Street but Sweet


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Independence date

In large part due to The Big Day, H and I have had to put our travel plans on hold. Frustrated that I couldn't get out of the country, I told him one day that it would be nice if we would become travelers in our country.

Turista shot in front of the National Museum

I realized that there were so many places in my own country--in Manila alone--that I had never seen, so it was about time that I, we, got to know our own home. Plus, it would give us a different kind of date each time!

Our first date? The National Museum of the Philippines on Independence Day. (Papa G: "Wow! Nationalistic!") I first caught a glimpse of it when I read about a wedding reception held there. There was a picture of the museum with a red carpet over its grand steps, the bride walking up. Fabulous! And when I researched on it, I learned that there were two different museums in the complex: one for visual arts, and another detailing the history of the Filipino people.

After getting a little lost in Manila, we finally found the museum along P. Burgos Street. It was different from the wedding photo I saw--we went straight to the visual arts building so the pic must have depicted the other museum. It was a yellow building with pillars out front and a short flight of stairs; the driveway, which also served as the parking lot, was almost completely vacant.

The visual arts museum entrance free is P100; the Museum of the Filipino People entrance fee is P70. You could gain access to both for just P150. We didn't have much time so we decided to see the visual arts museum, then just wing it from there.

I realized that I had seen the Mona Lisa, many of Van Gogh's works (including my favorite, The Starry Night), and the Sistine Chapel, but I had never even thought to see Juan Luna's Spoliarium. (Yup, it's actually got an "i" before the "a"!) And it was indeed an awe-inspiring sight! Alas, we weren't allowed to take photos. But if you have the time, do head on over to the museum, even just to see this. It's a massive painting depicting slain Roman gladiators, and the whole thing covers an entire wall on the first floor.

It was cool going around this museum because it wasn't crowded at all. I actually thought we were the only ones there, our voices and footsteps the only ones echoing through the first-floor gallery. Upon reaching the second floor, we found a couple of families looking around. But these were nothing like the crowds at the Met, or the Louvre, or MoMa. It's the way I thought a museum should be--quiet!

In one wing, we got to see a big-ass skeleton of a sperm whale! We also viewed more works by the masters and national artists (whose names would not have been familiar had I not had a job that exposed me to art), and some modern things like H's favorite, Machines of God (it's sort of like a mannequin with wings and a Darth Vader head). I like realism more than abstract art, but H seems to favor the abstract. And art enthusiasts would probably shoot us if they heard how we interpreted the pieces! (Our comments not to be published here because they'll betray just how uncultured we are.) People fear what they do not understand, I suppose!

All in all, a very interesting date. I am no art expert, and there's so much I don't know and understand, but it was great having that experience with H. Never thought being at a museum could actually be that much fun.

National Museum of the Philippines, P. Burgos Street, Manila; tel. (632) 528-4912; open Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm;

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  • At 9:15 AM , Blogger Lei said...

    Seriously, I was so awe-struck when I saw the Spoliarium. Nakakaiyak siya. Ang galing. I also remember we watched this nationalistic video sa some theater sa museum at nakakaiyak din siya. Turns out I'm a crybaby even at museums. Haha. :P

    Ric, Glads, and I had plans before to have a "cultural" gimik, which included visits to museums, but it never pushed through. Hmm...

  • At 10:54 AM , Blogger gladzalwayshappy said...

    Let us push through our cultural gimik Leileur ah... Hahahaha!

    Last time I saw Spolarium was back in my elementary days. 'Tis nice to revisit nga.

    Try to go to Lopez Museum. They got beautiful paintings of Luna and Felix Hidalgo.

    Oh yeah, National Museum is also a nice venue for weddings, lalo na the stairway thingee... nice for photo ops!


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