Surprised by the Museum of Natural History in Manila

Lowering expectation is one simple secret to achieving amazement and happiness.  Setting high expectations tends to result to frustration especially when measuring reality against imagined reality.  High expectations often wrings the joy out of experiencing something for what it is.

This were my exact thoughts when I and a bunch of colleagues decided to have a detour and headed to the Museum of Natural History in Manila before driving back to our office after some brief business meeting in Intramuros.  Knowing Manila being a run down, sullied, traffic-infested and over-populated city, finding something amazing seem next to impossible. 

this hall houses some of the most important artifacts
world-class!
my county’s “under the sea” features is one of the best
biggest croc on record is in the philippines it’s name is “lolong”

But our visit to the Museum of Natural History in Manila was indeed a big surprise!  It is one destination on the City of Manila that definitely deserves a visit! 

What I love most about this museum is that all exhibits – flora, fauna, earth formations, etc. – were of Filipino representations.  Also, segmentations of exhibits were really well thought of.  It’s like being so at home yet you would discover new and amazing natural wonders of the country. 

some fauna with two lucky folks
open up! admission is free!
the old-fashioned “botica”
i love this!
hall full of rocks!

Me and my colleagues were a bunch of pre-millennial species that is why we could really relay and seem so familiar with some of the indigenous exhibits.  Some of us could actually recall childhood encounters with some of the now rare flora and fauna displayed in the museum – dragonflies, beetles, birds, fruit crops, seashells, clams, freshwater crabs, etc.  Too bad, these floras and faunas we played with during childhood has started to become so rare it can now only be found in a museum.

I also like the fact that some of the exhibits are interactive.  I and my colleagues were so surprised, we could not keep ourselves from saying “Wow!” every time we enter a gallery full of amazing collections. Museum of Natural History in Manila was one surprising experience!  I have been to some of the top museums of the world and I can say that Manila’s National Museum of Natural History is world class.  .  It’s truly a fantastic feast for the senses! 

museum of natural history, manila, philippines
…was so impressed!

The National Museum of Natural History in Manila is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Entrance is free.

Ang ganda. Inferness!

The Abe Wing of the National Museum

Last Tuesday night, the few pieces of artistic neurons present inside my cranial cavity were happy to have witnessed one historical event in the “Philippine art scene”.  I was present during the formal turnover ceremony of artworks of Emilio Aguilar Cruz to the Philippines’ National Museum for Fine Arts.  The event was coined as the biggest donation in the history for an art collection by an artist to the country’s national museum.

And from the poignant speeches I heard during the ceremony, this generous and selfless act was decided upon so that future generations of the Philippines would be able to see and appreciate contemporary yet refined works of Filipino visual art. This is aside from the fact that these valuable pieces would definitely be protected, preserved and maintained by the state.

EAC Gallery (Abe Wing) photo grabbed from National Museum FB page
EAC Gallery (Abe Wing)
photo grabbed from National Museum FB page

Aside from the formal turnover of donation of EAC art pieces, the program also includes the formal inauguration of the Emilio Aguilar Cruz Hall. Also known as the Abe Wing inside the National Museum, this hall exhibits the donated paintings, sketches and water colors done by EAC.

Activating the art connoisseur in me, from among all the art pieces hanged inside the Abe Wing, the two works of art that charmed and bewitched me were:

portrait of a lady, 1989 (oil on canvass)
portrait of a lady, 1989 (oil on canvass)

This painting is a true representation of a Filipina beauty.  Though the only color used was the varying colors of brown, the monochromatic shades – from lighting, to the clothing and to the color of the woman’s skin – were all so fascinatingly beautiful and captivating.

Paris, 1980 (watercolor on paper)
Paris, 1980 (watercolor on paper)

This watercolor is small but very engaging.  The colors are so alive you would wonder whether such piece was recently been done when in fact it is already 35 years old. Onlooker would be able to appreciate it more if seen from a considerable distance (which for me is a typical EAC style).

Like any other great works of art found in the museums around the globe, EAC’s art pieces would someday, in some foreseeable future, shall become valuable tools for the next generation to better understand its past.  Kudos to the family of Emilio Aguilar Cruz for such a generous donation!

Koloring buk ko kaya tanggapin kung i-doneyt ko sa nashonal myusiyum? 

Morning In Binondo by Sym Mendoza

After having been at awe by the magnificence of the paintings featured in The Dimasalang Artists Collection Exhibit at the National Museum of the Philippines, it would obscenely be unfair if I would only have one post about it.  Here’s my initial post about this event: Fixated with Café Scene

first time to see a lettuce-green-colored gallery. i love it!
first time to see a lettuce-green-colored gallery. i love it!
catch it while its there...
catch it while its there…

dimasalang group

It has exactly been a week already, yet I could not expunge in my thought the need to write about a 1970 oil painting done by Sofronio “Sym” Mendoza entitled Morning in Binondo.  I don’t know why but this painting seem to have quietly caught my attention during the night of the exhibit’s formal launch.

beautiful!
beautiful!

I would like to believe that it is the alluring streaks of color as well as the glowing pigments that has attracted me most about this 44 year-old painting.  Also, I guess it is the easy-going yet serene approach in the depiction of a specific space in Manila that has caught my interest.  This vibrant yet soothing tableau truly exemplifies an excellent portrayal of Philippine life and scene.

 

The Dimasalang Artists Collection Exhibition will run until July 27, 2015 at the Museum of Fine Arts of the National Museum of the Philippines.

Super nays!

Fixated with the Café Scene

cafe scene: my fave eac painting
cafe scene: my fave eac painting

Without clicking a single brain cell, my automatic response was the “Café Scene”.  This was when I was asked which among the Emilio Aguilar Cruz (EAC) paintings featured in the newly launched Dimasalang Artists Collection was my favorite.  The Dimasalang exhibit is a newly launched exhibition of gorgeous paintings by 6 artists at the National Museum of the Philippines.

photo grabbed from national museum of the phiilippines fb page
photo grabbed from national museum of the phiilippines fb page

In fact, before this painting made it inside the museum of all museums of the Philippines, a lot of people actually owns a mini-copy of it tucked inside their wallet.  This is because a couple of years ago this painting was chosen by Mastercard to be one of their credit cards’ cool designs.  Here’s a link when I wrote about this: A Painting In My Wallet.

pautang!
pautang!

To even prove my point that I indeed is a fan of this painting, the cover of my 2011 journal which I brought on my second trip to Australia was the photo of this magnificent painting.

my 2011 journal
my 2011 journal.  this notebook kept me sane during a long train ride from sydney to gold coast.

Maybe the reason why I love this painting is because it captured the feeling of people who loves to celebrate food with friends and family.  I guess, it can basically represent my being a social person.

Sosyal kasi ako. Kaya layk ko ‘yan. (saying this in pa-sosyal tone)