Monday, September 9, 2013

The JRG Halad Museum, A Museum About Music

The first time I have heard of and visited the JRG Halad Museum, a museum "where Cebuano musical heritage comes alive" (the museum's tagline), was in 2012. But this museum has been around since 2010. I remember I wasn't hiding under a rock then, how come I did not know about it until 2012? Maybe I should go out more. And maybe you should, too.

Corner V Gullas St. and D Jakosalem St., Cebu City
(032) 268 2579
Tuesday to Saturday 9AM to 5PM
Monday by appointment

Admission fees:
Child/Student Php 10
Adult Php 20
Senior Citizen Free

Jeepneys that pass in front of the museum: 14D, 01K, 03A, 03L, 62B, 62C, 13B

"In this internet generation, we are being cloaked over and over with the trappings of modernity, and we are increasingly lost amidst interwoven foreign influences. There maybe no reversing or stopping this global trend but we must not entirely lose our own native identity, which defines who we essentially are." (An excerpt. Click photo to read entire passage.)

The museum is a tribute (halad is Cebuano for tribute) to Cebuano music. It tells about some Visayan music artists and Cebuano 20th century composers. What I liked best about this museum is that it has listening stations where you can listen to some old Cebuano music through modern means: a laptop or an mp3 player. Unfortunately, when I came to visit again two days ago, none of the mp3 players were charged :-(

Learn about Visayan artists and listen to their music

LP records of Pilita Corrales (left) and a listening station (right)

The museum also has phonographs, vinyl records, radios, and musical instruments on display. I didn't see any portable cassette players (you probably know this as the Walkman) and cassette tapes. Maybe I should donate my old cassette tapes. I know the children of today don't have any idea what cassette tapes are.

A working phonograph (left) and vinyl records (right)

An old–school phonograph (left) and a Balalaika, a Russian folk stringed instrument (right)

An accordion (left) and a Gusli, a Russian multi–stringed plucked instrument (right)

There is a door that opens to a stairwell. There is no sign that there's more to see upstairs, but explore it! Here you will find music-inspired art and some Philippine traditional musical instruments. Try your hand on the Maranao Kulintang Ensemble.

 Some traditional instruments (left), Kulintang (center), and music–inspired art (right)

There are other sections in the museum that are not related to music. One shows paintings depicting Cebuano life events. If you understand Cebuano, I urge you to read the Cebuano descriptions for each painting...I tried that and found there are so many Cebuano words that I have not heard of. My friends and I tried to guess what some of the words meant and checked if we got it correctly through the English description. (Yes, there is a description in English, I just want you to read the Cebuano one first!)

Paintings showing Cebuano life events

The JRG (Jose R. Gullas) Halad Museum is owned by the Gullas family, who also owns the University of the Visayas (UV) and The Freeman newspaper. The museum also has a small gallery that tells about Jose R. Gullas, The Freeman newspaper, and about the UV chorale.

After taking a bunch of photos, I spot this sign.
(Today, I found out through facebook that picture taking is allowed, just without flash.
Whew. Good thing the flash on my seven–year–old camera is broken.)


  1. I didn't see that "NO picture taking please" sign. Asa na nabutang?

    -the Laagholic

    1. No way, Bee! It was all over the place. lol

    2. Suggestion ra siguro to ang "no picture taking please" :)) Wala man sad sila namadlong diba? Hehehe

    3. Mike, seriously haven't seen any. Humay gulay!

      Laagholic Buyog

  2. lol they should've made the sign more visible!

    magsige man ko agi diri and i thought this was a place of worship (because of "halad" hehe). imma check it out tomorrow. :)

    1. Hahahah a place of worship! bitaw noh! :D I hope nakacharge na ang iPods when you go hahaha :D

  3. the museum features traditional music but you can listen to it through laptops or mp3. how cool is that?! hehe i dont know if i even make sense. i love vinyl records, are they still working? hehehe

    1. Hi Rea. Yes, there is a working phonograph, but I don't think they play it daily. You can probably ask the staff to turn it on :-)

  4. wow ......... this is really great .......... update please ..........

    M - thank you for your site, make my Cebu visit less of a headache now. i can just go through your experience and pick and choose sites rather than being all over the net, searching, searching ........... and going nowhere ..........

    really good site........ here one happy camper for you! L

    1. Thank you, L. I am glad this site has been of service to you :) If you have questions, drop me a line at There are still so many places to see in Cebu that I haven't featured in the blog.

    2. thank you .......... i really appreciate that. i got your blog book marked BTW.

      I would especially like to read more write ups on Balamban. i hear its an interesting area to visit and much cooler.

      Cheers! L

    3. Unfortunately I haven't any updates on Balamban town itself. I think the last time I was there was 10 or more years ago. The drive along Transcentral highway (from Nivel Hills Lahug to Balamban) is nice though, and you can stop for sweet corn, and maybe buy vegetables and flowers along the way :D You can also stop by these places along the way: Mountain View, Lantaw Restaurant (Busay), Temple of Leah (construction still ongoing but open to the public), Tops, Rancho Cancio (book a night or two in this private resthouse, advance booking needed), Canso X, West 35. Of these, I have only featured Tops and Canso X in the blog, but I have been to the others except Temple of Leah (only saw it from Lantaw hehe) and West 35.

    4. And thank you very much for bookmarking the blog :) Much appreciated!!

  5. Student kos UV pero 20 ang gipa bayad namu. LOL

    1. Ni increase na siguro...(2013 pa ni na blogpost haha). Naka charge na ilang mga MP3 players?? Last nakong adto (years and years ago) kay empty batt man tanan ila players :-(