I always love coming back to Manila. Though I’m just living in a nearby town, because of juggling between work schedules and being a mom, I only have a very limited time to roam and hop between cities (aside from going out of town for, again, work). So since we’re still in the first quarter of the year, I took advantage of my free time to revisit few classic parts of it including the National Museum of the Philippines.
Just before entering the building, I got really excited about the thought of seeing the Spoliarium face-to-face. I saw it already like once before, but the thrills of witnessing one of the famous artwork in the Philippines never gets old.
So really, thank you for finally realizing the worth of Filipinos’ knowledge about our culture is more valuable than the entrance fee of P150. Yes. Before the government decided to waive all admission fees to national museums, you would need to pay first from 75 to 150 pesos per head around the country. But now, you can enjoy taking pictures of our national treasures and drown yourself with cultural knowledge for free. And of course, in return, let us respect these places and love them as our own.
People visit the museum with various reasons, and the least you can do to make the most of everyone’s experience is to minimize your noise – avoid talking too loud, avoid unnecessary murmurs with your friends, avoid taking phone calls. We are also expected to stay classy and avoid horsing around the area. We do not want to interrupt others’ viewing.
These artworks are sooooo delicate and precious – they won’t take their time putting on an exhibit if they’re just ordinary artifacts. Even though the item is openly displayed – no marked lines, or no glasses or cages, keep your hands off them. I know those lovely textures are tempting to touch, but always remember, “fingerprints are forever”, you don’t want to ruin the history of art just to say “oh I got to touch it”, you’ll just sound kind of stupid.
Check with your museum’s website. Some of these kinds prepare particular exhibitions that allows and promotes interactions with art pieces, but NOT ALL. Unless promoted, default rule is DO NOT TOUCH THE ARTWORK.
Take just enough photos.
I loooove taking pictures, but I try not to spoil the people who are yet to witness the place first-hand. Sometimes, on the other hand, I limit taking pictures to experience the exhibit first. I’m sure you would get your best experience if you stop worrying about your pictures.
Follow instructions on flash photography.
Museums try to eliminate all natural light and usually use filters to help preserve the artwork and prevent damages they can obtain by light. That’s the reason why most of the museums are dim to dark and some have colored walls like that of the National Museum.
Do not lean on the walls.
You’ll notice most (if not all) of the walls in the museum are painted in one solid color, at least per room or exhibit. As mentioned earlier, some use it as filters to limit the lights. Another is to create a cohesive look with every object in the room. Imagine yourself taking a nice picture of an artwork perfectly framed in a hot red wall, then there’s that annoying dirt at the center of your photo. Avoid leaning on the walls, keep your feet off the walls, consider the walls as part of the exhibition.
The above-mentioned rules are for all museums and galleries in general. For more info on National Museum of the Philippines‘ updated guidelines, refer to their official Facebook Page.
The National Museum, in pursuance of its mandate of preserving and protecting National Cultural Treasures and important cultural properties of the nation, maintains a reference collection on the visual arts through the Arts Division. This entire art collection constitutes a large portion of the artistic patrimony of the nation and one of our legacies to the coming generations. Now totaling 1,032, the collection is composed of easel paintings, sculptures, icons, sketches and mixed media, and span the 18th century to the late 21st century. All are inventoried, accounted for and certified by the Commission on Audit. However, there are artworks in the collection that are still undergoing accession proceedings. The Division undertakes and supervises the periodic inspection and maintenance under the supervision of an art conservator. The visual art collection of the National Museum serves as a perpetual chronicle of the development of Philippine art and a showcase of the achievements and aspirations of Filipino visual artists. One can also refer to the collection for topics ranging from Philippine history and natural landscapes to social concerns and personal expressions. The 15 artworks featured in this handbook were chosen as a representative sample of the best artworks created by unknown artists of the 18th century, 19th century masters, national artists for the visual arts as well as the leading contemporary painters and sculptors. The uniqueness of the style, the prestige of the artist, and the significance of the artwork in the development of Philippine art are the primary criteria in the selection.
The Juan Luna Classics
Impy Pilapil’s Romblon Marbles
La Barca de Aqueronte
Works of Botong Francisco
Museum Hours are the same in all NM: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm, except for the National Planetarium, which opens at 8:30 am. LAST DAILY ADMISSION for viewers is at 4:30 pm. The only holidays on which are they closed to the public are on November 1, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday. NM buildings are closed every Monday for cleaning and maintenance. For exclusive visits and big groups of 20 and more, refer to their official Facebook Page.
For more information on National Museum of the Philippines, it’s branches, collections, and featured artists, visit their website: https://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/.
For updates follow their official Facebook page: National Museum of the Philippines.