A Day of Appreciation: The National Museum (National Art Gallery)

It was a national holiday! And with a free half day for me to spend, I chose to grab the opportunity to visit the National Museum for free. It’s thanks to the celebration of the Month of Museums and Galleries that’s why the admissions to National MuseumMuseum of the Filipino People, Planetairum, etc. are for free for the whole month of October.

I took this walking tour with my younger brother and my ever constant company, Marla.

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We walked our away around the galleries and exhibits open inside the museum. Right in front of the entrance door was the exhibit of the majestic work of Juan Luna, the Spolarium. I remember seeing it before when I was younger. But then I still had my mouth open in awe by the time I saw the painting. I never realized how huge the painting really is. Juan Luna is definitely admirable. This particular work is rather comparable to the paintings of other, more famous, European artists.


And then we headed to the open exhibits inside. We saw how meticulously done are the sculptures of Guillermo Tolentino. We also saw how amazing the Filipino contemporary artists are with their abstract, confusing paintings. We saw as well how romantic our Filipino artists are through their paintings of beautiful and quite exquisite portraits of ladies, houses, and landscapes.

Fernando Amorsolo‘s gallery of paintings and sketches were pretty memorable too. There was also a gallery dedicated to the National Hero Jose Rizal, showcasing sculptures that he himself made and other artworks made by other artists dedicated to him.

We were also brought in the tragic past through the different paintings of Filipino artists depicting previous wars and foreign occupations of our dear country. Few of those paintings were pretty morbid actually (Dominador Casteneda‘s work in particular and those works from the Bataan Death March), showing how Filipinos had suffered during the time of the Japanese occupation.

Marla was anticipating to see the Senate Session Hall inside the museum. She told me it was a huge hall and there were details of it which she finds admirable (I was imagining archways, balustrades, more sculptures, etc.). I was interested to see it after listening to her description but unfortunately it was closed.

national museum

Among the tons of Filipino artworks there are (which are all amazing), I placed three artworks on top of my list:

(from L to R) Spolarium by Juan Luna, Imaginary Portrait of Isabel by Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, and Portrait of a Lady by Juan Luna

We spent the whole afternoon in the National Museum. We didn’t have enough time to visit the other museum, the Museum of the Filipino People which stands nearby.  After 5 PM, when the establishments closed, we proceed to Intramuros and we walked around the old city before we finally stopped to eat.


It was a day well spent. Throughout our walk inside the museum I was reminded how rich our artistic culture is.

I am and always will be proud to be a Filipino.


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