Cebu city was just recently honored by the Asean City of Culture and Arts as a City of Culture. To cap this momentous occassion, Cebu held a dinner at the newly renovated 74 year old Rizal Memorial Library and Musem. The Library and Museum has been through a long
renovation process of more than 4 years already, and has cost the city around 16 million pesos. But looking at the newly renovated Rizal Memorial Library and Museum, it was definitely worth the price and wait.
The Rizal Library and Museum, located at the famous Osmena Boulevard, at the heart of the City, is now a tripartite building: The ground floor is a library as intended, which houses 14,000 volumes of fiction and non-fiction books, journals and other publications.; the second floor houses a museum with historical paintings by contemporary artists like Celso Pepito, Sonia Yrastorza, Rudy Mañero, Mariano Vidal and Manuel Pañares. And the third floor is now the Sinulog Hall. Its old parquet floor in herring-bone pattern is gone, just as the probably older wide-plank flooring of the early days is gone. In its place is Brazilian Cherry or Jatoba, all spick and span.
The Rizal Library started contsruction in 1937 and was inaugurated on Dec. 30, 1938. All three of its floor spaces served as library areas. For the longest time, Cebu did not have a library building of its own until its pioneering librarian Flavia Suson-Muaña took it as her duty to give Cebu one. In her quest, she sought the help of Teodoro M. Kalaw, the director of the National Library, who spoke to Nolasco, a Cebu Councilor and Project Chariman of Cebu Carnival. Thus with their help, the architect they got was no less than Juan Arellano who is also credited to have done the Palladian Cebu Capitol Building.
After World war II , the lot that the Rizal Library and Museum occupied was donated by the Cebu Province to the City.The governor was then Emilio Osmeña and the city mayor was Tomas Osmeña. This eventually led to the creation of the the library’s museum component in 1992, which was set up on the third floor.
What to see
One of the historical places in Cebu City, the Rizal Memorial Library and Museum is definitely a must go for history buffs like myself. The city public library is located at the ground floor of the building. The library houses more than 14,000 books of different genres- this includes rare books and publication of Cebu's history and culture. The museum portion of the library houses different collections of antiques, paintings, and artificats.
Location: Osmena Boulevard
How to get there: Ride a taxi or a 500m walk from the Fuente Osmena Rotunda going towards the Capitol Building