the Heritage Museum of Trees And its building has included two 20-year-old mahogany trees.
Negros is one of the islands of the Philippine archipelago with great Recollect influence. The Augustinian Recollects were the ones who have founded most of its towns, designed their road maps and introduced farming, making Negros as one of the economic promoters of the country. Many religious come from Negros and a good number of communities is found in this island: one of the four Recollect universities, one of the four formation houses of the Philippines and two of the eight parishes that the Order has in the Philippines.
In a detailed tour of the museum, the occurrence of Fernando Cuenca’s signature in many parish books stands out. Fr. Fernando Cuenca is an Augustinian Recollect considered to be the father of the sugarcane industry of the island of Negros and he has been the parish priest of Talisay for many years. It can also be seen in other documents that the present-day Bacolod was formerly called “Pueblo de Magsungay.” Or as Modesto Sa-onoy, a historian of Negros says: “Making use of the baptismal book, one can reconstruct his entire family tree.”
Patrimony and Ecology
Museo Recoleto de Negros is found within another museum called the Heritage Museum of Trees; a collection of Philippine indigenous trees of 25 different species, which before were very abundant in the islands and today are in danger of extinction, like the Tindalo, Molave and Kamagong.
This second museum of living species was built last May 23 by the efforts of the young students of the University. Each of these students committed to sponsor a tree. UNO-R had the support of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the major geothermal energy company of the country, which has committed to monitor the trees and to form their databank. The undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippine government, Marlu Mendoza, laid down the principles of this movement: “The trees are part of our faith, gifts of creation: let us nourish this gift, let us change our attitude, let us take care of the trees.”
Part of the Museo Recoleto includes a pair of 20-year-old Mahogany trees. Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem, in-charge of the museum, says: “We have not wanted to cut trees. What we want is to save them, as they are our patrimony .”
The preservation of those trees adds an ecological element, and shows how architecture and environmental protection can be integrated, beautifying the interior of the museum as well.
Jakosalem already had an experience of this, as he had received last April 23 the Padre Neri Satur ecology award from the Philippine government, “for his notable project within the field of sustainable building and energy conservation, that is, the chapel built in UNO-R with native material and elements that foment energy conservation.”
JANUARY 2011 · SPAIN. The Augustinian Recollects turn an 18th century cloister in Navarra into a free museum
NOVEMBER 2010 · SPAIN. The song festival brings together 400 young Augustinian Recollects committed to ecology
JULY 2010 · PHILIPPIN. Augustinian Recollects in Ecology and Care of the Environment and the Educational Apostolate