In the first museum, there were 11 galleries all in all including the old House of Representatives session hall that showed 2 big paintings, one being Juan Luna’s famous Spolarium. The 1st gallery featured the Philippines religious art from the 17th to 19th century. It contained various paintings, carvings and images of saints or santos. Some displays were damaged but it naturally came from its old age and is not a problem in viewing. The 2nd gallery featured the historical political events that included the Basi Revolt.
The 3rd gallery is said to be the Philippine art of the academic and romantic period, in this gallery it featured mostly the great works of Juan Luna. It was nice seeing all the various works of Juan Luna and how abundant this museum is with his works. It’s nice how they also displayed the sculpture of the artist himself because of all the work he’s done. The 4th gallery is made up of works of 19th century Filipino sculptors notably Isabelo Tampinco y Lacandola and his successors.
This was one of my favourite galleries because these sculptures are like what I see only on the television or internet, I was glad that I had the chance to see something like this in person. Gallery V is the tribute to our national hero himself, Dr. Jose Rizal. The gallery included not only paintings and images of Rizal, but also his own work including 4 sculptures and one fine drawing. The display that caught our attention was Rizal’s fine drawing of a structure, it was literally a fine drawing because of the details of it and it made me appreciate how talented Rizal really is not only in writing but also in art.
Gallery VI contains the work of late contemporaries and artistic successors of the generation of Luna and Hidalgo including Amorsolo. One display here featured Fernando Amorsolo’s unfinished painting of a lady which included a chair and a table that had tools used for painting that is said to be his. The next gallery is contained the work of great Philippine modernists who were instrumental in setting bold directions for Philippine art from the 1930's into the decades of the post-war period.
Featured here are paintings like, The First Mass at Limawasa and The Planting of The First Cross. The last gallery didn’t have much inside it and we thought it was empty but this one was called the Museum Foundation Hall which is dedicated to the Progress of Medicine in the Philippines featured four large paintings by Carlos V. Fransisco and were declared national cultural treasure. The upper floor was closed as well as some galleries.
We then visited the second museum, The Museum of the Filipino People. In this museum, it was mostly a collection of artifacts, pots, scriptures, crafts and other material things that had association with our history of being Filipinos. It also showed the various animals and insects as well as the fabric or costumes used by Filipinos before and now. There were more people in this gallery than the art gallery we first visited so it was hard to see all of the displays because of the people crowding some of it.
One of the floors were closed or under construction. My overall experience in both museums was satisfying for my first time going there. I liked the art gallery more than the other museum, though it was also nice. I like how there were different galleries to make it easier to view with a “theme”. Though there were a lot of free space in some galleries where they could add more displays if ever they find more. I also like how the displays are from famous people like Jose Rizal or Juan Luna.
I just wish there were more variety in artists because it mostly focused on just a few artists and since it’s an art gallery, maybe they can include other forms of art like literature, music or dance. The place was well-organized and you could figure it out easily. I just wish the employees were more accommodating and friendly. But overall I think these two are good museums to go visit when you have the time, it may not be at par with international museums but it’s informative and satisfying, l would definitely go back with my family when I get the chance.