Mabuhay tour guide, Yael Fernandez, trained by the Philippine Department of Tourism, tells us which museums in Manila are a must-see.
(As told to Oggie Ramos, Inflight, February-March 2010)
1 MALACANANG MUSEUM
This museum is located at the heart of the Malacañang Palace Complex--at the Old Executive Building built in 1920.
Moving from one exhibit to the next is like leafing through the pages of Philippine political history – from the Spanish era displays at the Old Reception Room Gallery to the EDSA People Power Revolution mementos at the East Staircase Gallery.
The Gallery of Presidents of the Philippines at the Main Hall on the second floor has a huge collection that includes official state gifts.
Try out Ivan Man Dy’s “Power, Palace and a Shot of Beer” tour covering Malacañang Palace Museum, San Miguel Mansion Row, Plaza Liga Anti-Imperialista, Legarda Mansion and Basilica de San Sebastian.
Due to the Palace security procedures, you have to book your visit at least five days in advance.
Tours are on weekdays only. Visits are strictly by appointment only; fax the Director, Malacañang Museum at +632/ 784 4286 loc. 4722
2 BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS MUSEUM
A visit to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Money Museum takes you to a number of galleries dedicated to periods in the country’s history, with a narrative relating the development of the Philippine economy to the evolution of its currency.
The museums also showcase select paintings from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas art collection as well as artifacts.
On permanent display are collections of coins, paper notes, artifacts and monetary items found in the Philippines during different historical periods.
Yael recommends seeing the gold collection in the basement.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is located at A. Mabini corner P.Ocampo Street, Malate District, City of Manila. Tel: +632/ 524 7011. Visit http://www.bsp.gov.ph/about/facilities_money.asp
3 AYALA MUSEUM
For over 40 years, its handcrafted dioramas of Philippine history scenes have impressed visitors. But the Ayala Museum really has so much more to offer.
For the price of admission alone, the Maritime Vessels Collection of finely crafted ship models paying tribute to ancient boats is worth every peso you pay.
Add to that the museum’s fine arts collection, which includes paintings by Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, and Fernando Zobel, representing Philippine art from the late 19th to the 20th century.
Not to miss is the People Power Revolution Live Exhibit, retelling the story of Filipino people's peaceful revolt in the 80s that overthrew the oppressive Marcos regime.
Located at Makati Avenue corner dela Rosa Street, Makati City. Visit www.ayalamuseum.org Museum hours from Tuesday to Friday: 9am-6pm; weekends:10am-70m; closed on Mondays • Artist Space is open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm; weekends: 10am-7pm • 3rd Floor Shop is open during gallery hours, Tuesday to Friday: 9am-6pm; weekends: 10am-7pm
About Yael Fernandez
When the Philippine Department of Tourism embarked on a project to find and train a new generation of guides, more than 100 people applied. Some 51 were interviewed and only 24 applicants qualified for the Mabuhay Guides Foundation Course, and Yael Fernandez was one of them. She now works for Mabuhay Guides and shares some of her favorite spots in Metro Manila. Visit http://www.mabuhayguides.com/