Saturday, August 02, 2008


If you're tired of the malls and now looking for something truly worthwhile to spend your time on, how about taking a guided tour of the National Museum with John Silva?

John is Senior Consultant of the National Museum and has the most fascinating stories and insights about the collection. He guides in an interesting and humorous manner, delighting and inspiring his audience to be proud of their culture and history.

Each tour is three hours in duration, beginning at 10:00 am sharp (ending at 1:00 pm) at the rear entrance of the Museum of the Filipino People, (former Finance Building) Agrifina Circle, Rizal Park.

Tour dates are August 2, 10, 13, 20, 23, 27, 30, and 31st, and September 6, 10, 13, 14, 17, 24, and 27th, 2008.

Attendees are requested to wear walking shoes (please no heels) and reservations are strongly encouraged by texting or calling John Silva at 0926 729 9029. Or email him at

A portion of the fees (700 pesos for adults, and 500 pesos for children up to 18 years) goes to John's I LOVE MUSEUM PROGRAM, bringing public school teachers to the National Museum to appreciate the arts and later bring their students. Studies show that an arts educated child has higher grades, loves reading more, and make better citizens.

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Related link:

National Museum of the Filipino People


Padre Burgos Street
in the former Finance Building on Rizal Park, Manila
Telephone: +63 2 527 0278
Fax: +63 2 527 0306
Monday - Saturday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Admission: P100

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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:29 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

March last year, I visited this Museum. I was so disappointed because the only thing there, were the ruins of the Galleon San Diego.

The finance building was an ideal place, marble, wide open space and beautiful. Most every display were third rate!

As I said, that visit was March 2007. Has anything been upgraded since then?

August 02, 2008 7:43 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Last I was there, Anonymous, was December 2007 for the opening of the Basi Revolt Exhibition.

It was a wonderful exhibit since the painitings on display were regarded as the first historical paintings in Southeast Asia, these fourteen paintings that depict the Basi Revolt -- from the formation of the contending forces up to the defeat of the rebels -- were created in 1821 by the self-taught painter Esteban Villanueva.

And from what I understand, the museum hosts various exhibitions throughout the year.

Nonetheless, taking a guided tour may make the museum even more interesting; I did it at New York's Metropolitan Museum, which made me appreciate it even more!

August 02, 2008 10:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's anonymous again,

The top floor houses the Natural Museum exhibit and mediocre is an understatement.

Where have all our artifacts gone? Three hundred years of Spanish memorabilia, 50 years of American commonwealth, 50 years of Filipino independence should have accumulated
countless priceless collection.

Stolen by officials in power? I wonder.

For a National Museum (the vanguard of a country and identity), it's pathetic.

How many of your readers here have actually visited this place?

August 02, 2008 7:35 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

Being away for so long & looking at the pictures shot in great angles, The Museum looks different, clean & well maintain.

While working with the National Heroes Commission under Carlos Quirino, The Philippine National Museum was one of our division, so I frequently worked there. I love to be assigned at the museum, not to mention my passion for archeology, but a chance to work with my former art professor at UST, Collage of Fine Arts, the late Galo Ocampo who was the Director of the museum during that time. Not to mention that I'll have a chance to see Galo Ocampo's assistant, "Miss.International" Ms. Gemma Cruz!

I know there's a huge hall in the building which they store important pieces, but each time they have a "theme" for up coming exhibit, they "dig" to this hall.

Eric, I love your shots considering the available light inside & the space, great info as well.

Many thanks once again,
ka tony

August 03, 2008 1:34 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Where have all the artificats gone, Anonymous?

Stolen by government officials could be one, but let's not forget the hundreds of crates shipped off to Washington by the Americans that contain valuable documents and artifacts. Spoils of war? They must have them stored in some basement of the Library of Congress or something.

August 03, 2008 8:22 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Wow! Am impressed of your having worked in such worthwhile projects, Ka Tony. You may want to check out our National Museum when you come home for a visit.

Gemma Cruz is now the president of the Heritage Conservation Society and a member of Mayor Lim's Historical & Heritage Commission. HCS and HHC are now working on returning the old names of of our streets. I'll discuss this more at length after Ivan Man Dy and I have met which should be soon.

Thanks, Ka Tony!

August 03, 2008 8:36 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

You & Anonymous are right, some were stolen by our "patriotic" politicians, thousands of crates containing documents & important items shipped to Washington DC, Smithsonian Museum, not to mention the "Kastila" & "Gringo" looters during the Spanish American War. The Japanese Imperial Army & The U.S.Armed Forces in the Philippines during WW II, stole not only documents that will prove their crimes & reasons of their occupation of our country, but destroyed The City of Manila flat to the ground!!!

Manila was the second to Warsaw (85% of the city's buildings was destroyed) for the most devastated city after WW II, hence the "old museum" was destroyed by fire. Sad to say with the "Bolo of Andres Bonifacio" given to my lolo Isabelo (, by the Supremo.

The museum's "hall" I mentioned that house important items, should be cleaned & placed in order, I know for a fact our ancestor's skull (the Tabon Man), found in a cave in Plalawan, is some where in that "hall" Countless of jars from Kalatagan, important item from the Mountain Province, unearth by Prof. H.Otley Beyer, including his personal things, where it that "hall."

Might be interesting as well to visit & have a field trip to our "mayamang makabayan na kababayan" who live in Forbes, Dasma & other exclusive villages, which we can find "The Philippine National Museum's Extensions"...he, he, he

maraming salamat Eric & Anonymous.
ka tony

August 03, 2008 9:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I went to a museum in Pinas was when I was a freshman in college in the late '50s. That was the first museum I visited and I was impressed. Now I know how little I know then - I've been lucky enough to visit many of the world famous museums and ours then was nothing but a doormat in comparison, but I am still proud of it and always will, because it was ours.

I'm glad that we now have what is considered a National Museum and probably much improved from what I saw decades ago; regardless of what others who have been there say or opine, I will make it a point to visit it when I am in Pinas....and I will consider the time I will spend there and the money I will pay for entrance fee worth it.

It is not only the winner that deserves a medal; even the ones who tried their hardest inspite of their gargantuan incapabilities need medals, least, for trying and not giving up.

August 03, 2008 10:55 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

Might sound impressive now that these bosses I had, though they were really great in their field, their names are in history books, art circles & highly mentioned. I guess I was a lucky kid back then to have worked under them, when they were just plain "boss."

Right now, thinking back while doing laundry, cooking, doing the garden, cleaning the house, etc... going home after working more than 8 hours at the office, here in the U.S... the past might sound impressive as well. Past is past!

God Bless Gemma & much of luck on her crusade!

salamat Eric,
ka tony

August 03, 2008 1:57 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I remember the advice my sister gave me just before I left for New York, bertN -- "Make sure you make friends with people who are a lot smarter than you so you'd continue learning throughout your life." And my best friend in NY turned out to be one; also, his parents encouraged us to visit the museums at least twice a month and we did, with or without them. I learned so much from all those visits even on my solo trips during my days off with nothing better to do.

And when I returned to Manila, one of the first things I did was visit our museums and encourage my local relatives and friends to do the same.

I know that what we have is nothing compared to those in America, Europe, and even in some Asian countries, but what we have is our very own. In essence, I wouldn't dare call a relative's humble shack in Subic pathetic after having gone to a Manhattan friend's family's duplex penthouse apartment on Central Park West while we sipped champagne as we watched the sunset. And that is because, I'd never insult the owners' pride of place whether their respective abode is a simple hut at the nearby "pilapil," or a majestic mansion up in the sky.

This attitude of mine should explain, bertN, why I constantly showcase what we have here in Manila despite the limited funds behind them. Visiting our museums, in my personal opinion, ought to be a regular aspect of our lives because they instill a certain "sense of pride" in our national identity.

I love what you said:

"It is not only the winner that deserves a medal; even the ones who tried their hardest inspite of their gargantuan incapabilities need medals, least, for trying and not giving up."

Thank you, bertN!

August 03, 2008 2:22 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Lol! ... what a splendid suggestion, Ka Tony, and I'm sure the private mansions inside those gated communities contain more incredibly-prized artifacts than our local museums!

The National Museum in the old Finance Building has gone through renovations and the halls on all floors look spiffy and well-maintained.

One of these days, I will try to get permission to photograph the interior of the museum at the old Legislative Building, which I haven't done to date. As long as I do not use any flash unit it should be all right. However, I'd probably do it after I've joined John Silva's guided tour so I'd know which ones to photograph.

And by the way, there's fifteen galleries in the Museum of the Filipino people at the old Finance Building if one's interested to explore our archaeological past and our anthropological present. One gallery alone, with its incredible array of anthropomorphic secondary burial jars, found just fifteen years ago, is astounding. The highlight is of course four galleries devoted to the 1994 recovery of the Spanish galleon San Diego. Its treasures give insights to the incredible 300 year trade that linked us to the Americas. There's also the current temporary exhibits in the museum.

The former Legislative Building, now the National Gallery of Art, on the other hand, is a journey through 200 years of Filipino arts and sculpture in seven galleries. The most spectacular sight is the gigantic and original rendering "The Spoliarium" by Juan Luna. We pause to learn how this masterpiece inspired our brave band of Filipino students in Madrid during the time of Jose Rizal.

August 03, 2008 2:29 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

By the way, Ka Tony, one of our treasured historical documents housed in the National Museum is the Laguna Copperplate Inscription -- a legal document written in Kawi.

Supposedly, this document claims the former region of Tondo as having been in existence since the year 900 AD; hence, Tondo is over eleven hundred years old.

Anyway, this trivia inspired me to dig up an old blog article on the Tondo Conspiracy of 1587-88, which I had just reposted:

As always, your thoughts/comments is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

August 03, 2008 7:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi! i'm joshua,

personally i haven't been to the national museum though i stayed just across it--i stayed at a boarding house in the walled city for five years--engineering at Mapua Institute of Technology. anyways, i'm wondering if my students (pre-elem up to grade six) would enjoy an educational trip at the national museum? we're planning to have the trip sometime between november nd december. tnx so much!

Joshua Lujero

August 04, 2008 9:03 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Kudos to you, Joshua for thinking of bringing your students to one of our museums; however, the National Museum might be overwhelming for the pre-elem kids, especially if this were their very first time to visit a museum.

How about taking them to Museo Pambata first? Here's the URL of the blog I've posted on it:

And then make the National Museum as their second museum trip.

By the way, Ka Tony and I graduated from MIT's high school division; I was class of '69!

August 04, 2008 9:31 AM  

Blogger grumpyurbanslacker said...

hello senor,

thanks for the news re John Silva's tour. i told some friends about it,and we are excited to do the tour.

it's funny that people here in manila don't really go to museums at all, i guess we tend to associate it with field trips in Elementary/High school to the museums, Fort Santiago, Bulwagang Gantimpala, etc...

the only local museum i've been to in recent memory was the Ayala Museum (fantastic dioramas!), and that had the advantage of being close to Greenbelt mall...

August 04, 2008 11:16 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

A wonderful idea indeed, GUS, and I'm sure you all will have a marvelous time :)

Hmmm ... you've given me a good reason to take the train over to Greenbelt. Thank you, too!

In the States, many people go to the museum as often as they'd go to the theater; not to mention that museums over there are well-endowed and thus, able to showcase exciting exhibitions year-round.

August 04, 2008 12:52 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...


tnx so much for the info re museo pambata. great help!



August 06, 2008 10:18 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Joshua! I'm sure the kids will have a good time exploring it :)

August 07, 2008 8:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you have another round of museum tours like this? please post. thanks

October 01, 2008 8:27 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I shall, Anonymous, as soon as I receive a new schedule from John. You can also call up the museum for update.

October 02, 2008 6:18 AM  

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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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