The Renovated Galleries of the National Museum

I find it sad  at the same time ashamed  that I haven’t been able to visit our National Museum. During my college days since its near our school, I always pass by this place and sadly it never crossed my mind to visit this place on my idle time.  Certainly museums are a great way to learn almost all the details pertaining to a place culture, tradition and history.

Last week  an opportunity to visit this place finally conspired. I only had a few hours to spend here but still able to  knock out a chunk of the museum and learn a bit while walking around.  I’m glad to see the newly renovated exhibition galleries  and they are really fascinating.  I don’t want to sound the type of guy who knows a thing or two about all the things displayed.  Let’s just start the tour shall we!

Hall of Masters
The painting features a glimpse of Roman history centered on the bloody carnage brought by gladiatorial matches. Spoliarium is a Latin word referring to the basement of the Roman Colosseum where the fallen and dying gladiators are dumped and devoid of their worldly possessions. At the center of Luna’s painting are fallen gladiators being dragged by Roman soldiers. On the left, spectators ardently await their chance to strip off the combatants of their metal helmets and other armory. In contrast with the charged emotions featured on the left, the right side meanwhile presents a somber mood. An old man carries a torch perhaps searching for his son while a woman weeps the death of her loved one. 
The main gallery of the whole museum.  I was amazed and overwhelmed of Juan Luna’s Spoliarium and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s La Tragederia de Gobernador  Bustamante. The paintings were huge almost dwarfing the onlookers. 
The Spoliarium is the most valuable oil-on-canvas painting by Juan Luna. With a size of 4.22 meters x 7.675 meters, it is the largest painting in the Philippines. A historical painting, it was made by Luna in 1884 as an entry to the prestigious Exposicion de Bellas Artes (Madrid Art Exposition, May 1884) and eventually won for him the First Gold Medal." -National Museum of the Philippines

Gallery I: Luis I. Ablaza Hall
Look at the huge retablo from San Nicolas de Tolentino from Dimiao, Bohol
Colonial Philippine religious art of the 17th to the 19th centuries, prominent among which is a retablo from the church of  San Nicolas de Tolentino in Dimiao, Bohol – a National Cultural Treasure – together with a selection of carved religious images (santos), reliefs and paintings.-National Museum of the Philippines
walking alone through the Ablaza Hall  is an experience, albeit a spooky experience

Gallery II: FCCP Hall
just the 2 of 14 paintings in the Basi Revolt by Esteban Villanueva
The earliest Philippine paintings depicting a historical political event, The Basi Revolt series by Esteban Villanueva of Vigan (on indefinite loan from Ilocos Sur Historical and Cultural Foundation). Painted in 1821, fourteen paintings, together declared as a National Cultural Treasure,depict in naive and vivid style the famous 1807 uprising in Ilocos against colonial rule that culminated in a bloody defeat at the Bantaoay River in San Ildefonso, Ilocos Sur.-National Museum of the Philippines

Who would have thought that the revolt of 1807 was caused by the Spanish government’s efforts to monopolize the production of basi?

Gallery III
Feeding the Chickens by Simon Flores and Una Bulaquena by Juan Luna
Philippine art of the academic and romantic period, specifically of the last three decades of the 19th century, featuring especially the Museum’s considerable holdings of the work of Juan Luna and key contemporaries.
 Study of Cervantes  and Portrait of Paz  Pardo de Tavera both by Juan Luna
Highlights include works by Lorenzo Guererro, Gaston O’Farrell, Felix Martinez and National Cultural Treasures such as Feeding the Chickens by Simon Flores and Una Bulaquena by Juan Luna. Also exhibited here are Gobernador Luis Perez Dasmarinas by Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo and almost hundred works by Luna that formed part of the donation of the Grace Luna de San Pedro Collection by the Far East Bank and Trust Company in the early 1990’s.-National Museum of the Philippines
Street Scene on a Rainy Day by Juan Luna
Padres Dominicos by Juan Luna

Gallery IV: Fundacion Santiago Hall

The works of 19th century Filipino sculptors, notably Isabelo Tampico y Lacandola as we as his contemporaries and artistic successors whose works are distinguished by a strong academic and neo-classical style. Including Isabelo’s sons Angel and Vidal, Graciano Nepomuceno, Anastacio Caedo, Florentino Caedo and Guillermo Tolentino.-National Museum of the Philippines

Gallery V

Works by the polymath and National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, including four original sculptures and one fine drawing, View of Gendarmenmarkt, from his 1886 sojourn in Berlin. Included in Rizal’s work Mother’s Revenge, a declared National Cultural Treasure, together with his Bust of Ricardo Carnicero, San Pablo Ermitano, Oyang Dapitana as well as several portrait busts and paintings of Rizal by eminent Filipino artists, including Isabelo Tampinco, Graciano Nepomuceno, Guillermo Tolentino and Martino Abellana from the early 20th century until the 1950’s.-National Museum of the Philippines


I was disappointed not seeing Jose Rizal’s terra cotta sculpture Mothers Revenge on this gallery.:/

Gallery VI
 Portrait of Serapia Santos y Aduna by  Ramon Peralta and Portrain of Don Melencio Figueroa by Juan Arellano
Bathers by Cesar Amorsolo
The late contemporaries and artistic successors of the generation who were active in the late Spanish colonial period and on into the American occupation and before the Second World War, including Fabian de la Rosa, Fernando Amorsolo, Pablo Amorsolo and numerous other artists who shaped Philippine art before and contemporaneous to the advent of Modernism in the country.-National Museum of the Philippines
some sketches of Amorsolo
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office by Pablo Amorsolo

an unfinished painting by Fernando Amorsolo
Gallery VII and VIII are still ongoing renovation during my visit.

Gallery IX
Fish Forms by Ang Kiukok
Man with a Hoe by Juvenal Sanso

The works of the great modernist featuring important works by Victorio Edades, Diosdado Lorenzo, Vicente Manansala, Carlos V. Francisco, Hernando R. Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi and Ang Kiukok, and various other artist who were instrumental in setting bold directions for Philippine art from the 1930’s into the decades of the post-war period.-National Museum of the Philippines
The Origins of Jose Joya
Hills of Nikko by Jose Joya

Gallery X­­­­
Dedicated to the Progress of Medicine in the Philippines, a set of four large paintings by Carlos V. Francisco specially commissioned for the entrance hall of the Philippine General Hospital in 1953. Declared a National Cultural Treasure, these important works were placed on indefinite loan to National  Museum by the University of the Philippines to secure their preservation for future generations.-National Museum of the Philippines


On the second level,

The Artistry of Philippine Textiles

The artworks and galleries are all amazing and indeed  the Philippines has a lot of talent! Hopefully the kids today and the future generation value the history and culture displayed on the museum.  While some of the galleries are under renovation,  I highly recommend visiting this place! And while there are still lacking in terms of lighting, lack of personnel and other things that can make the museum more entertaining.  Still kudos to the management of the National Museum for putting an effort renovating the galleries.
 
For the entire month of October there will be FREE admission to National Museum. If you're looking for an interesting things to do in Manila, might as well spend in this museum.

National Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 am to 5 pm. It is located in
Padre Burgos Drive, Manila

TIPS:
- Picture-taking is allowed in the most of the galleries , flash photography and videography are not permitted though.

- Arrived early if possible as students packed most of the galleries for their field trip.

- Wear comfortable clothes. An umbrella would come in handy just in case it gets too scorching, or it rains

- Check out their official site for more information.