National Museum

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I went to the National Museum last Saturday with my good friend Bea and just marveled at all the artwork by fellow Filipinos. Because of the lighting, natural or otherwise, some of the paintings couldn’t be seen properly when you’re standing too close so I had to distance myself a bit for a better perspective. How very much like life itself, where certain things are sometimes better appreciated in hindsight.

I’m glad to have brought my camera with me because even though I cannot fully capture the magnitude of the masterpieces, it’s still comforting to know I was able to somehow bring home a piece of them with me and even share them with you.

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We didn’t get to go inside the National Museum of Anthropology due to lack of time. Must visit next time.

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Look at these architectural masterpieces. Manila is beautiful and the fact that it’s scary at times just adds up to its mystery and charm. Navigating your way through the city can be intimidating, but you just have to bring out your street smarts and you’re good to go.

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I love that our National Museum comes with no entrance fee at all because it just opened its doors to more people. When we went there, the museum was actually buzzing with people. There were students on their field trips and some other enthusiasts who chose to spend their Saturday morning soaking up some culture.

We registered and deposited our bags. We only brought with us our phones and wallets and my camera with no flash. Bea and I are suckers for notebooks and actually writing things down that’s why we were both a bit crushed when we were told pens are not allowed inside. We didn’t bring any pencils so our notebooks would be futile. We ended up leaving them in the baggage counter.

Once inside, the first thing that greeted us was the majestic Spoliarium by Juan Luna. I kid you not, we were both speechless and just stood there staring at the glory of it all.

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This photo doesn’t even do justice to the painting

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I am not worthy. I apologize if this is borderline blasphemy; just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

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Memento Mori of a Child

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“O Youth, where now you Stand… Fair hope of my Fatherland!”

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While inside the Jose Rizal Room, I realized I felt all sorts of emotions about the fact that I come from the same nation, same roots, and same lineage as the ultimate Renaissance Man. I felt a mixture of pride, bewilderment, and the general sense that I am not worthy.

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I knew I’ve matured when I realized my dream in life is to have a place of my own in a quiet province somewhere with my family where we can all enjoy the breeze and calmness as depicted in these rural scenes.

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A whole room was dedicated to Fernando Amorsolo’s sketches and drawings totaling over a hundred

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A recreation of Amorsolo’s work studio, complete with an unfinished painting. I love it.
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Beautiful even in its half-complete state
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The master’s tools

Perhaps my favorite section of the whole Museum was the one dedicated to portraits. So much life in the stillness.

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Dalagang Bukid by Fernando Amorsolo

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A Filipina Beauty by Vicente Alvarez Dizon
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Head of a Spanish Lady (Type Study) by Fabia De La Rosa Y Cueto

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Bea
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Dignified Stranger

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Vicente Manasala
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Planting of the First Cross by Vicente Silva Manansala

I heard from a private guide tour that this painting marked Manansala’s shift to the use of colorful strokes, a deviation from his previous monotone works.

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Maria Clara, Blumentritt, and Celia – all by Manansala
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Some of Manansala’s old paintbrushes

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Literary master Jose Garcia Villa by Federico Aguilar Alcuaz
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Sunset in Intramuros by Federico Aguilar Alcuaz

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National Museum’s current featured artist: Agustin Goy.

“What I want is to simply feature the three things that every artist has to be capable of doing: still life, landscapes, and figures. For me, they show progression in terms of movement and level of difficulty in execution.”

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Apart from the classics, there were also some contemporary works of art on display.

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Before long, it was time to go. It was a quiet, peaceful and reflective Saturday morning and I look forward to more of these “slow sessions” in the future. Thank you, National Museum!

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Not goodbye, just see you soon.
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3 thoughts on “National Museum

  1. I really enjoyed coming here and I’m glad the Filipino government has spent a significant amount in the upkeep and maintenance. It’s actually better than our National Museum in Kuala Lumpur. I hope to visit again the next time I’m in Manila! 🙂

    1. The Philippines, like all Asian countries, has so much history and culture and the government really has the responsibility to bring this closer to the people, especially the young generation. When did you visit Manila? It was only last year when the government announced that free entrance to the National Museum for good. Filipinos celebrated the good news and even said at least they now know that “there is forever”. 😀 I’ve never been to Malaysia but I hope to visit your National Museum in KL sometime soon as well. 🙂

      1. I went to the museum in February last year and I revisited Manila in Dec, but I didn’t go to the museum on my second trip because I had a pretty packed itinerary. Our National Museum in KL is okay.. but if you’re ever here, I recommend the Islamic Arts Museum which is better kept and has more things to see. 🙂

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