It’s my first time to visit the National Museum, I shamefacedly told John Silva during our guided tour. I was sitting down on the floor at the time, we were almost halfway through the three-hour tour and I wanted to rest my legs. He was standing in front of me, and upon hearing my remark he looked down at me and said sternly, “And you call yourself a Filipino?”
Now that was a bit harsh, really; surely that’s not the only measure of being an upstanding or good or whatever you call it Filipino. But still, he has a point. If you’re a Filipino, you have to have a deep awareness of and affinity with what that means, and what that has meant throughout the years. A trip to the National Museum makes us acutely aware of our country’s identity and its rich past, as expressed in art and cultural artifacts. Alas, the photos here are of course poor, poor approximations of the originals. You have to go there and see everything for yourself.
I recommend that you join one of John Silva’s tours for starters, to get an introduction, and then, as I plan to do, go back for a more leisurely and introspective wandering about the place. Aside from the National Museum itself, don’t forget to go to the National Art Gallery across the street, because that’s where Juan Luna’s Spoliarium is, at the Hall of Masters. A bonus of joining a tour is that John would let you take photos (as long as you don’t use flash), something that’s not permitted at regular museum visits.
After the museum tour, we headed to Binondo and wandered around taking pictures and eating, eating, eating. Binondo is practically a real world-museum itself, and I had also enjoyed a guided tour of it last year. In going back, of course, more discoveries were in store.
It was a long and tiring Sunday, but, replete with history, art, culture, and food, we came home happy and satisfied.
For museum tour dates and other info:
The rest of the Museum and Binondo photos in my Multiply album