I must go to a museum when I travel. Fellow travelers often tell me that museums are boring. Well, there are boring museums like the National Museum of Myanmar in Yangon but that one was already justified because Myanmar’s real museum is outside their actual museum. There are those extreme museums like the one in Hiroshima and Hanoi which I find depressing because of their war and post-war feels. But one of my favorite museums which balanced the boring-depressing adjective was our very own National Museum located in Ermita, Manila.
Here are the 3 reasons why I love this museum:
- It is free! My first visit was during the Museum month in 2015 when the entrance fee was free of charge. Last July 1, 2016, the Philippine Government permanently waived the entrance fee to the Museum from its original fee of Php 50 for students and Php 150 for adults. So there’s no reason for a young Filipino in and near Manila to not visit this museum.
- The energy of the artists and the artworks. I go to this museum to find new perspectives, to get inspired, and to attract and feel the energies of our artists and heroes through their artworks–from Juan Luna, Jose Rizal to Vicente Manansala, Abdulmari Imao and to the rest of the genius gang. One does not need to know a lot about art to appreciate the galleries but I am sure that your creativity will flow, just like how I created this blog a couple of days after the visit. You will realize that the featured artists started somewhere.
- Revisiting is sweeter than your last visit. One cannot really finish the whole gallery in one day. It requires plenty of revisits to feel the spirit of the museum. First visits usually were just a scan of the whole place, selfies with the artworks and chat with your friends how beautiful the artworks were and to check out on other museum goers. Second visits will help you realize that the draft sketches of Juan Luna were way better than your own masterpieces, that the world was unfair because of the artistic skills of Jose Rizal and that you were not doing anything valuable in your mid-20s. Third visits and visits after that will silence you. It will amaze you spiritually and you will still realize that you need to do something about your life.
Renzo Piano, an Italian Engineer and Architect once said, “A museum is a place where one should lose one’s head”. And I agree!
Last week, during the Arts Month Celebration, I had the chance to visit the museum again. Here are my favorite articles in the Museum:
“Diwata” by Guillermo E. Tolentino, circa 1950s, reinforced concrete.
“Nude in a Mannerist Style” by Isabelo Tampinco, circa 1920-1930, concrete.
“La Nina Maria” by an Unknown Artist, undated, wood.
“Virgin and Child” by Isabelo Tampinco, circa 1920-1930, concrete.
“Sirena” by Agustin Goy, 1982, oil on canvass.
“A Tragic Lesson (The Fall of Bataan)” by Gene Cabrera,1957, oil on canvass
“Jade Carrier” by Solomon Saprid, 1989, bronze and jade.
“Portrait of a Lady (Unfinished)” by Fernando Amorsolo, circa 1972, oil on canvass.
“Paris” by Emilio Aguilar Cruz, 1980, pen and ink on Paper.