The establishment of the Santa Ana Ecclesiastical Heritage Museum was initiated by Msgr. Camilo Alia who created a Heritage Committee in 2017 to set up a repository for Barili’s cultural and religious relics and artifacts.
These include old statuary, liturgical articles, 19th century wind instruments, silver items, and even an old generator from England that lit up the church when there was yet no electricity in the town.
The museum’s most important treasure, however, involves ancient documents and manuscripts that date back to 1805 and are still readable, and its main objective is to keep them safe from termites, dampness, flooding, and theft.
Files from the 1700s had already been irretrievably lost.
To make the old parish books useful, the town had these translated from Spanish to English so they would serve as reference.
An official from the National Archives had identified Barili as the only place in the country where the inventory books of the past centuries can be read in English.
The translations make it possible for visitors to get acquainted with the treasures of the Santa Ana Parish and Diocesan Shrine back when it was acabeza del partido (head of a religious district) in southwestern Cebu soon after its founding in 1614.
Other exhibits include the memorabilia of Msgr. Cesar Alcoseba, a native son, who translated the Lord’s Prayer into the vernacular. It is now on display at the Church of the Pater Noster in Jerusalem.
He was also a member of the group who translated the Bible into the “Ang Maayong Balita.”. He edited the “Lungsoranon” for many years as well. Another memorabilia in the museum belongs to his uncle Padre Juan Alcoseba, who built the present church and started the Semana Santa processions in Barili.
The campanario or bell .tower is the Museum Annex and contains the larger-than-life statues of the 19thcentury Three Kings and three huge crucifixes that are taken out during Good Friday for the “Siete Palabras.”
The Museum may be visited by appointment through the Rectory Office. Admission is free but donations are welcome for maintenance expenses.