Philippine Economic History Museum
The museum highlights the colorful economic history of Iloilo. Prior to being called the Philippine Economic History Museum, the structure was known as the Commission on Audit building or Elizalde building. The impressive transformation is just one of the many restorations of heritage and cultural sites in the metro, made possible by former Senator Franklin Drilon. Drilon had the longest tenure in the senate, having served four consecutive terms from 1995 to 2007, and 2010 to 2022. The restoration was made possible when the Iloilo Heritage and Urban Renewal Project was formed. The project aims to protect and preserve Iloilo’s rich heritage and culture. The museum, the first of its kind, will highlight the economic history of the country and the local history of the Iloilo, as well as industries of Western Visayas. “This new and first-of-its-kind museum will offer a window to the past – to the country’s colorful economic history and how Iloilo earned the title the ‘Queen City of the South,” says Drilon said. The museum, administered by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), is housed in a hundred-year-old complex with its preserved architecture detailing the age of commerce and trade in Iloilo during the 18th to early 20th century. “Trade and commerce have been part of Filipino life even before recorded history. With vast natural resources, pre-colonial communities of what was to be the Philippine archipelago relied on these resources by consuming or trading them for sustenance and wealth. When the Spanish and American colonizers came and established the precursor to the modern economy, it shaped not only the Filipino way of life, but also shaped the identity and history of the nation,” an excerpt from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines website on the contribution of trade and commerce in the history of the country. The structure, built in the 1990s, was owned by one of the country’s biggest trading firms during the 18th century, the Ynchausti y Compania, of the Ynchausti family. The firm’s name was synonymous with its products like Yco Floor Wax, Yco Paints, Tanduay Rum, and Rizal Cement. By the late 1920s, Ynchausti y Compañia came under the management of the Elizalde family, who eventually acquired the firm and renamed it Elizalde y Compañia in 1936. In the 1980s, the building became the Commission on Audit’s regional office and was later on donated to the National Historical Institute and thus, became a museum. The Museum of Philippine Economic History showcases hundred decades-old artifacts and items on display, including old San Miguel beer bottles from the Ynchausti clan; molino de sangre, which was an important tool in the Western Visayas region’s sugar industry; decades-old gold, necklace and other accessories from Pampanga; looms from the oldest weavers of Miagao in Iloilo, then known as the Textile Capital of the Philippines; t’nalak from Mindanao; old photographs, maps, train wheels, plates; and many others. “The Museum of Philippine Economic History aims to share this rich narrative that is ours. Housed in the Ynchausti y Compañia building which was restored by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 2018, the museum showcases thirteen galleries with informative displays, artifacts and interactive features detailing the journey of the nation toward self-sustainability, innovation, and self-enterprise,” another excerpt from the NHCP website. The museum is just one of the must-visit museums in the province: Megaworld Corporation with its Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Arts, the National Museum with its Western Visayas Regional Museum in the old Iloilo Provincial Jail, and other existing museums Museo de Iloilo, Rosendo Mejica Museum, John B. Lacson Museum, and the Archdiocesan Museum. Moreover, the Iloilo Heritage and Urban Renewal Project also restored the old Iloilo Customs House, called Aduana; the Sunburst Park; and the Ker and Co. Building. The Museum of Philippine Economic History is located along JM Basa Street corner Ortiz Street in Iloilo City. For more information, visit www.nhcp.gov.ph or follow The Museum of Philippine Economic History on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mpehofficial/.