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An Education in Pinoy

May 05, 2015
National Museum of the Philippines

Don’t know your Hidalgo from your Amorsolo? Can’t quite remember why so many of Manila’s sites and streets are named after Rizal? Sounds like you need a 101 in all things Pinoy, and there’s no better place to brush up on local history and art than Ermita’s grand neoclassical dame, the National Museum of the Philippines.

Established in 1901 as the official repository of the country’s natural and ethnographic heritage, the sprawling cultural nest is made up of The Museum of the Filipino People, The National Art Gallery, and the Planetarium.

With hundreds of thousands of exhibits dating from the Stone Age to modern day, you’ve got more chance of visiting all of the archipelago’s 7,000+ islands than seeing each of the displays. But among the many standouts you’ll want to earmark are a 3,000-year-old Manunggul Burial Jar (one of the finest examples of Philippine pre-colonial artworks); the skull of the area's earliest known inhabitants Tabon Man; and the wreck of Spanish galleon San Diego, complete with its booty of ornamental swords, coins and jewellery.

For the more artistically inclined there are also large numbers of works by sculptors Napoleon Abueva, Tampinco and Rizal, as well as paintings by Manansala, Ocampo and, of course, Juan Luna’s utterly unmissable masterpiece, the Spoliarium. After all that, we guarantee you’ll be in-the-know on all things Filipino!

Taft Ave / Ermita / +63 2 527 1215 / 10am-5pm Tue-Sun / admission free Sun / nationalmuseum.gov.ph
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