Philippines, Philippines, Travel

Visiting the National Art Gallery

The bronze statue of Sergio Osmena stands at the entrance of the National Art Gallery. On the opposite side is the bronze statue of Manuel L. Quezon (which I was unable to photograph).

Hey it’s October! It’s Museum and Galleries Month in the Philippines and that means FREE ADMISSION to all museums and branches (The Planetarium, National Art Gallery, Museum of the Filipino People and the Museum branches all over the Philippines). The trip was organized by my friend Clarice and we all decided to go on a hot Saturday afternoon.
IMG_7531The museums are open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. You don’t need to book ahead of time but take it from me–weekends mean the entrance lines get really long. I’m happy we were able to get a free parking spot near the museum but the midday heat can just immediately drain your energy.


Cameras, mobile phones, tablets and wallets are okay. No food and drink can be brought inside the museum and you have to deposit your bag at the baggage counter by the entrance. Belt bags or small sling bags are allowed though. If you’re parked a bit far, bring a fan, an umbrella and some alcohol/sanitizer. You can pack these items in your small bag or choose to deposit them since the gallery is air-conditioned. If you plan go without a bag, please bring a pack of issues, spray sanitizer and paper soap. I don’t know if all restrooms have no tissue but the one that I went to had zero and no hand soap. 😉


You register first. If you’re visiting with a group, have one representative line up and write all your names and then you can proceed.

My friend and co-teacher Ruby, posing with the Spoliarium
My turn beside the Spoliarium

We started our tour at the Old House of Representatives Session Hall which has the huge Spoliarium painting by Juan Luna as the welcoming centerpiece. Juan Luna worked on the Spoliarium in Rome for eight months and submitted it to the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes where it won the First Gold Medal (1884).

The Luis I. Ablaza Hall (South Wing) houses religious art from the 17th to 19th centuries.
The Luis I. Ablaza Hall (South Wing) houses religious art from the 17th to 19th centuries.
A retablo from the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino (Dimiao, Bohol)
A retablo from the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino (Dimiao, Bohol)

I enjoyed the next gallery which is composed of various prints of plants and flowers from the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid. IMG_7511-001

IMG_7512-001 IMG_7515-001 IMG_7516-001

We then went to the gallery that held the works of Fernando C. Amorsolo, the first Philippine National Artist.


The gallery has over 100 drawings of seascapes, people, daily life and events.IMG_7493



According to the website of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts, nominations come in and are screened by the NCCA and the CCP. They then submit a list of recommendations to the President. The President issues a proclamation conferring the rank and title to the recommendees and then they are awarded during ceremonies organized by the secretariat.

The Award honors Filipinos who have distinguished themselves and made outstanding contributions to Philippine arts and letters. – National Commission for Culture and the Arts

Get all the details and read more here.

Our next stop was the Security Bank Hall which holds the works of Guillermo E. Tolentino.IMG_7497

Bust of Emilio Aguinaldo
The bust of Andres Bonifacio
Paint Box for outdoor painting used from 1968 to 1991. (Romulo Galicano) “As one of the founders of the “Dimaalang” group of painters that promoted impressionist and figurative styles, Galicano espoused painting outdoors and depicting scenes captured from real life observations. Galicano usually carried this wooden paint box and portable easel to paint to different sites. In 1991, he retired this box by painting on the inside lid and marking it for posterity.”

The Pillars of Philippine ModernismIMG_7532IMG_7531IMG_7533

Paint box for outdoor painting used from 1968 to 1991 (Romulo Galicano)
Paint box for outdoor painting used from 1968 to 1991 (Romulo Galicano)


Emilio Aguilar Cruz memorabilia

IMG_7522I’d love to share a lot more photos with you but it’s best that you visit the National Art Gallery yourself. Take advantage of the free admission for this month!

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