BenCab Museum’s Erotica Gallery in Baguio City
The dawn breaks as I wake up in La Trinidad, the surrounding hills covered in deep fog. Sipping a cup of Kape Barako, I checked online for new places that have sprung up before venturing downtown.
Fog at La Trinidad
I see a place listed BenCab, which I initially thought was a taxi service. It was a museum situated in Tuba, Benguet with a lot of excellent reviews from its previous visitors. Filled with excitement, we added it to our itinerary and we’re off to start the day.
On the road
Coming from the city center and driving through Marcos Highway, we found it difficult to locate BenCab museum because of our faulty old-school GPS common sense. We just read online that it was located in Asin Road. After a couple of turns while navigating toward a treacherous and narrow downhill path, we see a couple of local Cordillera-inspired furniture shops.
The first painting we saw as we entered
Bulol Rice Gods
Sensing that we were getting close, I finally see the italicized red-fonted BenCab on the left side of the road. At first glance, I thought the museum was only on street level until I found out that it was cascading with the third floor at the bottom. Most overlooking multiple-tiered structures in Baguio are inversely constructed this way.
As we entered the intricately-designed gigantic door to the reception area covered in pristine white walls, we were greeted with a smile. After paying a hundred pesos each for the museum ticket, like little kids in a new playground, we were now ready to start our own unguided tour of the place and absorb all the art we were about to witness.
Gallery at Level 2
I learned that BenCab stands for Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, a multi-awarded National Artist and that this museum showcases not only his artworks but also of other local artists available in various forms (paintings, sculptures, photographs, art installations) and also his personal collection of indigenous Cordillera bulul (rice god sculpture), hagabi (long-wooden bench of the Ifugao), tribal weapons and artifacts. Despite being exposed to various art platforms around the world, I admire the Maestro’s fascination to our very own Cordillera art.
Among the several artworks on display, you surely can’t miss the Erotica Gallery, which houses sculptures and imagery on sex and fertility. Outside the gallery, a viewer discretion sign is posted specifically for minors and certain individuals. That certain individual, surely, isn’t me.
Modern Art Installation
One of my favorite wood sculptures
This creature looks confused
After immersing ourselves in creative energies and roaming around for almost an hour, it was time to eat and relax. Thankfully, they have Cafe Sabel, named after the Maestro’s muse, colorfully designed for the kid in all of us.
old school chairs in Cafe Sabel
Carbonara at Cafe Sabel
Not only do they have a variety of yummy salads, pastas and all-day breakfasts to offer, they also have their very own BenCab’s Brew. Surrounded by huge greenery with a nipa hut at the middle of the pond, the view outside the cafe is truly remarkable! After having a light snack, we walked around the eco-trail.
Souvenir shot outside the museum
The museum’s balcony
To avoid city traffic, we decided to call it a day. Going back up to the reception area, we checked out some souvenirs before heading out with a sense of wonder plastered in our faces.
The nipa hut in the middle of the pond
Overall, the museum experience exceeded my expectations. You don’t need to be an art connoisseur to truly understand and appreciate the beauty of the Cordillera culture. That’s why for all you strangers, remember that when you are in Baguio City, take a sneak peek at BenCab Museum!
Follow my other adventures at kingofsinulog.wordpress.com. Cheers!
Address: Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet, Philippines
Phone:+63 74 442 7165