The Pila Museum in Pila, Laguna is housed in a Spanish-era school, the Escuela Pia. The museum can be found near the town plaza (a National Historical Landmark) and across the San Antonio de Padua Parish Church, built in the 1800s. The Pila Museum was established in 1994 through the efforts of the Pila Historical Society Foundation.
Artifacts inside Pila Museum
However, it was Mr. Manuel Elizalde and Esso Standard Philippines which provided the funds needed for the archaeological excavation focusing in the Laguna de Bay area, specifically in Talim Island, Rizal, and then in Pinagbayanan and Bagong Pook, Pila, Laguna from May to October 1967. These expeditions yielded very significant archaeological finds; according to the National Historical Institute, “…Pila…has been recognized as one of the country’s more important archaeological sites…”
The artifacts discovered in Pila such as jars, ceramic plates and jugs are associated with contact of the locals with Chinese traders from the 12th to 16thcenturies (Sung, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties). Laguna de Bay (Laguna Lake) was easily reached by foreign vessels carrying merchants and goods for trade especially during pre-Hispanic times. That’s why there’s a wealth of evidence of their trading activities during those ancient periods.
Among the particular items found in the archaeological sites in Pila were: “celadon dishes with fish motifs, celadon censers, qingbai and blue and white jarlets, small lead-glazed water droppers and teapots, qingbai double gourd vessels, large grey-glazed ewers, figurines of carabao with riders in plain and spotted qingbai, and brown wares of all sizes and shapes.”
Gold or copper earrings and iron and glass bracelets were also found. Mr. Elizalde generously donated 250-300 of these various items to the town of Pila, which were eventually transferred to the former Escuela Pia that is now known as the Pila Museum.
Some of the artifacts that can be seen inside Pila Museum are the following:
Brass flat iron with triangular cut-out design
Sung Dynasty jar and jarlet; Yuan-Ming Dynasty vase; Sung-Yuan Dynasty jarlet
Sung-Yuan Dynasty pouring vessel (brown stoneware)
Yuan Dynasty jarlet and pouring vessels
Sung Dynasty vase and Yuan-Ming Dynasty ewer
I just noticed that the museum is not air-conditioned; one would expect that important artifacts should be stored and displayed in a temperature-controlled environment. But then again, funds may not be sufficient to sustain this endeavour.
Inside Pila Museum, left side
The Pila Museum can be contacted at:
Burzagom Street, Pila, Laguna
Telephone number: +63(49)5590981