In a previous post, we’ve already featured some of the places where you can by Philippine products in Saudi Arabia. This time around, we’re going to talk about another PH-related matter: “Pinoy Museum on Wheels,” or simply “PMOW,” for short.
As the name says, Pinoy Museum on Wheels is a traveling museum that promotes Philippine history, culture, and arts. Created by Brian Ibrahim Mendoza, an OFW based in Saudi Arabia — the museum travels across the Kingdom, showcasing a wide collection of Philippine coins, banknotes, postal stamps, and other memorabilia.
Pinoy Museum on Wheels Features PH Culture and Heritage
According to Mendoza, he was inspired by the Embassy on Wheels, which visits Pinoy communities around the Kingdom, providing government services. Through an online correspondence with the Philippine News Agency, he said: “I came up with the idea to do a museum that travels to different places, same as the embassy.”
Opened on August 23, 2018, the museum was supposed to be a one-day exhibit only. Eventually, however, Mendoza decided to launch it as a mobile or “traveling museum.” Soon afterwards, his initiative gained the support of other Filipinos, as well as the Philippine Embassy, which was then under the leadership of Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Adnan V. Alonto.
A Passion for Collecting
Ever since he was in high school, Mendoza has always loved collecting various items — stamps, postcards, and unique stones from his home province, Oriental Mindoro. Over the years, he would travel to different places across the Philippines, collecting items and also participating in online auctions and biddings.
“My favorite pieces are Philippine money (banknotes and coins),” he stated. “It is quite challenging to collect, especially the guerilla notes during the Second World War.”
Aside from Philippine money, stamps, and postcards, Mendoza’s collection includes the following items:
- An antique clothes iron that was heated using coal;
- A Philippine-made “Lucky Plate,” a collectible item that used to be a freebie when you bought Safeguard soap during the 1980s;
- Traditional toys such as sungka, tirador, and holen (marbles);
- Traditional household items like bunot and palayok;
- Native Filipino jewellery and accessories; and
- Many, many more amazing and unique items!
Free Exhibits Across the Kingdom
The Pinoy Museum on Wheels holds exhibits in schools, malls, hotels, and during Philippine events in Saudi Arabia — for free! Mendoza said that all of the expenses come from his own pocket, although his friends often volunteer to help him set up the exhibits.
Meanwhile, some private individuals have contributed collectible items that were added to the museum’s growing collection.
A Multi-Awarded OFW
Mendoza, an architecture graduate, hails from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. He has been living and working in Dammam, Saudi Arabia for about 22 years now. Notably, he was the first Filipino to exhibit in the Cultural Palace of Saudi Arabia.
Thanks to his important role in promoting Philippine history and culture, Mendoza has gained several prestigious awards. Among these are the following: (a) Outstanding OFW Men 2020, Special Service Award for Exemplary Contribution to the Filipino People; (b) Dakilang Filipino Award 2022, Best OFW Advocate in Promoting History, Culture, and Arts; (c) Dangal ng Lahi Awards 2023, Natatanging Tagapagtaguyod ng Kultura at Sining; and (d) Gawad Pamana sa Sining at Kultura 2023, Visual Arts Category (Finalist).
Video: TFC News Features Pinoy Museum on Wheels
The Pinoy Museum on Wheels has gained the attention of local and international news outlets, as well. Here is a news feature about the traveling museum, as shared by TFC News’ Facebook page:
Follow “Pinoy Museum on Wheels” on Facebook
The mission of Pinoy Museum on Wheels is “to preserve and restore the historical items of past generations, and promote them to present Filipinos abroad.” To know more about the museum’s upcoming events, you can follow its official Facebook page.
Meanwhile, here is a social media post about the latest exhibit held by Pinoy Museum on Wheels, as shared on its Facebook page:
Some Final Thoughts
Old coins, banknotes, stamps, toys, and other items may seem trivial, but over time — they hold great value. They remind us of the richness of our past, and initiatives such as the Pinoy Museum on Wheels help preserve and showcase these items for the future.
If you are feeling a little nostalgic, or even homesick, for Philippine memorabilia, why not visit the latest Pinoy Museum on Wheels exhibit soon? In addition, here are some tips on how OFWs can deal with homesickness, even while staying in Saudi Arabia.