Yesterday was officially the start of my vacation after taking six units of summer classes, and to celebrate that my friend Kate and I went to the National Museum in Manila. Yeahyuh!
It was our first time to visit so we were stoked. We stopped to admire the door handles first before entering the building. These brass pieces were designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva.
The first gallery we went in to had this giant panel, bearing the names of two of our greatest Filipino artists.
But heck we didn’t quite expect the excitement and dizziness we would feel when we saw what was behind that panel. That general overwhelming feeling was obviously caused by the grandeur and sheer largeness of Spoliarium by Juan Luna. I mean, we knew from grade school text books that the painting was big, but we didn’t know it was huge! Haha. I never quite experienced Stendhal Syndrome this intense as when I saw this piece of art.
Here are some pictures I took of artworks from the various galleries, photos twice, thrice removed from reality. I hadn’t taken notes on the names of the artworks and their makers, but I’ll try to recall some of them.
San Pablo, sculptor unknown. From Gallery I (Luis I. Ablaza Hall)
Bust of Juan Luna Y Novicio on Plaster by Anastacio T. Caedo
Mujer Al Lado Del Batis by Isabelo L. Tampinco
Katey and her ‘Ethereal Aura’
We were lucky enough to make acquaintances with Kuya RJ who told us the interesting story and interpretations behind Luna’s Parisian Life (1892).The painting, now worth about 220 million pesos, is said to depict the state of the Philippines before the Revolution in 1896.
The painting shows a Parisian woman in a cafe and three men in the background. The men are Juan Luna, Jose Rizal and Ariston Bautista Lin. According to art experts and professors, the lady is a mirror-image of the Philippine archipelago. Most noticeable is her outstretched arm representing the island of Palawan.
Now here’s the scary part: It can also be noticed that the woman is wearing a tight collar. A window bar seems to stick out above the woman’s head. And her feet do not reach the floor, creating the impression that she is suspended, kind of hanging from the ceiling. Sinasakal. Nakabigti.
Kate and I had goosebumps all over when we knew about it. But I have to admit, the painting is a brilliant metaphor of our country under Spanish rule. Parisian Life is rich with symbolism and I won’t reveal all of it here. You can visit the National Museum and look for Kuya RJ. Or you know, you can Google it. Haha. But seriously visit the Museum, like, tomorrow. Before the summer ends.
Otherwise you won’t be able to see this sperm whale’s skeleton.
Or go inside this Ifugao house.
Hi Katey Perry!
We finished our tour of the Museum and who should be waiting for us outside the building but Lolo Tito and Rambutan! Lolo Tito offered to tour us around Luneta Park for a small fee so we hopped on without further hesitation. After all, it’s not everyday we ride around city streets in a kalesa.
What car? What engine? This is true horse power!
Lolo Tito. Also the name of my lolo. So I developed an instant affinity towards the old man.
Part of our itinerary was to go to Binondo so Kate and I rode a jeep to Divisoria and got off at Ongpin.
I remember our Geog 1 prof quoting Domingo Salita: “One cannot love what one does not know.” A day in Manila has taught weary city dwellers like Kate and I that there are different ways to appreciate places, if only we would take the time to.
Check out the National Museum’s website here.