The perpetuation of the memory of a tragic event is an interesting impetus for establishing a museum. However, it is from where the intent for converting the imposing, century-old family mansion of the Crisologos into a museum started. Floro S. Crisologo was the patriarch of the clan and a congressman known for being responsible for landmark legislations that not only benefited his constituents but the whole country as well. He authored the laws behind the creation of the North’s first state university, the University of Northern Philippines, and the establishment of the Social Security System, which serves the whole working populace to this day.
On a Sunday in October 1970, while he was inside the St. Paul’s Cathedral, Congressman Crisologo was shot in the head by a still unidentified gunman. Survived by his children and wife, Carmeling Crisologo, the family announced that they will not take any action to exact revenge. Although, they made sure that the life and death of their patriarch will not be forgotten through the establishment of the Crisologo museum. Floro Crisologo’s murder during that bloody period in Philippine politics remains unsolved to this day.
The mansion of the Crisologos is open for public viewing throughout the week. Visitors may find it in Vigan’s Liberation Boulevard. One may enter for free the museum and view the antiques, memorabilia and other prized possessions of the Crisologos steeped with history. Starting with the displays in the first floor, visitors will find an antique calesa that is still being used as film props and as a wedding carriage. There is also an old car where Floro Crisologo’s wife survived an attempt on her life while she was pregnant and serving as governor of the province. Her child was given the name of bullet because of that incident. The first floor also houses the library and study, where visitors can view the book collection and numerous news clippings about this political family, especially about their patriarch’s death. There is a central exhibit in the house that shows the bloodied clothing of the late congressman.
The museum is managed by the Crisologo family and is well-maintained. This is evident in the polished floors of the second floor as well as the well-kept details of the various rooms. One may enter the master’s bedroom and view private possessions and clothing as if one just intruded into an everyday scene and a member of the family might catch you looking at any time. It is interesting to know that before he was killed, the congressman was in the process of having a bill approved to abolish the death penalty because he believed that death was not the solution to stopping crime.