A (Half) Day at the Museum

My days in Manila are almost over. Fulfilling a promise and ticking  items out of this year’s bucket list would be wonderful, right?

 Explore National Museum (National Art Gallery)

  Have a photo taken with Spolarium on the background!

I called Martin to share this plan and he was thrilled with the idea. So there, we met on a hot Sunday morning. The adventure started in Pasay. We took the LRT as this is the best mode of transportation going to the museum. Alighted at Pedro Gil ’cause I wanted to eat some fried rice in Robinson’s Supermarket. From there, we continued our journey by foot to Mabini St. Hailed a jeep, paid minimum fare and asked Manong Driver to drop us at the museum.

(Alternatively, you can alight at the Central Station then take a jeep bound for Kalaw if you are not up for a long walk.)

I was in my a pair of short pants and was quite hesitant to go in. I feared dress codes that may be imposed by the museum management. I was like a “timang” peeping on the main entrance to check out the outfit of people inside. Luckily, a Caucasian in his muscle shirt and plaid shorts went in before us. What a relief, I’m safe!

Registration is a must before entering the galleries. Food and drinks and other bulky items can be deposited at the the registry. Cameras are allowed and even infants.

First impresssion: smells moldy and a bit poorly lit. I’m justifying that fact with another fact that the museum is a home of well-preserved art pieces that are over hundred years old. How about the lighting? Harsh light can cause damage to the art pieces. Fair enough. Lesh go!

In and out we go off with the galleries, things started to get exciting and interesting when we started seeing marterpieces of artists like Malang, Amorsolo, Juan Luna, and Botong Francisco.

Looking at the works of Juan Luna, passion for arts could be sensed just by looking at his pieces. He loves to travel and where he sets his feet he drew and painted. I wonder how he manage to transport his artwork from one place to another.

Being a fan of landscapes, I once again fell in love with the paintings of Amorsolo. As I go through the Amorsolo’s studies, Martin discussed how pencil sketches last long.

It is also a pride to personally see paintings that I used to see in my History books back in elementary. #BotongFrancisco #TheFirstMassInLimasawa #hehehe

One of the galleries also exhibits the original of Jose Rizal’S most famous portrait – the one in the old One Peso coin. I saw those eyebrows. Rizal Matches, familiar? I just can’t stand the smell. #ImSorryBuntisAko

We finished all the galleries but Spolarium could not be found. I remembered us skipping the first room near the entrance. We walked in and behind the white wall with a naked angel sculpture is the walah! The Spolarium!

It was a huge, huge painting. I first imagined it as a regular-sized one. It is secured with iron chains. If I recall it right, the Philippine government had to acquire back the painting from the Spanish government. Another curious question : How do they manage to transport it back to PH?

Oh, I also enjoyed the quick tour at the former Senate plenary. The sculptures on the walls and ceiling reminds me the Parthenon.

The museum tour lasted only for about 4 hours. Some sections were closed. I believe it was part of the preparation for the National Heritage Month in May.

Visiting the museum on a Sunday has an advantage – admission is free! Just come in a group of less than 10. There will be no curators during Sundays so you can take your own pace. Visit the National Museum soon and be in touched with your artistic side.

National Museum is located at P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila
Tuesdays-Sundays, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM



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