As the primary business district of the Philippines, the city of Makati plays an important role in the development and economic growth of the country. It is just appropriate that a museum be put up in the name of the city. The “Museo ng Makati” or Makati Museum may not yet be as popular as its neighbor, the Ayala Museum, and its collection not as impressive, but it is slowly living up to its name as the repository of the city’s historical properties and collections. It is a community museum, while Ayala museum is national in scope.
Museo ng Makati showcases a number of well preserved artifacts, treasures, and relics that speak of Makati city’s historical and cultural heritage. It also has three unique features. First, it is the only museum in metro Manila whose relics and artifacts were especially carved to depict the city’s interesting history. Many people would be surprised to know that this prime city in metro Manila used to be a vast, swampy wasteland. The Spaniards thought it was worthless, although the friars did build two churches here: the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Makati and the Nuestra Señora de Gracia in Guadalupe. Then the Americans came and built Fort McKinley and San Pedro de Makati, which would in a few decades be simply called “Makati”. In the 1950’s, the city began to take form and beginning in 1970, it was acknowledged as the country’s center of trade and finance.
The year 1983 marked the beginning of Makati’s political “career.” It became the center of protest against the Marcoses after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. After three years in 1986, it again played a significant role during the People’s Power Revolution. The entire Ayala Avenue stretch was flooded with yellow confetti, thrown by employees working in Ayala’s skyscrapers, to show support for Cory Aquino and defiance of the Marcoses.
Makati became a city in 1995.
Museo ng Makati’s second unique feature would be its “living” exhibits. It hosts cultural presentations, sketches, and arts and crafts demonstrations showcasing the uniqueness of the different regions of the country. (The Philippine islands are politically, geographically and ethnologically divided into 17 regions.)
The third interesting fact about Makati museum is its history. Compared to other, nearby museums, it is relatively very young.
In 1918, Makati, which was then just a municipality, built its first Town Hall. It was made of stones and looked like a museum, but was concretized in 1934 by Mayor Nicanor Garcia. In 1961, the Town Hall functioned as the municipal library. Next to occupy it was the Philippine Eye and Ear Infirmary. Finally, in March 1990, Mayor Jejomar Binay and the Municipal Council restored the old Town Hall and converted it into a museum. This became the Makati Museum. It was restored again in 1991, and in June 1993, administration of the museum was handed over to the City Museum and Cultural Affairs Office.
Museo ng Makati is open from Monday to Friday at 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It is located at the corner of JP Rizal St. and Mabini St. and admission is free.