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I love to travel just to explore new things in life from breathtaking natural wonders, interesting historical sites, delicious food, friendly people and colorful culture. I treasure every moment in traveling by writing in my journal, taking photos and publish it in my travel blog.
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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Heritage Nostalgia: A Free Tour in the National Art Gallery

As I walked in the scorching heat of the metro along with the heavy traffic on the streets, I decided to visit the National Museum of Fine Arts or the National Art Gallery where I need to celebrate the Heritage Month. In addition, the said institution has a promo where there was a free admission for the whole month of May.

The current museum was the Old Legislative Building (Old Congress Building) which is located in Padre Burgos Avenue, Ermita, Manila located near the Manila City Hall. The building was planned based on the design of Ralph Harrington Doane and Antonio Toledo for the National Library in 1918 but it was changed into a legislative building based on the plan of Juan Arellano in 1926. Some of the historical events happened in this building such as the Constitutional Convention led by Claro M. Recto in 1934 and the presidential inaugurations of Manuel L. Quezon in 1935, Jose P. Laurel in 1943 and Manuel A. Roxas in 1946. It was destroyed during the Second World War and it was restored which was turned into Congress Building in 1949. During the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, it was the office of the Prime Minister and it returned back into Congress Building in 1987. On February 12, 1998, the building was declared as the National Museum and it became a National Historical Landmark on September 30, 2010.

The National Museum was divided into three buildings - the National Art Gallery or the National Museum of Fine Arts which was located in the Old Legislative Building, National Museum of Anthropology or the Museum of the Filipino People which was the old building of Department of Finance and the National Museum of Natural History which was occupied by the Department of Tourism.  
The facade of National Art Gallery of the National Museum.
When I entered the institution and left my stuff in the baggage counter, I brought my tablet to take notes for important details to study the art and history of our country. First, I visited the Old House of Representatives Session Hall where the famous artworks such as "Spoliarium" by Juan Luna and "The Assassination of Governor Bustamante" by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo are found in this area. In fact, I also had the chance to see another popular work of Juan Luna "The Parisian Life" in the GSIS Hall.
"Spolarium" by Juan Luna
"The Assassination of Governor Bustamante" by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo
"The Parisian Life" by Juan Luna in the GSIS Hall.
After visiting the Spoliarium Hall, I went to Ablaza Hall whersome Christian themed masterpieces from 17th to 19th century. There are different wooden retablos and religious relics found in this hall. Then, I also had a chance to have a glance of our rich flora in FCCP Hall where the paintings by Juan Perez de Cuellar which focused on the Philippine plants are located. 
The FCCP Hall which features the botanical art works which are done by Juan De Cuellar. These drawings are featured in the Royal Botanical Garden n Madrid, Spain.
A retablo.
There is also a gallery dedicated for Dr. Jose Rizal which showcases the different portraits of our national hero which was done by different artists and his sculptural works such as "El Ermitano" and "Mother's Revenge."
The portrait of Dr. Jose Rizal
A portrait of Dr. Jose Rizal, Ermitanyo (upper right) and Mother's Revenge (lower right). The two sculptural art works are examples of terra cotta.
In MFP Hall (Gallery X) you can find the series of paintings which was done by Carlos "Botong" Francisco entitled "The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines." These masterpieces were found in the Philippine General Hospital and today, it has a new home in the National Art Gallery. 
"The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines" by Carlos "Botong" Francisco. 
I also had a chance to visit Silvina and Juan C. Laya Hall where some artworks which was made during the World War II was displayed in that gallery.
Some of the art works that depict the life and historical events during World War II.. 
oAnother set of artworks that feature the life during the World War II.
You may also visit the galleries which feature the works of Fernando Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino, Vicente Manansala, Jose T. Joya, Hernando Ocampo and Carlos "Botong" Francisco as well with the masterpieces of contemporary artists such as Benedicto "BenCab" Cabrera, Arturo Luz and Mauro "Malang" Santos/ In addition, there are also masterpieces from local artists which feature the historical events and tackled on  political and social status of our society from 1960's to the early 1990's. 
The masterpieces of Guillermo Tolentino featuring the arch of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.. The works of Guillermo Tolentino can be found in  Gallery XII or Security Bank Hall.
Artworks of  Hernando Ocampo
"Fishes" by Vicente Manansala
"Pagkain" (Food) by Vicente Manansala. These paintings by Vicente Manansala featured transparent cubism.
"Plantng of the First Cross' by Vicente Manansala
Artworks with the theme of restoration of democracy during the EDSA Revolution..
The art works of Benedicto Cabrera, also known as BenCab .
Portraits of prominent politicians, celebrities and business figures in a hallway.
As you walked inside the historical building, passing the dim aisle teemed with the cool air, you can see various artworks that reflect in the history and culture of our country. You can travel back in time as you see the different masterpieces that showcase the life during the pre-colonial period, seeing the Romantic paintings during the Spanish era that depict religious and patriotic themes, the historical struggles which are reflected in the paintings during the World War II, Martial Law Era up to the EDSA Revolution and the creativity of artists in the modern and contemporary period which proved that visual art, painting and sculpture has a place in the world full of technology and digital information.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you need to visit museums in order to take a glance of our history through art and the appreciation of the works of our national artists who shared their God-given talent in order to enhance the richness of culture and talent in our art. 

The National Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is permanently free of charge effective July 1, 2016. The National Art Gallery can be found in Padre Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, City of Manila. 

Website: http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/

Date of Travel: May 25, 2016 and December 17, 2016


  1. That art gallary seems a great place to visit.Nice share.

  2. It's been years since I last visited the National Museum. I'm scheduling a trip with my son soon before his school starts.

  3. We visited this place as our educational outbound tour when we were in high school. Walking through the historical building is nice to get a glimpse of arts and know the culture of the Philippines.

  4. I had a chance to visit th National Museum few months ago and I was really mesmerized with all the masterpiece displayed.. I'm so grateful to see the Spoliarium upclose... so glad too that NM are now open for public for free

  5. Reading your post, I just reminisced my college days. We visited the National Museum a couple of times. There's a minimal fee during that time. I'm glad the Entrance Fee is already free.

  6. love to visit this place.. it will bring us to the culture and historical happenings of the country

  7. Wow! that art gallery is beautiful. I always love to check out the art gallery. I always mesmerized by their talent and how amazing their portraits turned out.

  8. It has been decades since I went there. I will bring my daughter to the National Museum soon.


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