By Chito Chavez
The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) said on Saturday it has now opened to the public the country’s newest world-class museum that showcases the history and cultural heritage of the INC, the country’s largest homegrown church.
Speaking at the INC Central Headquarters in Quezon City, INC Auditor Glicerio Santos said the museum has interactive displays and exhibits that are at-par with the best museums around the globe.
He added the museum will also put on display the “history and cultural heritage of the Philippines’ largest homegrown church to give the public a better understanding of the roots of the INC and the church’s 105-year journey’’.
“The museum is open to everyone, not just INC members, because we believe that the museum’s exhibits have a beautiful story to tell—one that we want to share with all our countrymen,” said Santos.
The museum, which was launched last August 31, is housed in a five-story building, with a total area of 46,098.54 square meters.
It features historical and thematic exhibits, a children’s museum and timeline, mementos of INC First Executive Minister Felix Y. Manalo and his successors Eraño and Eduardo Manalo, as well as information about the history and milestones of the church.
Present at the museum’s inauguration were national and local government officials, led by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.
Also on hand were legislators such as Senators Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Ramon Revilla Jr., Grace Poe, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Aquilino Pimentel III, Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, and Sherwin Gatchalian. With them were members of the House of Representatives led by Majority Leader Rep. Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr.
Present during the event were Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano, Malabon City Mayor Antolin Oreta, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda Aguilar, and Navotas Mayor Toby Tiongco.
Museum Director True Santos-Matias said the development of the museum took years, “because we wanted to make sure that the museum would integrate the newest technology and innovations utilized in the world’s top museums.”
“All museums are treasure-troves of information, but the excellent ones stand out because they are really engaging and truly immersive. That is what we wanted to achieve here,” said Matias.
Matias added that the design elements and features of the museum incorporate native materials and nods to the church’s history.
She noted the facade of the building, for example, display the initials INC 1914, representing the year the church was established.
Matias noted the columns and hand railings, on the other hand, are covered with a special kind of rattan lamination called “Permacane,” which is wrapped manually strip-by-strip before being polished.
The building also features the newest technology to ensure the safety and convenience of visitors, such as walkalators and a state-of-the-art building management system that controls the building’s cooling, ventilation, lighting, electrical, pumps and tanks, system architectures, and door locks.
“The comfort and safety of our visitors were also taken into consideration when we built the museum. We want to make going around the museum as easy as possible, especially since we expect many guests to be senior citizens and children.”
Located along Central Avenue near the INC central temple, the museum is a non-profit cultural and educational institution owned and operated by the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, the socio-cultural and environmental arm of the religious organization.
The INC Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.