Museyo Kutawato, the Philippines

    

Almost four years in the making, a multi-cultural curatorial team collaborated to conceptualise Museyo Kutawato’s exhibition narrative. It tells the story of the peoples of the only province that retained the original name of the vast Cotabato (the 1914-era Empire Province, as some refer to it) prior to its division into five provinces. Private citizens, rich and poor, from Moro, Indigenous Peoples, and settler communities then actively shared to build the museum’s primary collection.

The museum reckons Cotabato’s history from the days of Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat (1581-1671), who opened Mindanao to the flourishing East Southeast Asian trade of his time, when European cartographers knew his royal capital at Simuay as, simply, Mindanao town, distinct from Mindanao the island.

It celebrates Cotabato as the cradle of a lush cultural multiplicity, home to twenty-six ethnolinguistic groups, the most culturally diverse zone of Mindanao. The lifeworld of its people through history’s passage manifests a distinctive multiculturalism, even when its connectivity had been tested in manifold ways. Museyo Kutawato is a portrait of cultural goodwill as its people’s very crucible seasoned by the trials of history.

The name Museyo Kutawato is deliberate – the Filipinized rendition of “museo”, and the pre-colonial name Kutawato, the old fort of stone that was the genesis of the province’s name. In the Magindanaw language, wato is stone. It is the museum’s methodical aspiration that peace is its building stone.

Permanent collections:

  • Ethnographic materials of the Cotabato people
  • Historical objects, archival documents and maps of Cotabato history
  • Archaeological objects found in Cotabato
  • Festival objects of contemporary Cotabato

View all Asia-Europe Museum Network (ASEMUS) members in the Philippines

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