Familia Ruiz Memorabilia: A Mirror of the Past, a Vanguard for the Future


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

-Soren Kierkegaard

The Province of Sarangani is situated at the southernmost tip of the island of Mindanao. The Province is composed of seven municipalities and is separated into two by the Sarangani Bay.  To the west of the bay are the municipalities of Kiamba, Maasim, and Maitum. To the east are the municipalities of Malapatan, Glan, the landlocked municipality of Malungon, and the capital of the province; Alabel.

Noteworthy among the municipalities is Glan. The quaint and quiet town is famous for its white sand beaches, pristine waters, Spanish-era houses, and as the location of the annual Sarbay Festival.

But little do most tourists know, Glan has more than just its beaches to offer.

During Our suroy-suroy or trip to Glan, we stumbled into a small and quiet home of the Ruiz Family. Our guide was able to make arrangements ahead of time with the owner the home. What set it apart from the other houses in the town is because it was not just an ordinary house. It is also a museum.

The curator and the caretaker of the Museum is Mr. Benedicto Ruiz. He is 61 years old, and has lived in Glan all his life. When asked about who in their family settled in Glan, he replied “Akong lolo. Si Don Tranquilino Ruiz.” (My grandfather. Don Tranquilino Ruiz). “Gikan siya sa Cebu.” (He is from Cebu.). He continued to introduce to us the stories behind the art pieces and the artifacts his family owns.”Kining mga antiques, gikan ni sila sa Cebu ug Bohol”. (These antiques are from Cebu and Bohol.) Some of the artifacts are beer and wine bottles dating back to the 17th century. “Priceless ‘ni siya” (These are priceless).

As we continued to tour the museum, I was able to ask him the origins of the name of the municipality. “Gikan ang Glan sa g’lang. Sundang ba” (Glan comes from the word g’lang. or machete). He said while acting out the movements in using a machete. “Kaniadto man gud kay daghan kayo ug kahoy. Unya kinahanglan mugamit jud ka ug hait imohang sundang” (There were many trees before. So, you really need to have a sharp machete with you).

We spent almost an hour listening and still be fascinated by the stories he was telling us. As he went on, he lamented the fact that his family’s real ancestral house had been demolished years before. “Sayang kayo to”. He sighed.

As our time was almost up and we needed to take our lunch, we asked him if there were any paranormal activities surrounding their museum. “Naa sa may mangga. Gipatanggal gani nako ang dahon kay naay babae na natuluan ug laway sa Agta” (Yes, on the mango tree. I had the leaves removed because a woman experienced having saliva being dripped on her from above by an Agta or a supernatural being).

Finally, it was time to go. We bade our goodbyes to Mr. Ruiz, thanking him for spending his time and sharing with us the history of Glan, its tri-people, and its heritage.

I have come to recognize from talking with the old man that Glan isn’t all just the beach. Truly, if I may compare the museum experience from what I have already known about the town, I would say, the Ruiz family museum is a hidden diamond among the many pearls Glan has to offer.







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