5 Great Museums In Metro Manila To Visit On International Museum Day

Every year in May, thousands of museums all over the globe celebrate International Museum Day (May 18).

Started by the International Council of Museums, an organization of museum professionals, this annual celebration aims to raise awareness about the importance of these houses of antiquities in our modern lives.

Museums In Metro Manila You Can Visit On International Museum Day

“Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples,” says a statement from the International Council of Museums.

This year’s theme is “Hyperconnected Museums: New Approaches, New publics.”  It aims to address the fact that, with technology pushing us toward more complex and networked lives, museums now face a challenge on how to stay ahead of the game and continue their service to the public.

Get to know your past and present intimately at no cost by taking a trip to these museums this Friday.

1. The National Museum of the Philippines

Padre Burgos Drive, City of Manila

Visiting hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Normal admission fee: Free

If you’re dead serious about touring the entire complex of the National Museum complex, you need more than a day to appreciate the finest exhibit in the country.

To begin with, the complex is divided into four sections: the National Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, and the National Planetarium.

In these four sections, there are hundreds of items you can visit. Some of the must-see things on your list should include the Hall of the Masters that houses Spoliarium by Juan Luna and the Assassination of Governor Bustamante and His Son by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. You should also look for the Manunggul Jar, the Gold Death Mask from Iloilo, and the Lepa Boat of the Badjau.

2. The National Museum of Natural History

Padre Burgos Drive, City of Manila

Museum hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Normal admission fee: Free

This section may be part of the National Museum Complex but it deserves a special mention.

On Friday, May 18, the section will finally open its doors to the public to coincide with the International Museum Day.

The Museum of Natural History will have more than ten galleries that showcase the country’s rich flora and fauna.

(Read: 10 Best Budget Museums In Manila)

Apart from various species of plants, animals, insects, and fungi endemic in the country, some of the most notable exhibits you should see there are the Philippine Pearl, a replica of the crocodile Lolong, and the building’s marvelous Neoclassical architecture.

Don’t forget to gaze in awe at the Tree of Life, the museum’s elevator connected to a latticed glass dome, designed to resemble an abstract tree as it dramatically casts its shadow on the courtyard.

3. Yuchengco Museum

RCBC Plaza, Ayala corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenues, Makati City

Museum hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Normal admission fee: P100

Free on May 18

The Yuchengco Museum initially started as a showcase of the art collection of the late Alfonso T. Yuchengco. Eventually, the humble collection grew into an expertly curated museum with a number of treasures from past masters.

Inside the museum, you’ll see a section devoted to Jose Rizal, the Sino-Filipino cultural heritage, and a masters gallery devoted to the greatest names like Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, and Carlos “Botong” Francisco.

While Yuchengco Museum pays tribute to the classics, the house is no stranger to the power of technology and modernity.

For the more modern collection, the Yuchengco Museum serves as the home to Suspended Garden by Tony Gonzales and Tes Pasola. The contemporary installation resembles a Japanese zen garden but with a modern take—the floating rocks are made of recycled pulp.

4. Ayala Museum

Makati Avenue corner Dela Rosa Street, Makati City

Museum hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Normal admission fee: P425 for a full access, P200 for changing exhibits

Free on May 18

Situated in the beating heart of the Makati Central Business District, the Ayala Museum serves as the perfect break from the suffocating vibe of the frenetic city.

The stunning highlights of the museum range from pre-colonial artifacts, hand-woven textiles from various indigenous groups, and abstract art straight out of the mind of Fernando Zobel.

During International Museum Day, museumgoers are in for a treat as the changing exhibits in Ayala Museum fit the event’s theme.

(Read: Where To Buy Philippine Paintings: A Guide To Owning Your First Piece Of Art)

Currently, the Ayala-owned gallery features Erwin Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures, where the lines between the subject and object are blurred. Also present in the vicinity is Alwin Reamillo’s Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House, an ever-evolving project that was based on the bayanihan spirit of the Filipinos.

5. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila

BSP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Malate, Manila

Museum hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Normal admission fee: P100

Free on May 18

Originally built to become an artistic venue for international works, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila has since shifted its vision towards curating local heritage in the form of various works of art and ancient artifacts.

If you’re planning to visit the Met right now to see the famous Classical Gold and Pottery Collection or Aura: Religious Art in the BSP Collection, you’re out of luck because they’re currently closed for gallery renovations. But don’t let your hopes down.

The long-term exhibition named the Philippine Contemporary: To Scale The Past and Possible is still open to the public. The carefully curated collection speaks of diversity in volumes as the works there highly vary in form and medium used.

Also currently featured at the Met are Fascination with Filipiniana: The Vargas Museum Collection, In the Wake of War and the Modern: Manila, 1941-1961, and UP FRONT: Encountering the Sacred.

Sources: International Council Of Museums, Rappler