The National Museum of the Philippines is more than just a museum. It considers itself the “guardian and repository of the natural and cultural heritage of the Philippines”. This means it coordinates the activities and monitors the collections of all other museums, both public and private, in the country.
Aptly located at Luneta Park, which itself is a historically important place in Manila, the National Museum stands tall along P. Burgos St., so that it could not be missed by passing jeepneys, taxis and private vehicles. Established on October 29, 1901, the museum building was designed by Daniel Burnham, an American architect who designed all the Neo-American colonial-style buildings in the surrounding area including the Philippine Post Office.
What’s inside the National Museum?
The National Museum boasts of having 10,000 artifacts including boats and architecture from the different Philippine ethnic groups. The museum has a collection of archeological finds that include 17th Century porcelain, jewelry, coins, and weapons that were recovered from the sunken Spanish galleon “San Diego”, among others. The museum also boasts of having in possession rare sculptures and paintings by national artists including the famous “Spoliarium” by Juan Luna.
What is the Planetarium?
Part of the museum is the famous Planetarium. This is a popular destination of students on school field trips. Every Filipino student can share and talk about fun experiences while inside the Planetarium, fun memories of seeing the stars up close and understanding the constellations. Students untiringly gaze at the dome as the Planetarium’s projector projects millions of stars.
The Planetarium can seat a total of 310 people. Admission is Php30 for adults and Php20 for children and students. You can’t come here alone unless there are strangers available to fill out other slots for the minimum number every seating. You need at least 14 companions for the presentation to start.
What does the National Museum hope to achieve?
The main goal of the museum is not only to showcase the country’s rich treasures from the past but also to educate the Filipino children and help them reach their full potential. The official goal and objective is to promote “educational, scientific, and cultural activities in diverse fields of study”.
The museum’s Arts Division not only boasts of rare artworks and biographies of famous Filipino painters, sculptors, graphic artists, photographers, and national artists, but also conducts summer art classes for children. Some classes are for free, which shows the museum’s commitment to its aims. The National Museum also initiates contact with the Filipino people as it hosts a number of roaming exhibits, workshops and cultural performances around the country.
How do I get to the museum?
The museum is accessible by jeepney, taxi or the LRT. It is beside Rizal Park and across the Manila City Hall. Every taxi driver knows where this is. When taking the LRT, get down at Central Station, which is walking distance from the museum.
The National Museum is open from Tuesday and Sunday at 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission fee is Php100 for adults and Php30 for children, students and the elderly. The good news is, every Sunday, the museum is open for free for Filipinos.