Magsingal Branch Museum



Brief History

The Magsingal Museum in Ilocos Sur was formerly a convent of Spanish architecture built in 1676. Restored and transformed into a museum in October 1982, the Magsingal Museum showcases the material culture of Northern Luzon. A short distance from this museum is the P Burgos House, birthplace of Filipino priest patriot Fr. Jose Burgos. The P Burgos House was turned over to the National Museum in January 1989. It exhibits the collections depicting the cultural development of Vigan and the memorabilia of Fr. Burgos and his family. Some of the highlights of the collections are the priceless 14-piece Villanueva paintings depicting the famed Basi Revolt of 1807, some religious images, Vienna furniture and ' other period pieces and heirlooms, antique collections of ethnographic and archaeological objects revealing the colorful Ilocano past.

The branch museum is situated behind a centuries-old belfry that towers magnificently over the town of Magsingal, Ilocos Sur. Magsingal was founded by the Spanish colonizer, Capt. Juan de Salcedo, who worked for the conversion of the Itnegs, the first inhabitants of the place, to Christianity.

The museum was once the rectory of the parish priest and was built simultaneously with the church in 1676. Its strong foundation of bricks, lime and stone withstood disastrous calamities like fire, typhoons and earthquakes. The old rectory was converted into a school building during the early American regime. During the Japanese occupation, the museum served as an interment for the residents of Magsingal when a Japanese captain was murdered. In 1977, then Secretary of Education Juan Manuel directed the Division School Superintendent of Ilocos Sur to vacate the building and turn it into a museum that would house the antique collections and artifacts of Magsingal.

The Magsingal branch museum is among the first branch museums established to meet the Department of Education’s goal of establishing more local and regional museums all over the country. The museum stands on a 1,170 square meter lot donated by the municipality of Magsingal on October 6, 1986. It was formally opened to the public in October 1982.


Contemporary material culture of the Ilokano: pottery vessels in various forms and sizes; baskets; hanging flower vases; water containers; and a concrete potter’s wheel.

Indigenous material culture: fish traps and containers; agricultural implements such as harvesting knives and produce baskets; musical instruments made of bamboo; wooden bowls and plates; clothes made from sinamay, the famous Ilokano cloth made of pineapple fibers; religious items such as wooden rosaries and wooden icons.

Highlights of the Exhibit

Sugarcane crusher ‘dadapilanEextracts juice from sugarcane stalks that are fed to the crushers which are being turned by a carabao.

Tobacco dryer. On display is a miniature form of the structure where tobacco leaves are dried. It is known as ‘pugonEto the local people.

Concrete potter’s wheel is a very rare item used in making large pottery jars for salted fish. These jars are locally called ‘burnayE The potter’s wheel measures 105 cm in diameter.

Category/Type of Museum: Ethnographic

Location, Museum Hours & Contact No.

National Museum, Magsingal Branch, Magsingal, Ilocos Sur
Region I

By land. All buses on their way to the north such as Partas Trans, Maria de Leon, Dominion, Fariñas, etc. pass through the province. From Manila, it takes approximately eight hours to reach Magsingal which is about ten kilometers away from Vigan City. Ilocos Sur has no airports. The nearest airport is the Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte, approximately a two-hour trip from Magsingal.

Mondays-Fridays / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm;

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays by appointment

Contact Information:
ASBMD, National Museum Central Office; 527-4192


This page was last modified Monday, February 10, 2014
National Museum of the Philippines
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