In celebration of Museums and Galleries Month, we explore the old, the contemporary, and the ‘Instagrammable’ creative hubs in the country.
BY GRACE BAUTISTA
Every October, artists are given the spotlight as the countrycelebrates Museums and Galleries Month. The fanfare whichcomes with celebrating our country’s culture, heritage, andthe creativity of its people draws art lovers in like moth to flameand also attracts new art enthusiasts.
This month encourages people to visit these silent structures thathouse local and international historical artifacts, modern works ofart, and creative, interactive pieces.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINESCity of ManilaFree admissionOpen on Tuesdays to Sundays (9 am to 12 nn, 1 to 6 pm)Constructed between 1918 and 1926, the National Museum ofFine Arts was formerly the Legislative Building. With toweringCorinthian columns and an imposing neoclassical façade, themuseum designed by Ralph Harrington Doane, Antonio MañalacToledo, and Juan Arellano was bombed during World War II andrebuilt in 1949. The House of Representatives eventually movedto the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City and theSenate transferred to the GSIS Building in Pasay City, officiallyturning over the structure to become the National Museum of thePhilippines in 1998.
To this day, the museum houses some of the finest works of artcreated by renowned Filipino artists. It has 29 galleries and variousexhitions featuring creations by National Artists, 19th Centurymasters, and contemporary artists. There are also some pieces onloan from various organizations, families, and governmentinstitutions. The compound is composed of three NationalMuseums—Fine Arts, Anthropology, and Natural History.
One of the first artworks that would capture your attention uponentering the National Museum is Juan Luna’s ‘Spoliarium.’ At 4.22meters tall and 7.7 meters long, it is considered the largest paintingin the Philippines. In 1884, it won the gold medal in the ExposiciónNacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain. Other prized pieces thatare worth more than a glimpse are Félix Resurrección Hidalgo’s ‘ElAsesinato del Gobernador Bustamante,’ Vicente Manansala’s ‘TheInternational Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Series,’ and Juan Luna’s‘Interieure d’un Café.’
Makati CityRegular rate is Php650, Discounted rate is Php350Open on Wednesdays to Sundays (10 am to 6 pm)Fernando Zobel first set out to launch the museum in April 1967.Eventually, the museum transferred to Makati Avenue in June 1974before moving once again to its current location in 2004. Theircollection is divided into six areas—archeological, historical,ethnographic, numismatics, ecclesiastical, and fine arts. Themuseum’s highlights include permanent exhibitions on indigenoustextiles, pre-colonial gold, and Asian tradeware ceramics.
THE MIND MUSEUM
Taguig CityFor three-hour visit: Adult rate is Php625, Child/Private SchoolStudent rate is Php475, Public School Student rate is Php190For all day pass: Rate is Php750Open on Fridays to Sundays (9 am to 6 pm)Spearheaded by the Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc., The MindMuseum was conceptualized in January 2007 and was set to be thecountry’s “first world-class home for science.” With contributionsfrom generous corporations and individuals, the museum was finallyopened in March 2012 with the mission “to initiate and bolsterscience engagement in elevating aspects of individual, community,and national life to inspire solutions to real-world problems.”The museum boasts 250 interactive exhibits, exploring sciencein a way that makes it fun for kids and adults alike. Their galleriesinclude: Atom Gallery, Life Gallery, Earth Gallery, Universe Gallery,and Technology Gallery.
PINTÔ ART MUSEUM
Antipolo City, RizalFor Adults, rate is Php250; For PWD & Senior Citizens, rate isPhp200; For Students, rate is Php125Open on Tuesdays to Sundays (10 am to 6 pm)Filipino neurologist and art patron Dr. Joven Cuanang founded themuseum in 2010 to house and showcase his vast art collection. He begancollecting and supporting local artists in the 1980s, during which he alsospearheaded an artist collective, Salingpusa.Today, the museum is open to the public and features works byAntonio Leaño, Mark Justiniani, Rodel Tapaya, Elmer Borlongan, JoyMallari, Marina Cruz, Jose John Santos III, Geraldine Javier, and more.Apart from the museum whose complex was designed by Leaño, visitorsare also encouraged to tour the two-hectare botanical garden, theSilangan Gardens.In 2017, Pintô International was founded in New York City tofurther boost Filipino artists in the international art scene. Since 2019,the organization has launched quarterly exhibitions and a monthly PintôSessions event. They also hold an artist residency program and by 2022,Pintô will open another permanent location in San Francisco, California.Dr. Cuanang, as Pintô International’s co-founder and president, isjoined by co-founder and director Luca Parolari and New Yorkco-director Elisa Carollo.
THE DESSERT MUSEUM
Pasay CityOnline rate is Php699 and Walk-in rate is Php799Open every day from Mondays to Sundays (10 am to 10 pm)Art has always been an escape from the ordinary and the samecould be said of this mouthwatering museum. The Dessert Museumfeatures eight interactive sweets-themed rooms that transport itsvisitors to a candy-colored wonderland.Included in the two-hour tour are four free desserts, not tomention the chance to take unlimited pictures and flood yourInstagram wall. Your visit will definitely be a treat for the eyes andstomach! And if the two hours aren’t enough, you can reserve theentire place for an exclusive birthday party, photoshoot, or even justa date. You may not be able to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory,but this is the next best thing.
When we visit these places,however, it is best to be remindedto always respect the artworks byappreciating them from a distance andrefraining from touching anythingunless it is specifically an interactivepiece. Visitors are also advised againstusing flashphotography and respecting fellowvisitors by remaining quiet and notrunning.Museums and galleries are safehavens for art lovers and those whoare simply curious. With their silentspaces and beautiful art works, theyare meant to be homes to anyone whocan find a connection within theirwalls. They are open all year long, butthis month is a welcome reminder forpeople to revisit their creative side.Whether you are an aesthete, an artconnoisseur, or a novice art enthusiast,these museums will always welcomeyou with open doors.