An Appreciation Trip

It was a fair day, very ideal to leisure oneself or bask in the mild rays of the sun. I was excited because for the second time since my kindergarten fieldtrip about 17 years ago, I would again be able to visit the National Museum. I have always wanted to visit places that house treasures of the Filipino heritage, whether in its natural or manmade exquisite. However, I rarely get the chance to make it possible as I do not have someone to go with me who has the same interest. I came to realize that little do the Filipinos have an appreciation of our heritage even if some are kept just within the walls of the National Museum.

I brought my camera with me and was so excited to take pictures of whatever my eye for beauty may catch. Actually, even while I was yet walking towards Manila City Hall adjacent to the National Museum Building, I was already caught by the elegance of architectural style of the century-old buildings. I first came into the National Museum Main Building but was kindly directed by the attendant to the building across it when I asked about the Basi Revolt and Urban Landscape Exhibitions. It was a lazy day but it sprang up with cheer as I saw children held by their parents, guardians and teachers rushing excitingly towards the halls of the Museum of the Filipino People. They were having their field trip. Unfortunately, I learned that taking shots was prohibited so I had no choice but to leave my camera to the counter.

The Museum of the Filipino People houses artifacts from the San Diego, a Manila galleon that carried both Asian and Latin American cultural influences especially in material form through its trade route encompassing the maritime trail from Manila to Acapulco, vice versa. The pieces seemed to be so preserved. As I got closer to the gigantic anchor, I felt so excited as it was also my first time to see an anchor that close. I was like those children learning history by actual display of historical materials from the past. The museum also contains collections of furniture, jewelry, implements, religious images and the traditional lifestyle of the so-called, Lowland Christian groups.

The Citilimits gallery showcased “scenes from the urban landscape”of the metropolis. It displayed works of art with themes classified into Urban Poor, Crime Rate, Plaza Complex, and Intersection. There were photos depicting the corruption and decay of school facilities, messy public utilities, slumps, and other smokey parts of the urban landscape. It may in some way be considered a critique  to the social degradation and deterioration as crime rate continually increases and corruption arises too. Citilimits also exhibits irony as albeit the religiosity of some folks, the society remains to be stagnant and drowned into this quagmire of poverty and social chaos. I strongly believe that Filipino religiosity, deeply rooted in their culture, is not the answer or the rope that can rescue people from drowning into this mess where they have been trapped into for many centuries. The continuing ignorance and hypocrisy of the Filipino running in their customs and some traditional practices could further deepen their state of destitution. They got trapped into their own ignorance, pretension and corruption.

The Aklasang Basi Gallery presents Esteban Villanueva’s Basi Revolt (1821) series of 14 panels and the works of Roberto Feleo. The paintings and other wooden wall sculptures depict the rebellion in Ilocos Norte from 1802-1807 involving the colonial government’s incitation of the basi, a sugarcane wine, treasured by the Ilocanos. The display marks the bicentenary of the event. Villanueva’s historical paintings contribute to the enrichment of the people’s knowledge of the countryside nationalism during the Spanish era. Using an art perspective, Feleo’s artworks show his critical mind and appreciation of history by use of creativity.

I am inclined to visual arts. It was easy for me to appreciate the creativity displayed in the artworks. But I must admit that some of them looked boring and timeworn, perhaps because of its traditional artistic style. In contrast to this, others may be seen as combination of western and native style in visual artistry. While I was walking in the exhibit hall, a short sentence tinted on a glass divider caught my attention. It runs  “Kill all the lords and ladies.” The Aklasang Basi must be so violent that even the so-called maharlika were executed. I am not certain of this so this pushes me to browse my history books again to check the details of this historical event.

My fun trip inside the museum was like an exciting exploration by use of a time capsule that brought me to different periods of Philippine history from the Galleon Trade to the Basi Revolt to the contemporary era of urban landscapes. After my almost-an-hour-long exploration inside the museum, I have decided to leave the place to inhale some “fresh air” in the Park. Directly outside the entrance/exit of the museum, I saw a kalesa which reminded me of how rich the Filipino culture really is. Walking at the Luneta was fun too looking at cheerful folks, and lively youth groups relaxing on a fair day. Jeepneys passing along kalesas and smiling people – I think, these are the real and actual display of Filipino culture that can never be limited in frames and in the halls of any museum.

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6 thoughts on “An Appreciation Trip

  1. mara: i dunno but its sad that we filipinos have lil appreciation talaga for these works… hehe

    donya: hahahaha! honga, at ngayon lang ako nakareply. bukas yan everday yata pero tuwing sunday, libre siya! 30 yan sa students and 100 yata pag totoong tao. hahahaha

    arnel: its nice to have you here! and thanks for the compliment. 🙂

    Happy New Year!

    God bless! 🙂

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