Travel Guide: National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila 

National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila by Jsnueva1022 via Wikipedia cc

The National Museum of Fine Arts Manila, Philippines

The National Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most important historical and cultural establishments in the country. Founded in 1998, the museum houses an extensive collection of paintings and artworks by several classical Filipino artists like Juan Luna, Guillermo Tolentino, and Félix Resurrección Hidalgo. Formerly known as the National Art Gallery, this huge museum is located on the eastern side of Rizal Park where the National Museum of Anthropology is also situated.

National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila by Jsnueva1022 via Wikipedia cc
National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila by Jsnueva1022 via Wikipedia cc

To this date, the National Museum of Fine Arts is owned and operated by the governing body of the National Museum of the Philippines. But in the year 1921, it was a completely different story. The museum, as we know it now, used to be known as the Old Legislative Building which is a neoclassical building that housed several legislative bodies throughout the history of the country. This fact alone gives tourists an idea of how significant the National Museum of Fine Arts is not only in our culture but most especially in our history.

In 1945, the building fell victim to the crisis and violence of World War II. When the Japanese forces bombed the city of Manila, the old building was one of the casualties. It was completely destroyed and beyond repair except for the iconic central portion which remained standing. After the war, the U.S. Philippine War Damage Corporation decided to rebuild the building to serve as the house of Congress.

Senate Session Hall of the National Museum of Fine Arts by Joelaldor via Wikipedia cc
Senate Session Hall of the National Museum of Fine Arts By Joelaldor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Another significant event that the National Museum of Fine Arts witnessed is the declaration of Martial Law in 1972 where it was renamed the Executive House. During this time, the building housed several significant offices in the government such as the Prime Minister, Ombudsman, Sandiganbayan, and the National Museum of the Philippines.

These are only a glimpse of how historically significant the National Museum of Fine Arts really is, which only makes it more worthy of visiting!

Attractions

The National Museum of Fine Arts features the largest collection of the Philippines’ most important paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, sculptures, and other memorabilia in history. If you want to see them in person, then visiting the National Museum of Fine Arts is the perfect place for it.

Spoliarium

The Spoliarium by Juan Luna by Marco Collado via Wikipedia cc
The Spoliarium by Juan Luna By Marco Collado – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, cc

Probably the most famous artwork in the entire Philippine history is the Spoliarium. This monumental artwork by Juan Luna y Novicio sparked the curiosity and creativity of many Filipino artists and historians today. The Spoliarium is also considered a National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines which makes it a very important piece of our country’s culture and history.

La Iglesia Contra El Estado

Another notable piece of artwork that played a huge role in inspiring the revolution of Filipinos is an amazing painting by Felix Resurección Hidalgo. The La Iglesia Contra El Estado or The Church Against the State is a painting depicting the violent encounters between Governor Fernando Bustamante and the Spanish Friars of Manila.

These kinds of paintings are what made Felix Hidalgo an enemy of the Spanish Government because he intends to show the bad side of Spanish Friars to the Filipino people.

Filipino Struggles Through History

This enormous masterpiece by Carlos V. Francisco clearly depicts the saga of the Filipino at the hands of foreign invaders throughout the centuries. It tells the story of all the hardships, sacrifices, and problems faced by the Filipino people. This amazing painting is currently on loan to the National Museum of Fine Arts courtesy of the Manila City Council.

These three (3) spectacular masterpieces are only a glimpse of the enormous collection of countless masterpieces ever made in the history of our country. There are also other significant artworks on display such as the Una Bulaqueña, Alimentando Pollos, and the famous series of The Basi Revolt.

Operating Hours

The National Museum of Fine Arts is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 AM to 4 PM. There’s usually a lunch break in between the morning session and afternoon session so it’s better to plan your tour ahead. Also, take note that the holidays affect the operating hours of the National Museum of Fine Arts.

You can also book an online reservation to conveniently explore the museum with ease. This way, you’ll get to plan your tours ahead of time and maybe go visit other nearby museums too!

To access the online reservation form of the National Museum of the Philippines, click here!

Ticket Prices

The best part about exploring the National Museum of Fine Arts is that it’s permanently free of charge for all kinds of visitors. Whether you’re a Filipino or a foreigner, you can freely access the museum and explore the amazing works of our famous Filipino artists.

Best Time to Visit

If you want to explore the entire city of Manila and fall in love with its unparalleled beauty, I’d say that the best time to visit the National Museum of Fine Arts is in the morning at 9 AM. This gives you a chance to maximize your time and appreciate all the amazing artwork on display.

Being an early bird also gives you a chance to visit nearby tourist landmarks of Manila such as Rizal Park, Roxas Boulevard, and other museums as well as the National Museum of Anthropology and National Museum of Natural History.

You have to keep in mind that there’s a lunch break in between the morning and afternoon session of the National Museum of Fine Arts tour! Oh, and there’s no required dress code so I suggest that you wear something comfortable so that you’ll be able to move around easily.

Directions

Accessing the National Museum of Fine Arts is absolutely an easy task because almost everyone around the area knows where it is. The exact address of the museum is P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila.

There are also multiple ways to reach the National Museum of Fine Arts by land such as riding the buses, trains, and jeepneys. There are countless routes traversing through the museum so I’m sure that you’ll easily spot it. Moreover, if you’re traveling by private car, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to reach it faster with the assistance of online travel guides such as Waze and Google Maps.

FAQ

What can be found in the National Museum of Fine Arts?

A government-operated Art Museum, the National Museum of Fine Arts houses a vast collection of artworks by well-known Filipino artists.

Want more updates about other Museums and Art Galleries in Metro Manila, Philippines? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on FacebookTwitterInstagramBloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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  1. Reyn says

    i miss eating Tempura :'((

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