International Museum Day: Appreciating Philippine Culture and History through Manila Museums

When in Manila, one should do a museum tour! And because May 18 was International Museum Day, I did just that – visiting two of the must see museums in Manila: the Ayala Museum and the National Museum.


First stop was the National Museum located in the country’s capital: Manila. I’ve always noticed this tall, old building on my train (LRT 1) rides and so finally, I decided to visit. First thing I learned right off the bat is that the National Museum is actually divided into two sections: the first building is the National Museum and the second building, which could be found right across, is the National Arts Gallery.


What can be seen in the National Museum? Well,you’ve heard of sunken treasures before right? Hollywood movies such as Fool’s Gold and Into the Blue were movies about finding sunken treasures in the ocean. As history would tell, there’s a lot of Spanish galleons that got lost at sea and some of these galleons contained valuable trade items such as ceramics and gold. Now if you’ve ever doubted the existence of these so-called treasures, then prepare to be a believer because you can find some of these treasures, such as beautiful ceramic tea pots, plates and bowls, all on display in the National Museum. I was definitely amazed when I saw them on display. Imagine such precious items somewhere down in the vast waters of the Philippines!


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You can also see some of the ancient tools used by our ancestors. Something I found really interesting was the stone ear plugs. I can’t begin to imagine how putting these stone ear plugs in their ears felt like!


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Another display that caught my eyes when I was at the  National Museum was this cylindrical shaped wooden coffin. This was how the dead, during the pre-colonial times, were buried.


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And of course, for the art lovers out there, you should definitely go visit the National Arts Gallery of the Philippines. Here are some of my favorite paintings. I love the use of the colors in these paintings.


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And of course, when visiting the National Arts Gallery of the National Museum, you should not miss seeing the famous painting of Juan Luna, “The Spoliarium”.


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Both the National Museum and National Arts Gallery are huge! You might just get lost in those labyrinth type museums! I recommend that you do bring a friend with you to make your whole experience more fun. There is something for everyone in the National Museum.


When in Manila, you should definitely try to go on a museum tour. It’s a great experience to try! So visit National Museum at P.Burgos Ave., City of Manila. It’s open Tuesday – Friday from 10am – 5pm.