Wednesday, May 02, 2007


It was with great pleasure that I joined a group of public school teachers (in photo above) and some folks from the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCAA) in their all day four-museum tour last Monday. This was a significant part of the efforts of the NCCA 16-member Sub-Com on Science and Technology Museums to bring museums closer to the hearts and minds of the Filipino people.

In New York where I lived for many years, museums, science expo centers and theme parks play a vital role in peoples’ culture and heritage. In fact, no tourist will come to New York without visiting at least a couple of its museums. Sadly, here in Manila, oftentimes our local folks favor going to the malls and leisure parks instead of an art or science museum. And since having moved back to Manila, not once was I invited by a relative or friend to any local museum. This is because, they haven’t gone inside a museum themselves nor had any interest for our native flora and fauna.

Thus, the NCCA has established the Teacher Orientation Program (TOP) on Science and Technology Museums. Its goal is to address this cultural dilemma of ours. The idea is to target the participation of teachers, as well as tour coordinators, so as to increase their awareness on the valuable and incomparable education in which their students can discover by visiting any of its member-museum, science center and botanical and zoological park.

And last Monday, I was with this group of teachers and enjoyed a guided tour of the UST Museum, Museo Pambata, National Museum, and Orchidarium.

Personally, I hope that in this upcoming school year, instead of our students going on tours to amusement parks, malls or television game and variety shows, our teachers will now take them to our science and technology museums.

UST Museum of Arts & Sciences

National Museum

Museo Pambata ng Maynila

The Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion

The following are members of the Science & Technology Museums, a sub-committee of NCCA Committee on Museums:

The Coca-Cola Pavilion
Malabon Zoo and Aquarium
Manila Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Museo Pambata ng Maynila
National Museum
Nayong Pilipino
NFA Grains Industry Museum
The Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion
Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center
Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum
Philippine Science Centrum
Philippine Science Heritage Center
IRRI Riceworld Museum and Learning Center
UPLB Museum of Natural History
UST Museum of Arts and Sciences

For more information, call:

National Commission for Culture and the Arts
633 General Luna Street
Intramuros, Manila
Telephone: 527-2192



posted by Señor Enrique at 8:22 PM


Blogger dave (",) said...

Actually, I have no idea some of them existed. A Philippine Science Centrum? Back in Naga, I've been to the Bicol Science Centrum, but I never know it has a national equivalent. A PAF Aerospace Museum? On second thought, I won't go there because I think it's far from a Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and I'll just be depressed with the puny hardware they'll be showing. I hope I'm wrong though.

What I would really want here in the Philippines is a kick-ass astronomical observatory with a giant dome housing a large telescope inside capable of performing cutting-edge astronomical observations. But of course it's not what we urgently need right now.

May 02, 2007 9:46 PM  

Anonymous SUPERPASYAL said...

Oh, this is fantastic!

I always bring friends to museums if only to get that once-in-a-lifetime duty done and over with. Of course I hope they enjoy the tour (which they always do anyway) and ask their friends to do the same soon after.

Maybe museums should come together to ask themselves that million-dollar question: why don\\\\\\\'t people visit us anymore?

A soul searching is in order.

PS. So sad to hear about the slow dial-up. I am dying to hear comments from you about my lack of photographic skills.

May 02, 2007 11:38 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

San Francisco is another place where museums showcase the cultural diversity of the place.

And it also shows that these museums do not have to be lavish and big-time affairs, so long as the items exhibited generate sufficient interest and passion.

May 03, 2007 3:18 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I have to confess I only visited the Ayala Museum. To attract people Museums need to organize exhibitions on a regular base. They can't live for ever from their collections. But then organizing exhibitions cost fortunes.

May 03, 2007 7:25 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I've never been to the PAF Aerospace Museum in Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Dave, but I've visited the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC. Nonetheless, I've a feeling that our local aerospace museum has an exhibit that's charming and interesting enough for our local folks. I plan to visit the PAF Museum sometime this summer. Why not?

BTW, although New York has its incredible Meropolitan Museum, a few blocks down south is the Frick Museum. It structure itself was merely once the Frick family's mansion, but it now houses an impressive collection of fine art, though limited in scope as that of the Met's. And although not as immense as the Met, I've spent many lazy afternoons there even if just to read a book in its garden.

May 03, 2007 7:30 AM  

Blogger Gita Asuncion said...

senorE, ive visited the museum at Villamor years back and unless they have moved to their planned new site, i wasnt totally impressed by it. medyo luma kasi. unless it is a different Aero museum we are talking about here.
anyway, the officer even accompanied me to the park where the planes were displayed. sayang, i wasnt blogging yet that time and didnt have a cam with me so i had no photos.

but i enjoyed the Museum at Fort Bonifacio. you should go there. far from world class but it was really nice.

senorE, were you able to take photos inside UST and National Museum?

May 03, 2007 7:36 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Superpasyal!

I think one of the ways they are addressing that million-dollar question you raised is by having participated in the NCCA program to attract the attention of the teachers first. And comes the new school year, their students would then be taken on field trips to these museums; the students, in turn, would inspire their respective family and friends to visit the museums as well.

As for your photographic skills, I have only admiration. I also appreciate your continued efforts to promote the good about our beloved city :)

Thank you!

May 03, 2007 7:41 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

One of our fellow bloggers, Amadeo, based in the Bay Area is Photo Cache who constantly feature the special exhibits going on in his town. People actually stand in long lines to take advantage of these traveling exhibits.

And I truly agree with you said:

"These museums do not have to be lavish and big-time affairs, so long as the items exhibited generate sufficient interest and passion."

May 03, 2007 7:46 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Sidney!

I was really surprised to have discovered how interesting Museo Pambata is! It is mostly an interactive museum which encourages the children to touch and feel the exhibits. I am now planning to round up the kids in the family and bring them over there for an afternoon of fun! I forgot to ask if there is a facility there to hold children's birthday parties instead of the usual Jolibee's.

The UST Museum also has some items on display that date back to the 1600s.

The fourth floor of the National Museum has an interesting fine art and photo exhibition, which I plan to return to and spend an entire afternoon (on that floor alone).

But I'd better bring someone along. That place is so immense and deserted that the last thing I want to run into is a ghost enjoying the exhibit along with me ... hehehe.

May 03, 2007 7:54 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Gita!

I am hoping that they had refurbished the PAF Museum in Villamor by now. But I do know some people who live there and may invite them and their kids to join me.

What kind of museum do they have at The Fort?

Yes, the director of the Clean & Green Foundation arranged beforehand that I be extended a special privilege to take pictures inside the museums that we visited that day.

May 03, 2007 8:11 AM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

I love Museo Pambata. One time in May last summer, my daughter and I stayed there almost the whole day while waiting for her interview at the US Embassy. The museum staff were also friendly and accomodating. :)

May 03, 2007 8:54 AM  

Anonymous leo said...

I remember crocodiles on display on the cealing and the walls of the old UST museum. There was one with a white hourglass figure in the belly and the story is that it was considered a sacred animal by tagalogs who resides on the banks of the then prestine Pasig river. The Spaniards being the cultural destroyers that they were had the animal killed to prove their god is greater than our anitos.

May 03, 2007 11:10 AM  

Blogger Gita Asuncion said...

senorE, let me see, if the one in Villamor is Phil Air Force's, the one in Fort Bonifacio i think is Armed Forces of the Phil.'s, if im not mistaken. let me check with my hubby later.

May 03, 2007 11:19 AM  

Blogger carlotta said...

how i wish going to museums and parks are a fixture in manila, especially in school trips up until now. when i was still in school, i remembered going to the coca cola pavilion, parks and wildlife, paf museum, phil science centrum, nayong pilipino and uplb museum of natural history. i've been urging my friend who's also a teacher to bring her students on an educational tour with carlos celdran. =)

May 03, 2007 11:58 AM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

Eric, thanks for the reminder to visit the Museums in our country =)

My parents and I brought Lucho to the Museo Pangbata when he was around 2 years old. Honestly, I think I enjoyed it more that he did because he was still too young to understand the place/games/exhibits at that time. LOL! But will bring him back there now that he's a bit older.

The UST Museum is not that big, but have lovely displays. And it's been years since I last went inside the Nat'l. Museum. I'll be sure to bring Hubby there on our next vacation. It'll be nice to discover the place again with him (so, no chance of meeting a ghost if I were on my own. LOL!)

May 03, 2007 3:13 PM  

Anonymous lino said...

hmmm... come to think of it, my last museum visit locally was when I was in grade 6... hehehe, but when we we're in St. Louis Illinois, we visited the Museum of Westward Expansion and I was awed... hope we can achieved that kind of display and exhibits...

May 03, 2007 5:04 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And they also have a piece of moon rock on display there, Rhoda!

From what I understand, there are only five museums in the whole world given a piece of moon rock, and the Museo Pambata is one of them :)

May 03, 2007 6:42 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

There are a lot of stuffed animals on exhibit there, Leo, to showcase the skills of the Spaniards in taxidermy from the 1600s. These were saved from the bombings during the Secon World War because UST was moved to its present site from Intramuros before the war.

That is a very interesting trivia you mentioned. I think Ambeth Ocampo has also written something about it. I will search for it and elaborate further.

May 03, 2007 6:46 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, Gita. I'm very much interested to know about it :)

May 03, 2007 6:46 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That would be really nice, Carla. And hopefully, this program will turn that into a reality.

BTW, Ivan Mandy is on the board of Bahay Tsinoy. I was hoping he could arrange for me to take pictures inside, but it seems like taking pics is really prohibited. So now I will visit it and just enjoy its exhibits without taking any pics.

May 03, 2007 6:50 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Lucho will most definitely enjoy Museo Pambata, Sheilamarie! I can just feel it. There's so many delightful things in there that'll surely keep him occupied.

I will try and do a separate feature on the UST and National museums since I was able to take some photographs. I'd love to share them with you all.

May 03, 2007 6:52 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

There's quite a number of resources (private foundations and federal agencies) in which a museum in the States could apply for grants and sponsorships, and this is the reason why the museum over there have incredible collections, Lino.

Was your last local museum visit a school trip?

May 03, 2007 6:54 PM  

Anonymous bw said...

You truly have that love for art Eric and I can see you having a great time doing it at the motherland :) Hey, good for you and may you have a blast engaging yourself in your passion for
art :)

May 03, 2007 8:24 PM  

Anonymous SUPERPASYAL said...

Hi again! As far as i know, Museo Pambata doesn\\\'t rent out spaces, but you can ask permission to use these spaces provided you pay for that space\\\'s electricity during the time you are there.

What gets my goat during school tours of museums is that the visit is actually just perfunctory. The highlight of any school tour is a visit to the mall or a TV studio (I swear i see groups of kids all the time in 2\\\'s Wowowee). When I was in HS, I vividly recall how I totally enjoyed my visits to the National Museum, Ayala (the fantastic dioramas!) and the CCP complex. In fact, even if I was on a meager student allowance then, I recall buying Mangyan letter openers and wooden fish carvings from the old Ayala Museum gift shop. I still have those items 15 years or so after my very first visit. I first saw the Spoliarium when I was 7. My Mom also brought me to San Agustin as a kid. I think love for history and culture should start with parents - and in this case, teachers (said to be our 2nd parents).

Say, I REALLY REALLY want to be a volunteer guide at the National Museum. Anyone here who knows how I can do that?

BTW, thanks for the compliment on my photos. I try my very best to learn from you all.

May 04, 2007 4:58 AM  

Blogger Gita Asuncion said...

hi again senorE!
my hubby said the museum at Fort Bonifacio is the Philippine Military Museum.

no entrance fee but donations are welcome.

you can take photos of their tanks and cannons displayed nearby.

it was really worth it.

May 04, 2007 7:37 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thanks, Gita! I'll keep the Philippine Military Museum on my list to visit.

May 04, 2007 9:11 AM  

Blogger Daisy said...

Ang saya po sa Museo Pambata. I've been there 3 times i think. The last time was with my nephew who was 3 yrs old gusto nya talaga.

I used to work at WWF kaya tinignan namin noon yung Dugong and Whaleshark exhibits :) ang saya inter active.

When I was in High School I've visited (via our school field trips) the planetarium-- at that time syempre my young mind was very impressed :) sa Luneta yan.

I also love the Dioramas of the Ayala Museum. I was really facinated by the intricate creations plus learning Philippine history at the same time.

Another museum I was inspired is the metropolitan po ba yun sa CCP na may vast collection of coins???

Thanks for sharing the info about the other museums :)

May 04, 2007 9:16 AM  

Anonymous niceheart said...

Are you in that group picture and you're just not telling us? :)

That is so true about your observation on Manila and it's museums. I don't think I have been to any museums there. Here, my children always have field trips to different museums around the city. And when they were younger, we take additional personal trips to these museums too.

That TOP program is a good one, targeting the teachers, who in turn will educate the students.

May 05, 2007 2:03 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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