Established in 1901, the National Museum of the Philippines or the National Museum of the Filipino People is the guardian and repository of the natural and cultural heritage of the Philippines. Located in Luneta Park at the capital Manila, the ethnography and natural history museum was designed in 1918 by the American architect Daniel Burnham, following a Neo-American colonial style.

The National Museum (Photo by Rosa Paulina Anajao)

Departments

The museum is composed of the former Congress and Finance buildings. The former Congress building hold the natural sciences, arts, and other support divisions, while the adjoining Finance building in Rizal Park contain the anthropology and archeology departments.

Collections

A preserved Philippine eagle

The museum’s anthropology division houses 10,000 artifacts, such as boats and architecture, which come from different ethnic groups in the Philippines. The archeology department showcases prehistoric art such as earthenware and jewelry. The highlight of this division is a collection of 17th century porcelain, jewelry, coins, and armaments recovered from the sunken Spanish galleon San Diego. The arts division, which hold summer art classes for children, feature artworks by and biographies of Filipino painters, sculptors, graphic artists, photographers, and national artists, among others.

The botany division displays 17,000 specimens of flora species in the country. For fauna, the zoology department has a wide collection of preserved insects and stuffed animals and birds. The geology department exhibits a collection of stones and minerals found on Philippine soil, while the Planetarium has a projector that can project millions of stars to a dome. The projector can show constellations from past, present, and even the future.

Apart from permanent collections, the museum hosts roaming and temporary exhibits, as well as workshops and cultural performances all-year-round.

(1) Benguet mummies being preserved by the museum (2) Stone Age tools

How to get there

The National Museum is located at P. Burgos St., capital Manila. Taxis (flag down rate: P30) from anywhere in Manila are the easiest means to get there. Alternatively, one can also ride LRT Line-1, get off in Central Station, and take a long walk straight to the museum itself, which is just in front Manila City Hall. Alternatively, one can ride a jeepney (P7) in front the city hall. To get to the jeepney terminal in front Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, go down the underground pass from the city hall. The queue is right beside the entrance at the other side of underground pass. Ask the jeepney driver to drop you off in front the museum, which is just three to five minutes away from the terminal. You have to cross the street to get to the museum.

Pre-historic burial jars

Fees and opening hours

The museum’s regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday including holidays but excluding December 25. Most exhibits close at 4 p.m., so it’s better to visit during daytime. Entrance to the museum is P100 for adults and P30 for students, children and seniors (upon presentation of a valid I.D.). Every Sunday, visit to the museum is free of charge for Filipinos.

Group visits should be arranged by telephone (Tel. 5270213) or in writing a week or a day in advance via the office of Mrs. Elenita D.V. Alba, Curator II, Museum Education Division at Room 210. The museum can accommodate only one group at a time. Allot at least an hour for the tour and arrive at the museum not later than 11 a.m. or 4 p.m.

For the Planetarium, the shows are held every 9-10 a.m., 10:30-11:30 a.m., 1:30-2:30 a.m., and 3:30-4:30 pm every day, including holidays. The show needs at least 15 people to start. The facility can accommodate a maximum of 310 people at a time and it is open to ages 4 and above. Entrance fee is P30 for adults and P20 for children and students.

Folk artist Grace Nono performing at the National Museum (Photo by Glenda Liza Reginaldo)

Contact details

For more information about the museum, visit: http://philmuseum.tripod.com/index. E-mail: nmuseum@i-next.net, Tel. No. 527 12 15, Fax No. 527 03 06.

For the planetarium: Address: P.Burgos St., Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines 2801, Tel No. (632) 527-18-30, E-mail: planet@fastmail.i-next.net. Look for: Mr. Maximo P. Sacro Jr. (curator).


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