Ever since my childhood days, I have always been fascinated with art and history. One of my hobbies back then was drawing. Another one is reading. I love to draw the events I’ve experienced based on how I could recall them. Many times I did try to draw scenes in detail. Reading is also an important activity when I was young. My parents encouraged me to read and I did. It was a happy and productive childhood with lots of drawing sessions and book readings. So when I first heard of the National Museum having free entrance beginning July 1st, I took the chance.
I’m glad I did.
My journey to the National Museum started at around seven in the morning at Lucena Grand Central Terminal. It was a Sunday. July 10 to be exact. It was also a good day, sunny but not that humid. It was the perfect weather for that trip.
I went with my good friend Jessa. She’s a frequent traveler in Metro Manila and as someone who’s not used to the crazy urban jungle setting of Metro Manila, I was glad she went with me.
We rode the bus going to Taft/Buendia at around thirty past seven. It was a very comfortable ride filled with intriguing topics of conversation. We even got worried due to a social media post of how long lines filled the gates of the National Museum due to the free entrance. It intrigued people. The post was about the day before. We then prayed for the better and hoped for the lines to be shorter than that of what was posted on Facebook.
We arrived at Buendia by thirty past eleven. Since both of us were already starving, we decided to have our lunch. We crossed the over pass to go to KFC as McDonald’s was packed with people already.
After the scrumptious lunch, Jessa ordered an Uber to take us to National Museum. Minutes later, the car arrived and we found ourselves at the gates of National Museum. Our prayer was answered as the queue to enter the museum was short. Only a few people were allowed to enter at times so that the museum will not get crowded. We deposited our bags to the baggage counter, signed the visitor’s log and the visit began.
There were two buildings for the National Museum. The first one is dedicated for the Fine Arts while the second one is for Anthropology. The first building we went to is the building which houses fine arts: paintings, sculptures, and more.
The first floor houses the Juan Luna masterpiece Spoliarium. Being one of the most treasured piece of art by a Filipino artist, I was glad it‘s the first one to be seen by visitors. It previews the richness of the artistry of Pinoys. It’s very beautiful in real life.
The first to four floors house different galleries for different artists. Paintings by Fernando Amorsolo, Juan Luna, Jose T. Joya, and Ang Kiukok are displayed here for public viewing. Some of these works of art are either donated or loaned by their respective owners to the National Museum. So be very careful not to touch these gorgeous paintings!
On the first floor, sculptures by Guillermo Tolentino are showcased in one gallery. His works include busts of different past Presidents of the Philippines, heroes such as Jose Rizal, and normal Pinoys. The sculptures are in different sizes too from small to life size. Make sure to not knock them down!
There is also a gallery dedicated to Jose Rizal. Works such as paintings and sculptures with Rizal as the main subject, they’re there. The hallways of the museum are also filled with different types of art. So everywhere you look, there is art.
You can also see the old Senate Session Hall here.
The second building we went to houses the anthropology and archaeology divisions. There are lines of people too but they’re also short so we got in in no time. After bags are deposited and visitor’s log is signed, off we go.
The National Museum of the Filipino People, just like the National Museum of Fine Arts is divided into different galleries. Galleries such as the Manila 1600: Contacts with the West and Christianization, Manlilikha ng Bayan, Faith, Tradition and Place, Hibla ng Lahing Pilipino, and Baybayin are all here.
You can find the famous Manunggul Jar here along with the other valuable jars, porcelains, musical instruments by our Bangsamoro brothers, textiles from the different regions of the Philippines, rice varieties, and many more.
All in all, I did enjoy my visit to the National Museum. It’s something I’ve always wanted and I’m so glad that I got to experience it when I was given a chance. I’ve learned a lot from these museums even though the visit is very short.
There were closed galleries and incomplete exhibitions so maybe next time I’ll get to see everything the National Museum has to offer. So if you have an available time, don’t miss this chance to see all of the art produced by our fellow Pinoys and excavated from our country. The visit is going to be worth it!