Thursday, 12 June 2014

The National Museum

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

A few years ago, I had a 6-hour break in one of my terms. I remember spending those breaks going to the National Museum. Back then, the National Museum which was under renovation had no entrance charge. Anyone who wanted to visit the National Museum can do so for free, so I decided to grab that opportunity.

Yesterday, I called my friends to come with me to visit the National Museum. We decided to tour it together, and we were surprised to see it empty. No one was around to see the paintings of Juan Luna and to marvel at the works of great Filipino artists. 

We wondered where the field trips are being held and if anyone frequented the National Museum, just like before. I shared this experience with my sister and she told me that when she and her boyfriend visited Star City a year ago, they witnessed 3 school field trips there on the same day. That made shake my head in so much disappointment. 

It was very upsetting to know that some schools would trade the National Museum for Star City as a field trip destination. I mean, what would these kids learn in Star City? Besides, it is not a safe place for children who run around and have a thirst to explore “off limits” spots. Wow! Times have truly changed. I recall having field trips in the National Museum, Museo Pambata and Manila Zoo when I was in grade school. I guess, my generation was fortunate enough to experience that.

 I recall that the National Museum has 4 or 3 floors, and I remember hearing my voice echoing from the ground floor, up. That reflects just how barren that place was when my friends and I visited it.

 Isn't it disturbing and alarming that nobody cares and values the artifacts that show our history, culture and heritage that is exhibited in the National Museum. This should be a call for us to affect change and to raise awareness. 

I bet most Filipinos would want to visit France’s Louvre Museum and other European and Western museums, but have you ever tried visiting the one that we have at home? Have you ever tried to take an afternoon off to see what our museums in Manila have to teach and show us? 

To tickle your interests, here are some fun facts about the National Museum: The original National Museum was designed by Ralph Harrington Doane and Antonio Toledo in 1918. It was intended to be the future home of the National Library of the Philippines. According to the “Plan of Manila” of Daniel H. Burnham, it served as the Old Congress Building from 1926-1972. You would also know these things if you visited the National Museum. Know a piece of history, and explore your home! 

So, when was the last time you visited the National Museum? Tell us, on the comments section!


  1. Nice. I love Museums too. I always try to visit when I'm in Manila.

  2. Last year I always visit the national museum every sunday because its always free but unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of the main hall because I was so amazed by the designs in that room... :D

  3. I was there last Thursday where I did a bicycle tour even it it was raining so hard then on Sunday (it opens at 10AM, quite late I would say). The thing is few people from Manila would like to spend time there but foreigners do like it. I personally like the section where they presented World War II paintings, that is moving. My tourist last Sunday really loved art and liked Manansala's works. The other museum (Museum of the Filipino People) is also good and I especially liked the photos in the clothes exhibit add this one has a window that provides a great view of Rizal park. People who care for history just need to promote it more and at the same time, the museum could give free admission on Saturdays because people would prefer to stay home on Sunday (although Im also it is free on Sundays).

    Ei Paolo, have you featured the White House in Tondo, the one infront of Mary Johnston and facing the plaza? That's a great house and tells also very good history - it has history about American government, the Japanese occupation (people were kept there and it wasn't bombed, it also had a chapel) and even Imelda wanted to do a privilege speech there Evita-style. Plus there's people playing cricket at the plaza..