When in CDO: The City Museum (Water Tower)
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While strolling around the city of Golden of Friendship, a cylindrical building located beside the Archbishop’s Palace, fronting Gaston Park, will easily catch your attention. Your first reaction would be to wonder what it is, especially if you are not from Cagayan de Oro. Considered as the oldest structure in the city, this unique building is actually the City Museum of CDO. It showcases antiques, old photos, and memorabilia depicting the rich history and culture of the city.
Originally used as a water tank/reservoir for the municipality of the old Cagayan de Misamis, this infrastructure was constructed in 1921 when the water source of Cagayan de Oro was still coming from Malasag. In the late 1950s, NAWASA (National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority) took over the water system and stopped using the water tower. Thus, the cylindrical building was abandoned until then-Mayor Constantino Jaraula came up with the idea of renovating the tank and making it the city’s museum in 2008.
The water tower survived World War II bomb attacks and this paved the way for the city council to name it as the oldest structure standing in CDO.
From Water Tank to City Museum
Renovating the water tower into a museum was a tough job, but with perseverance and hard work, the dream became a reality. As it officially opened to the public in 2010, Jaraula planted a Mahogany tree across the museum to serve as a remembrance of the its opening. The restoration and conversion of the water tower by the city government was lauded by the National Museum of the Philippines for its “adaptive reuse of a heritage structure.”
Ever since it was opened to public, the city museum has become one of the tourist destinations here in Cagayan de Oro City, not just of the antiques and memorabilia it holds, but for the structure of the building, as well. Anyone who takes a good look at the tower will notice that it is leaning to right. For this reason, the water tower was nicknamed The Leaning Tower of Cagayan de Oro.
The water tower-turned-museum has three floors that showcase different antiques, memorabilia, and other artifacts & items that tell of interesting stories about Cagayan de Oro and its people. The ground level of the museum holds photos of Kagay-anon personalities who have contributed a lot in the history of the city and in making it become progressive. It also shows photos of well-known families in Cagayan de Oro. The second and third levels of the museum show photos of the important events that took place in the city; there’s even a photo of the construction of the Water Tower in 1921.
Antiques and memorabilia donated by well-known Kagay-anon families, paintings of local artists, and ethnic materials can also be found in the museum.
Preserving the City’s Proud History
The city of Cagayan de Oro has a lot of story to tell and the City Museum is the best preserver of this rich history. A progressive urban city in the country, CDO started as a beautiful and rural community that developed over the time. Preserving the city’s history and keeping it alive is important so that we can tell the future generations about the bravery and the devotion of Kagay-anons.
Located near the San Agustin Cathedral, the City Museum is open from Mondays to Fridays, 9:30am to 5pm; but is closed during legal holidays, Saturdays and Sundays. Everyone is encouraged to visit, so there is no entrance fee. It is managed by the city government, with assistance from the CDO Historical and Cultural Commission.
The City Museum is the best place to go if you wanted to educate yourself about the colorful history of Cagayan de Oro City.
(Photos by M FPoblete)