Saturday, February 28, 2015

National Museum of the Filipino People - Chronicles of a Nation Part 1

Life sometimes basks on irony.

Such is fact that I've seen all of the major museums in Southeast Asia and beyond, yet I've never visited my country's "National Museum of the Filipino People". In fact, I've seen Singapore, Vientiane and Maldive's museum twice. The idea that something "will always be there" is contributory to such glaring malpractice. But I've finally remedied this when I accompanied a foreign guest to see it.

Museum tends to lull a lot of people to ennui. After all, these are matters buried in the past, and most people prefer to "move on" and get preoccupied with the "now". But there's glory in the fact that "the past" invariably teaches us something more than just the passing of years. Nothing is lost. How else do we make a better future if we don't take note of the mistakes of the past? Won't we be committing the same mistakes over and over again?

Manila's "National Museum of the Filipino People" does not disappoint. In fact, the only other museum that approximates this collection in my side of Asia is Jakarta's national museum. This is why I can't seem to understand the countless negative reviews from sites like Trip Advisor. The collection is considerable, although I have to mention the fact that the "works of art" (paintings, sculptures, etc.) are housed in a separate "museum" (National Art Gallery) a few blocks from here. While Singapore's museum is a tad better at presenting their rather scanty collection (they employ an interplay of lights, movement, audio-visual, etc. so there's an interactive vibe), our museum tends to present static displays, i.e. traditional presentation.

Yes, the Philippines used to be a part of the huge land mass that included countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, but time eventually chipped it off and moved it southeastward to its own archipelagic mass. This separation has allowed us to acquire a national flavor that's quite distinct from its Asian neighbors. It has also made us vulnerable to siege and colonization: from the Spaniards, the Japanese, the Americans, the Dutch, the British, etc. Many of the paintings depict scenes from Spanish colonization. After all, they almost ruled over us with barbaric wonder for half a century.

This particular museum focuses on anthropology, archaeology and natural history. Depending on your interests, some sections tend to be more interesting than others. If you're predisposed to rock formations, animals, indigenous tribes, relics from ancient sites or shipwrecked galleons, the museum suffices.. Since the display is vast, we will spread our post into two parts. Part 2, which is more interesting, succeeds this post.

Sunday visits are free. Otherwise, a fee of PhP100 is collected at the entrance. No-flash photography is allowed inside. The museum is located in the vicinity of Intramuros and Luneta, along P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park. It's open daily except Mondays, from 10AM to 5PM.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

For more information, please visit their website here:

Part 2

Doctor Antonio de Morga, captain of the ship "San Diego". He wrote a book that detailed the sinking of the San Diego , published in Mexico in 1609.

I have fascination with hallways.

Anthropomorphic jar covers found in Ayub Cave in Pinul, Maitum, Saranggani. There are black and red paint on the head and neck.

Way out of the National Museum

You may want to check out the National Art Gallery as well:


Sherry Ellis said...

Looks like a nice museum! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

eye in the sky said...

My pleasure.