In Activities Cagayan de Oro Misamis Oriental

Museum of Three Cultures: Knowing the Tri-People of Mindanao

Museum of Three Cultures, Cagayan de Oro City

My museum tour had me become a lady with a thing for culture and tradition. Even if only for a day, I have to say that visiting museum is an embracive way to enlighten thy curious mind.

As a Surigaonon who vowed to embrace Kagay-anon lifestyle, I made a self-imposed obligation to learn not only the “where-tos” and “how-tos” around the city, but to learn the past as well for me to grasp an idea of the place where I plan to settle. First off, I went to the Museum of Three Cultures… 

Museum of Three Cultures, Cagayan de Oro City

Museum of Three Cultures

Museum of Three Cultures, located inside Capitol University, Corrales Extension, was opened to the public in May of 2008 by Madame Laureana San Pedro Rosales.

The museum exhibits three division: Kasaysayan, Posaka Maranao, and Rawi; where Kasaysayan or History displays a collection of photographs of Cagayan de Misamis and Northern Mindanao. Furthermore, perfume containers used during the Hispanic era, material culture of different tribes in Northern Mindanao, Chinese porcelain and pottery excavated in Butuan can also be seen in this room. Posaka Maranao, on the other hand, exhibits the founder’s collection of antique Maranao brassware, jewelries, musical instruments, and other Maranao heirlooms which can be dated back to Chung Dynasty; while Rawi shows different masterpieces of local artists especially designed to promote craftsmanship of the exhibitors.

Part of learning history of the tri-people (Muslim,Christian, and Lumad) in Northern Mindanao found inside the facility, it’s also quiet fascinating to know the purpose behind Madame Rosales’ legacy which led to founding the Museum of Three Cultures…

In 1951, Madame Laureana San Pedro Rosales arrived in the Philippines. An educator with a strong drive to conserve the different lively cultures in Mindanao, she opts to teach in a small town in Butuan City then later transferred to Marawi City, where she and her husband built a small Islamic school.

Her dream to empower people across cultures and create unity in Mindanao led her to embark on a trip across Mindanao in order to convince the young women of the said archipelago to embrace the idea of attending school. Throughout the years, her resolve succeeded and through her educational programs, many of today’s women leaders in Mindanao have acknowledged her as their mentor.

In 1962 when Madame Rosales successfully established Iligan Capitol College, this became the foundation of an education system followed by the setup of other universities such as Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro, Bataan Heroes Memorial College, Lyceum of Iligan, and Capitol University Medical City in Cagayan de Oro. Through the years within this achievement, she was able to acquire numerous artifacts that encompasses and bridges the three distinct culture of Mindanao which to date have become an artistic representation of the whole archipelago that is housed inside Museum of Three Cultures.

When Museum of Three Cultures opened to public in 2008, it was already a member of the International Council of Museums based in Paris, the International Committee of Museums of Archeology and History, and the International Movement for a New Museology.

Museum of Three Cultures, Cagayan de Oro City

The experience...

I went inside Capitol University, have my bag checked by the guard and left my ID at the ‘concierge’ in exchange of visitor’s ID. As I made my way inside the museum, I was greeted with a large painting splayed on the wall. Well, somehow I thought this could be a way to direct the visitors towards the lobby.

I took some snaps afterwards I navigate my way to the lobby when my attention was caught by this art captioned as: not a free wall, but a work of art.

Museum of Three Cultures, Cagayan de Oro City

I know there are lots of incredible paintings out there, still, I am mesmerized whenever I see one that would really draw me into it. Maybe it matters on how you interpret or associate art with your emotions.

BTW, there are surely lot of things that I have learned inside especially the differentiation of tribes in Northern Mindanao. Add to the fact that I have also learned the material culture of the said groups (Muslim, Christian, and Lumad) which gave me an idea a to what their ligfestyle and culture was.


Overall, a day at the Museum of Three Cultures was indeed worth the visit because it provided me pieces of information regarding Cagayan de Oro and the tri-people of Northern Mindanao. To be honest, even if I had been to Aga Khan Museum in Marawi City where it provides detailed history of Muslim group, I can say that having Museum of Three Cultures in an urban area is a conscious effort to preserve culture and history easily available for us to study and teach for the next generations.


Photo processed by Janine Migallos.
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