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National Museums Month: Places to visit for nation building |

Arts and Culture

LIST: Must-visit Philippine museums, art galleries

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo, Jan Milo Severo, Kathleen A. Llemit -
LIST: Must-visit Philippine museums, art galleries
The newly renovated Ayala Museum in Makati houses a must-visit diorama area that depicts 500,000 years of Philippine history. / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — October is Museums and Galleries Month, created by the government to underscore the importance of Filipino culture and heritage for nation building.

Looking for educational places to visit? lists down different museums and art galleries in honor of Presidential Proclamation No. 798, s. 1991 or the Museums and Galleries Month.  

Tarlac Museum



The Museums and Galleries month kicked off with the opening of the Tarlac Art Fair Year 2 and the launch of the pioneering volume of “Museyo.”

The National Museum of the Philippines opened the month-long celebration of the Museums and Galleries Month at the Diwa ng Tarlac last October 6. 

Aptly held in the hometown of former President Corazon C. Aquino who signed the Presidential Proclamation that honors the occasion on September 12, 1991, the kick-off celebrated many artists from Tarlac and neighboring provinces. 

Many of the winning paintings, sculptures and mixed-media artworks are displayed on the halls of the bulwagan. This includes the winning sculpture of Ayen Quias titled “Little Town,” a crowd-pleasing number of colorful connected houses stacked atop each other, forming a mountain of colorful abodes. 

This piece is on the cover of “Museyo,” the pioneering volume of the annual yearbook that documents the progress of the different museums and galleries across the country. 

“It is very humbling to launch the book here at the Tarlac Museum. This book has 180 or 190 pages and covers all the things the museums have done, from the north of the Philippines to the south, the farthest being Bongao, Tawi-Tawi where there is an Mindanao State University Marine Science Museum, which submitted the highest number of photos,” said Dr. Jose Eleazar Bersales, Head of the National Committee of Museums of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. 

Tarlac Art Fair Year 2 runs until October 31 in Diwa ng Tarlac, Tarlac City. The exhibit is open daily (except on Mondays and Tuesdays) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dessert Museum

The Dessert Museum is an interactive tasting adventure into eight mouthwatering rooms that transforms your favorite sweets into one epic imaginative wonderland. 

With its deliciously-themed rooms, The Dessert Museum is a scrumptious place for some sugary sweet and tasty content.

The 12,000 square-foot confectionery paradise located in S Maison in Conrad Manila is an interactive eat-as-you-play-and-learn experience where the sights are just as delicious as the sweets. You will eat your way through mouthwatering rooms of sugar-filled happiness as you snap images and record videos.

For that, you will need a camera that combines impressive photos and videos with excellent features. With such a delicious and colorful world, the sweet experience is perfectly captured by a sweet new camera (pun intended) — The HERO11 Black — featuring a new, larger sensor that delivers the highest resolution, impressive 10-bit color depth, the highest level of video stabilization, and widest field of view ever featured natively in a HERO camera.

The GoPro HERO11 Black is just perfect for The Dessert Museum’s vividly colorful attractions such as the “Piñata Party” room where giant rainbow-colored Piñatas surround you and the uber-yellow “Banana Beach” room with sand made of teeny banana sprinkles. HERO11 Black’s new 1/1.9” sensor lets you capture over one billion colors in 10-bit color video at up to 5.3K resolution at 60 frames per second, as well as in 27 megapixel photos—that’s 64x more colors compared to 16.7 million colors in 8-bit mode—truer to how the eyes perceive ultra-colorful experiences. 

HERO11 Black’s new larger sensor also unlocks a game-changing 8:7 aspect ratio, giving you the largest vertical field of view ever on a GoPro. Taking a selfie video in “The Room of Ten Thousand Marshmallows?” The larger sensor adds more of the entire scene from top to bottom — that’s literally more detail in every corner of your frame.

Destileria Limtuaco Museum

Located in 482 San Juan de Letran St., Intramuros, Manila, Destileria Limtuaco Museum is a repository of the country's oldest distillery. It showcases the company's history and historical artifacts, including actual machines and oak barrels used in wine making as well as landmark advertisements and costumes like Glydel Mercado's iconic red bikini for White Castle.

Most of all, since October is also Oktoberfest, it is Oktoberfest all year round in the museum with its slew of in-house liquor brands, which are available for tasting, including its new liquor ice cream made from 100% carabao milk, suitable for all ages.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday at 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with entrance fees: student/senior (P50), adult (P100), and premium with tasting upgrade for adults only (P200).

Related: Destileria Limtuaco, Karabella collaborate for alcoholic gelato

More Manila museums

As the country's capital, Manila is a cradle of the Philippines' rich culture and history. Apart from Destileria Limtuaco Museum, other museums in the area include:

  • The National Museum

Related: National Museum opens 'world's best exhibition' of National Artist Guillermo Tolentino

  • Museum of Natural History that houses 12 permanent galleries exhibiting the country's biological and geological diversity

Related: WATCH: Museum of Natural History virtual tour

  • Museo ni Jose Rizal inside Fort Santiago in Intramuros contains the rare artworks and personal belongings of the country's National Hero, with a dioramic depiction of his last moments writing "Mi Ultimo Adios" before he was executed by the Spaniards in now nearby Rizal Park.
  • Newly renovated San Agustin Church Museum that showcases Roman Catholic Church history, paraphernalia, artifacts and contributions of Agustinian friars in the Philippines
  • As well-preserved examples of Spanish colonial houses in the Philippines, Casa Manila and Barbara's in Intramuros depict through its artifacts the colonial lifestyle of Filipinos.
  • Chinatown Museum in Binondo and Bahay Tsinoy in Intramuros that house artifacts and exhibitions featuring the great contributions of Chinese-Filipinos to the nation.
  • Art Lounge Manila

Until October 31,  Art Lounge Manila in Podium, Ortigas Center, Pasig City features "Splice" by Sam Penaso, curated by Jay Bautista.

Often flamboyantly garbed as the stripewalker in the bustling art scene, Penaso has been associated for his colorful lines-and-splats bravura on his canvases. Bursting with paints in an almost abstract manner, Penaso profusely renders his brushstrokes done in textured hues with creative abandon.

In "Splice," Penaso obsessively reverts again his artistic process and emphatically indulges in stainless realizations reprising his imaginative foray on steel in art which won for him the Philippine Art Awards and showcased in two exhibitions thereafter.

Crafted from the ores of the earth, stainless steel is better appreciated as public art as it can be welded, machined, bent and finished with many different surface effects to boot. In Philippine life, stainless steel commands its physical presence roaming in the streets in passenger jeepneys. Auto bodies, and rail cars, as well as, bridges and monuments are embraced with stainless steel in them. Domesticated at home, most kitchen wares and utensils including the sink are made of this colorless metal. Even the surgical tools and medical equipment makes up for this essential element.

Penaso dwells into steel like second nature because of its hands-on malleability and durability. A mere look at it revs up the imagination in him to wonders even amazing himself to heavens. In "Splice," his wall-bound pieces and sculptures have matured Penaso as an artist, as he maximizes the limits of steel by sheer creativity often eschewing the element of this cold alloy to limitless possibilities.

Astounding are his wall-bound pieces chosen from random images in more than 5,000 silkscreen platforms. Using gold, silver, or white Penaso meticulously transfers each of them before he welds them together. Depending on his mood and aesthetic attraction, an image has to appeal to Penaso’s liking. From the Mona Lisa to portraits of people from different walks of life, to body parts from eyes to bosom, to animals from dogs to birds. Even objects ranging from knives to basketball are all collectively present. What is remarkable is how Penaso composes his images in overwhelming gestalt-like effect mosaic. Just for this, Penaso remains effective in being contemporary in his visual acumen. 

Sculptures are dance-like in elasticity for Penaso. There is no movement alien to Penaso, who is an active member of Tupada. Free standing they crawl like-vines, reaching you as if inviting to interact with them. Penaso does not censure himself often continuing from where he left off the following day in a 12-hour work ethic. A dream for Penaso is to breathe to life great monuments either in a park or forest for the public to appreciate.
Penaso's artistry stems not only from a creative talent but also skillful mastery of all elements that go into his materiality—the subjects, visual language, and functionality. Observing him take control at his studio one feels enthralled as if on a trance as he allows his art to command his thinking and feeling. 

Stainless steel is the generic term used to represent the corrosion resistant alloys. This metal derives its name because it does not stain, rust, or corrode. It throws a glow of spark when fired or heated. While working, Penaso often sees his reflection as he finds his way through and by them. In seeing himself in Splice, Penaso sees other people’s reflection as well when his artworks are displayed in Art Lounge. 

Also in exhibition until October 31 is "Garden In The Sky" by Herbert Pajarito, curated by Ricky Francisco. Pajarito is known for his meticulously hand-drawn pen and ink works, as well as his lavishly detailed acrylic on canvas paintings. This is consistently evident in “Garden in the Sky," his seventh solo exhibition in Art Lounge Manila.  

In this exhibit, viewers are treated to a panoply of works inspired by a lucid dream of the artist, one where he visits a paradise of peace and tranquility replete with flowers, all manner of fantastical plants, and amazing animals, hidden somewhere in the vastness of space. The 2013 Metrobank Grand Prize winner has been consistent in his technique, as well as his message of the divine’s hidden hand in creation in most, if not all, of his previous exhibitions. But this is most noticeable in his 4th solo exhibition “Sky Lights” and 6th solo exhibition “Divine Presence," and now, “Garden in the Sky,” where the narratives of an order in creation and a spiritual reality are evident.  

In “Garden in the Sky," we are treated by Pajarito to the same awe he has for the power of the Creator.  He expresses this through his detailed works, which combine flowers with constellations, and other details like continuous line drawings, spots of color, and other spontaneous expressions of pattern which create the impression of wonder in what is natural and beautiful.  A noticeable addition to his usual technique is the rainbow hued bars which make the works even more colorful and vibrant.  They also create movement in the already dynamic works of the artist, giving an impression of energetic fun.  

One of the main works in the exhibition is “Bloom in Space," an opus of profuse details and layered images. The work appears like Indonesian batik from afar, but reveal their intricate details up close. These details allow us to imagine a trip to space, similar to what the artist dreamt of, hurtling us into some distant unknown. In our journey we find so many things like stars and constellations, nebulae and universes.  This view is supported by the minor works called the Cosmos Series, which appear as flowers. This visual metaphor seems to echo the famous lines of Blake “To see the world in a blade of grass. And heaven in a wild flower. To Hold infinity in the palm of your hand. And eternity in an hour.” Going into the works, we are enrapt in the images which unfold as we journey into this cosmos which the artist shares.  To be immersed in it is to find meaning and awe in something greater.  What this something is, can only be inferred in the immensity of scale we are brought to, with the minutiae of the artist’s works.  We see some complex order in what seems to be chaotic at first impression, until the grand narrative discloses itself to the wandering eye. For more information, visit 

Ayala Museum

This newly refurbished museum in Makati City houses anything from inidigenous textiles and costumes, to interactive historical dioramas and important artworks such as those by Fernando Amorsolo, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary this year as National Artist. It also offers roving temporary exhibitions and different activities for visitors of all ages.


Related: Fernando Amorsolo's 50th anniversary: Greatest lessons from Philippines’ first National Artist

NHCP Museum of Philippine Economic History and Camiña Balay Nga Bato

National Historical Commission of the Philippines' (NHCP) Museum of Philippine Economic History in JM Basa St, Iloilo City Proper, Iloilo City, Iloilo, presents the currencies and samples of livelihoods and industry materials throughout the centuries from all over the archipelago.

Another must-visit in Iloilo is Camiña Balay Nga Bato, formerly called the Avanceña House, a century-old heritage house in the Arevalo district, Iloilo City, Philippines. Besides old furniture and other Spanish colonial artifacts, the "bahay na bato" or "stone house" is known for its cocoa drinks made in the traditional batirol (pitcher).

Rizal museums

Since Rizal Province is only an hour to two hours away from Metro Manila, it has become among the country's art havens. Of note are the following art galleries and museums, mostly found in Angono, which made this town in Rizal earn its moniker as the country's "Art Capital":

  • Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo, Rizal is an expansive exhibition for its resident artist, Elmer Borlongan, and other Filipino artists. It also serves as a retreat getaway while its in-house restaurant serves five-star Filipino cuisine.
  • Carlos "Botong" Francisco Street and workshop in Angono, Rizal, is dedicated to the great Filipino muralist. His workshop is now being managed by his grandson and fellow artist, Totong Francisco.
  • Blanco Family Art Museum contains the artworks of the Blanco family. It also serves as their workshop and exhibition for Angono's annual Higantes Festival.
  • Balaw Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery is an art gallery for paintings and folk art. Its restaurant is also known for exotic food such as frogs and snakes.
  • JE Museum or Joseph Estrada Museum in Tanay, Rizal is for those who appreciate classic Filipino entertainment as it houses the personal and movie memorabilia of actor and the country's 13th president, including his books, costumes, exotic gifts from diplomats and his still empty tomb. After touring the museum, you can rent out some of the former president's ponies for a ride around his estate.


Tales of Illumina, Food Wanderer

Available for walk-ins or for discounted fees via travel app Klook, Tales of Illumina and Food Wanderer museums, like Dessert Museum, offer many opportunities for Instagram-worthy picture-taking and food tasting.

Tales of Illumina in the second floor of Ever Commonwealth in Quezon City is themed around Filipino folk tales and legends. Food Wanderer, meanwhile, presents interactive exhibitions and educational materials about Filipino food and its origins. Both museums have stations for making slime. Tales of Illumina has a bar for making potions, while Food Wanderer, located in Ayala Malls Manila Bay, has a workshop where guests can learn how to cook Filipino rice cakes like Puto, Bibingka and Sapin-Sapin.

Hot deals and discounts are still up for grabs in Klook's Travel Fest. “International travel is back and Globe is excited to be the Filipinos' travel companion as they venture out into the world again, as we always look for ways to give our customers the best deals. Through Globe’s participation in the Klook Travel Fest 2022, we hope to deliver these incredible roaming deals and experiences to them,” said Coco Domingo, Vice President, Globe Postpaid and International Business.

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