HISTORICAL. The Casa Real (royal house) situated in Lingayen town, Pangasinan stands proud following full restoration works that started in 2016. It will be a museum of the province of Pangasinan in the near future. (PNA photo by Hilda Austria)

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) turned over on Monday to the provincial government of Pangasinan the historical landmark in this town, the Casa Real (Royal House), after its full restoration. 
Casa Real, which was built during the Spanish regime in the Philippines, is a national historical landmark in the province, being the former seat of government during the Spanish regime in the country. 
In his speech during the turnover program, NHCP chairman Rene Escalante said the landmark was a witness to the rich, glorious, and even sad history of the town and the province.
Buhay na patotoo sa pag-unlad ng bayan. (It is a living proof of the town’s progress),” he said. 
Governor Amado Espino III said Casa Real, which will later on become a museum of Pangasinan, will enable Pangasinenses to appreciate history and it is also a way to give back to the next generation. 
“We are preparing the staff here on how to handle the items that will be placed here as well as the security details; the entry protocols for visitors, because we understand that the artifacts that will be housed here are fragile or sensitive and valuable,” he said.
Espino admitted that the provincial government will be needing funds to materialize the planned museum for the historical landmark. 
“Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat’s advice was very inspiring. She said we could seek the help of the different national government agencies concerned,” he added. 
Espino said they are also in coordination with Pangasinense artists for the artworks to be displayed in the planned museum. 
“We will also contact other museums if they have artworks and artifacts of Pangasinan, maybe they could donate it to the museum,” he said. 
He added that the planned museum is a new challenge since it is the first time the province will have its own museum at the Casa Real historical landmark. 
Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil thanked the NHCP, Department of Public Works and Highways, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the DOT, and the provincial government of Pangasinan for the restoration of the Casa Real. 
“This will be an additional tourism site in our town,” he said. 
The TIEZA funded PHP50 million for the Casa Real restoration, while the provincial government of Pangasinan shelled out PHP33 million for its refurbishment since 2016. (PNA)