Museum Guide: National Museum of Natural History in Manila 

National Museum of Natural History Manila facade by Manager27 via Wikipedia cc

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY MANILA

The National Museum of Natural History is one of the most popular attractions for everyone who wants to learn more about the Philippines’ rich biological and ecological biodiversity. It contains a massive collection that beautifully depicts our country’s unique natural history.

National Museum of Natural History Manila facade by Manager27 via Wikipedia cc
National Museum of Natural History Manila facade By Manager27 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Just like any buildings within the beautiful city of Manila, the National Museum of Natural History has witnessed some of the most tragic moments in Philippine history. The building was constructed in 1940 as the Agriculture and Commerce Building. It was known to have an imposing facade featuring gigantic Corinthian columns and a grand staircase. It is said that the building had an identical twin during that time which was the Finance Building.

The dome of the building as seen near Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park by Judgefloro via Wikipedia cc
The dome of the building as seen near Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park By Judgefloro – Own work, CC0, cc

When the fateful events of World War II struck our country, the National Museum of Natural History’s old building was one of the most damaged structures during the war. In February 1945, the American forces bombarded the building with heavy artillery for three (3) straight days. They targeted the blasts on the ground floor of the building to pulverize the lower sections until the second floor just collapsed onto the ground. Years later, the building became part of the government’s post-war rehabilitation program.

There has also been a time where the building was used as an office of the Department of Tourism. But it was in 2013 when the rehabilitation program that was intended to transform the building into something more functional and more fitting to its historical value started. Thanks to the government’s unwavering efforts, the building opened its doors on June 28, 2016, to the public as the new venue of the National Museum of Natural History. What was once an old and frail building now became a modern architectural wonder that houses some of the Philippines’ most beautiful botanical, geological, and zoological collections.

The Philippines, as we all know it, is one of the most blessed tropical countries in the world. We have countless natural wonders that are truly breathtaking. From our majestic mountain ridges, mesmerizing waterfalls, sparkling rivers, thriving forest ecosystems, and world-class beaches, there are definitely a lot of things to be proud of in our country’s natural history. The Philippines is also known to possess remarkably thriving wildlife where a few rare species of animals can be found such as the Philippine Eagle, Tarsier, the Philippine Crocodile, and a whole lot more!

Well, I’m sure that once you visit the National Museum of Natural History, you will absolutely learn a lot of things and also have fun at the same time!

Attractions

The National Museum of Natural History is home to 12 permanent galleries that feature the rich geological and biological diversity of the Philippines. To guide you better on what things to expect during your memorable visit to the museum, here are some of the must-see attractions of the National Museum of Natural History.

The Tree of Life

The museum’s center of attraction is no other than the famous Tree of Life. It is situated at the very center of the National Museum of Natural History. This amazing structure is said to proudly connect all of the thriving ecosystems in the entire country. Everything. From our majestic mountain ridges, evergreen forests, thriving tropical islands, and stunning marine and coral reefs. It is a humongous structure that’s really worth seeing. I wouldn’t miss it if I were you!

The Zoology Division

Back then, each of the National Museum of the Philippines’ divisions had its own space and building to display its stunning collections. But after the fateful events of World War II happened and the amazing transformation of the National Museum of Natural History took place in 2016, some divisions were grouped together.

Skeletal remains of Lolong by Judgefloro via Wikipedia cc
Skeletal remains of Lolong By Judgefloro – Own work, CC0, cc

If you’re coming to visit the National Museum of Natural History, it’s absolutely a must that you try and explore the Zoology Division. This division houses an enormous collection of the Philippines’ entire animal kingdom. From Common Species, Rare Species, Birds, Fishes, Crustaceans, Mammals, Corals, and Insects are all present in the Zoology Division.

This is also the place where you can learn more about some of the country’s most important animal species such as the Endemic Species and Red List Species which pertains to the animals that are at a high risk of extinction.

The Botany Division

Another key attraction and museum collection you shouldn’t miss is the Botany Division. Of course, there’s also a gallery where you’ll be able to witness one of the grandest collections of plant species in the Philippines. Feel free to be in awe of the Botany Division’s Algal, Angiosperms, Bryophytes, and Gymnosperm Collections.

The division also features the Endemic and Fungal Species of the Philippines rich botanical biodiversity.

Operating Hours

The National Museum of Natural History Philippines by Ryomaandres via Wikipedia cc
The National Museum of Natural History Philippines By Ryomaandres – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

The National Museum of Natural History is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM. The museum doesn’t employ a lunch break in between the morning and afternoon sessions so feel free to maximize your time! Also, take note that the holidays affect the operating hours of the National Museum of Natural History.

It is recommended that you 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

Admission Fees to explore the National Museum of Natural History have been officially declared free of charge permanently by the national government. Whether you’re a Filipino or a foreigner, you can freely access the museum and explore the amazing works of our famous Filipino artists. The idea is to promote our country’s rich culture and history and to spark interest from all the incoming visitors, especially children.

Best Time to Visit

The National Museum of Natural History opens its doors to visitors starting at 10 in the morning. I’d recommend that you start exploring the museum as early as the opening time so that you’ll be able to maximize your tour. The museum has 12 different permanent galleries and to be able to go through all of them would take a considerable amount of time.

Moreover, it’s always better to be early! This way, you’d still have plenty of free time to explore other educational attractions around the beautiful City of Manila such as Rizal Park, Manila Ocean Park, or even watch the mesmerizing sunset on Manila Bay!

Directions

The exact address of the museum is P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila.  Accessing the National Museum of Natural History is definitely an easy task because almost everyone around the area knows where it is. Once you reach the National Museum of the Philippines landmark in Manila City, just ask the guards where the museum is and you’re good to go!

Moreover, 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. Finally, there are also a whole lot of options to reach the National Museum of Natural History because jeepney, bus, and train routes pass through the location of the museum.

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Read: Must Visit Museums In Metro Manila

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