a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, December 2, 2012

National Art Gallery, Philippines

National Museum building. A few blocks away is the National Art Gallery.
As I was running late to meet two blogger friends, Lauren and Marky, I skipped lunch and rushed to get to the National Art Gallery.  After signing my name on a logbook, I turned to the musuem staff, "Ate, san ang mga kainan nyo dito?" (Where are the restaurants?).  The lady stared at me, looking unsure of my state of sanity. I know it's not exactly the type of question one asks when there are far more important works of art around than my stomach's yearning. I had to repeat the question before she gave a heart-crushing reply - "none". I contemplated for a few seconds, Lauren and Marky where still MIA, shall I take a cab to Taft Aveue and grab a bite? 

But the desire to see the Spoliarium prevailed. Created in 1884 by national artist and hero, Juan Luna, it served as an entry to Madrid Art Exposition where it won him a gold medal. It explicitly shows the scene inside a spoliarium, the basement of a Roman Colosseum where perishing gladiators are dumped. 

Fortunately, this massively glorious artwork is just a few steps from where I was. Located near the entrance of the National Art Gallery (old Senate Building), it is the first painting that greets every visitor. And what a welcoming sight it was, at a height of 13.8 ft, it is the largest painting in the Philippines. I can only gape in amazement over the hard work and the high-powered brain cells used to create this masterpiece. Across this painting is another cultural treasure, the La Tragedia de Gobernador Bustamante by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. 

My friends were still in transit and so I decided to roam and look for the Fernando Amorsolo paintings. If you are a fellow fan, you can find his works at galleries VI and VIII. Apart from paintings and drawings, the National Art Gallery also features sculptures, textile specimens, animal and human bones, and religious art. For more information on the collections available, check out this list.

My museum buddies, Lauren and Marky discussing art
I was feeling deliriously hungry by the time Marky and Lauren arrived but I held on until our happy trio fully roamed all the halls of the National Art Gallery. We capped off museum day in Binondo where we had snacks at Masuki - famous for their noodles and dinner at  Wai Ying, a no frills restaurant in Binondo, serving favorites such as radish cake and steamed dumplings. 

Travel Information : 
National Art Gallery 
Address : P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila 

How to get to the National Art Gallery : http://www.manilagateway.com/attractions/national-museum.html

Business Hours
Tuesdays-Sundays, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM 
Entrance Fees/head : 
Student 50.00 
Senior Citizen 120.00 
Adult 150.00 

Contact Numbers : 
Museum Education Division Telefax #:+63 (02) 527 0278 
Email: education@nationalmuseum.gov.ph 
Look for Lina/Tess 
Website : http://www.nationalmuseum.gov.ph 

Visitor's Notes : 
- Wear comfortable footwear as you will be walking for hours to visit and appreciate all the art. 
- Ideal time to visit is in the morning as it may take a full day for the eyes to feast on everything. If you want to visit the Planetarium and other archaelogical finds, it's in two separate buildings which is within walking distance (although quite a walk) from the National Art Gallery building. 

Here's some friendly reminders from the National Museum website
 - Firearms, food, bottled water, and ballpens are not allowed inside galleries. you will have to leave your bags at the entrance. 
 - Touching artworks and taking photos of exhibit items for commercial purposes inside galleries are strictly prohibited unless otherwise authorized through a special permit from the Director’s Office/ Museum Education Division. Picture taking is allowed for souvenir purposes only. DSLR cameras need special permit. The use of flash photography is strictly prohibited.

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