Philippine National Museum : National Art Gallery

For Travel Eat Pinas, the best way to know yourself is to have an idea about your past and the excellent way to know ourselves, about being a Filipino, is to travel back in time through the painting, sculpture, mural, and artifacts found in the National Museum of the Philippines.

The National Museum of the Philippines began as Insular Museum of Ethnology, Natural History, and Commerce under the Department of Public Instruction in 1901. Since then, the Museum was supervised by different Government division until 1966 when President Ferdinand Marcos designated the Museum as the lead agency for preservation and protection of the cultural properties of the Philippines.

National Museum of the Philippines

The National Museum of the Philippines is composed of four museums- National Art Gallery, National Museum of Anthropology, Planetarium and Regional Museums.

National Art Gallery or Museum of Fine Arts is located at the Padre Burgos Avenue, Ermita, Manila. 
The Museum’s building was designed as a public library by an American Consulting Architect of Bureau of Public Works and his assistant Antonio Toledo. Before the construction of the museum was finished, the Government decided to use the building for Legislature. In 1996, the Senate of the Philippines moved out of the building and was renovated and transformed into National Art Gallery of the National Museum.
Exhibits in the National Art Gallery are strategically positioned on the second and third level of the building.

Upon entering the building the statue of the late President of the Philippines, Manuel Roxas,  stood high and proud to greet the Museum’s guests.

Statue of former  President of the Philippines, Manuel Roxas.

The National Museum of the Philippines will not charge the guests any fees but large bags and carriers, pen, art materials and umbrella are not allowed inside the Museum.

The second level of the building is composed of galleries from the North and South Wing of the Building but most of the guests start the tour in the Old House of Representatives Session Hall.

The Old House of Representative Session Hall witnessed a lot of historical event in the Philippines including the 1934 Constitutional Convention headed by the former Senator Claro M. Recto.

El Asesinato del Gobernador Bustamante

The Hall houses the famous work of Juan Luna that achieved the first gold medal at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes during 1884 at Madrid, the Spoliarium,  and the largest work of Félix Resurrección Hidalgo, the El Asesinato del Gobernador Bustamante or The Assassination of Governor Bustamante.

Juan Luna’s Spoliarium.

Six galleries can be found on the South Wing of the second level of the building.

Gallery  I or the Luis I. Ablaza hall exhibits relics, statues, and paintings that show the faith and devotion of Filipinos to Christianity during the 17th to 19th century. The gallery also displays the retablo or altarpiece of Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Dimiao in  Bohol that is considered as a National Cultural Treasure.

Relic of Sta. Ana wooden statue by an unknown artist.
Side Altar of San Nicolas de Tolentino Church in Dimiao in  Bohol. 
Side Altar pf San Nicolas de Tolentino Church that was made during the 18th Century.

A Wooden statue of La Inmaculada Concepcion by an Unknown Artist.

Gallery II or the Via Crucis exhibits the Station of the Cross of La Purisima Concepcion Church in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. The painting in the exhibit was a masterpiece of an unknown master from Bohol.

The Station of the Cross, XIII Jesus is taken down from the cross, at La Purisima Concepcion Church. 

La Purisima Concepcion Church was damaged during an earthquake in Bohol in 2013 and had a massive destruction during the Typhoon Yolanda which happened a month after the earthquake. The church is undergoing restoration through the help of the National Museum.

The Station of the Cross at La Purisima Concepcion Church. 

Gallery III is known as the Paintings of the Philippine Colonial Tradition of the Sacred Arts. The gallery exhibits the paintings that show images of Saints and the Holy Family.

Early to Mid 19the century La Sagrada Familia by an unknown artist.
An early 19th-century painting of Nuestra Senora De La Consolacion by an unknown artist.

A Mid 19th-century oil canvas of San Buenaventura by an unknown artist.

On the corridors of Gallery III and IV are Academic and Neoclassical Sculptures.  The sculptures were made by 19th century Filipino Sculptor Master, Isabelo L. Tampinco,  and his sons, Angel and Vidal, who helped him carve the astonishing sculptures at the Old Senate Session Hall located at the third level of the Museum.  Along with the masterpiece of the Tampincos are the works of Graciano Nepomuceno, Anastacio Caedo, and Florentino Caedo.

 Academic and Neoclassical Sculptures along the hallway of National Art Gallery.
A statue of a child Jesus bearing his Sacred Heart by Graciano T. Nepomuceno.
Statue of San Martin De Porres and San Antonio De Padua by Vidal A. Tampinco, and El Nino Jesus by Isabelo Tampinco.

Gallery IV or the Paintings of the Philippine Colonial Tradition of Portraiture exhibits more than 30 portraits that showcase the status of the living and memories of the dead. The portraits were the masterpiece of painters coming from two generations- Severino  Flavier Pablo, Justiniano Asuncion, Simon Flores Y de la Rosa, Isidro Arceo, Hilarion Asuncion y Eloriaga, Vicente Villase
ñor and other unknown artists.

A 19th-century oil canvas of a portrait of the Mother and Son of Sy Jao.
A portrait of a Mother and Daughter by Hilarion Asuncion Y Eloriaga.

Gallery V or the Homage of Dr. Jose Rizal display the sculptures and paintings made by the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, and the artists who created paintings, portrait busts, and sculpture of the National Hero.

A copy of De La Imitacion De Cristo Y Menosprecio Del Mundo with Dr. Jose Rizal’s dedication to her wife, Josephine.

The Mother’s Revenge by Dr. Jose Rizal.
San Pablo el Ermitano by Jose Rizal.

Gallery VI is the Gallery of Paintings of Los Dos Pintores. Paintings made by Juan Luna and his friend and contemporary, 
Félix Resurrección Hidalgo.

Philippine Scene by Juan Luna
Don Luis Perez Dasmarinas and Fray Domingo de Salazar  by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo.

Philippine Scene by Juan Luna.

The North Wing of the Museum, on the other hand, houses five galleries.

Gallery VIII is the Silvina and Juan C. Laya Hall. Exhibits on the hall were made by Filipino Artists who wants to show the painful and hard life during the Imperial Japanese Occupation during 1941 to 1945, liberation of the Philippines by American and Filipino forces and the damage that happened in Manila during the war.

A Plea for Freedom from Fear by  Fermin Gomez.
Rape and Massacre in Ermita by Diosdado M. Lorenzo

Gallery IX are the collection of works of portraiture and Filipino types by artists under the classical realist school during 1903 to 1960 and works of artists that are the pioneer and prolific during that period. 

Portrait of Diosdado Macapagal as President and  Emmanuel Pelaez as Vice President by Isaac Eustaquio and Emilio Aguinaldo as Elder Statesman by Crispin Lopez.
Assorted studio furniture and items during the death of Fernando Amorsolo on April 24, 1972.

Gallery X is allotted to exhibit the Progress of Medicine in the Philippines. This hall houses the  National Artist Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco’s four large-scale painting of The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines that was once placed at the Philippine General Hospital entrance hall. The painting was, later on, declared a National Cultural Treasure and now being preserved by the museum.

One of the four large-scale painting of  Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco that was once placed at the Philippine General Hospital.

Gallery XI showcase the Drawings of Fernando C. Amorsolo. The gallery displays over 100 black-and-white pencil and ink sketches and oil studies of the National Artist before creating his masterpiece. Along with the sketches are the masterpiece of Amorsolo’s nephew, Cesar Amorsolo.

Various drawings of Fernando Amorsolo.

Gallery XII  houses the works of  National Artist of the Philippines for Sculpture, Guillermo E. Tolentino, collected by his family and Security Bank President Frederick Dy, Judy Araneta-Roxas, Ernesto and Araceli Salas, and Nestor Jordin.

Bust of Lapu-Lapu by Guillermo Tolentino.
Bust of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

The third level of the museum also has the North and South Wing Galleries and the prestigious Old Senate Session Hall

The Old Senate Session Hall was originally designed as a Museum but later on changed into the Senate Session Hall. Filipino Sculptor, Isabelo L. Tampinco and his sons Angel and Vidal, designed everything in the hall with classical sculpture and with a twist of his own taste of traditional Western elements and motifs of the neoclassical style.To date, different exhibits are being displayed in the hall.

Flavors That Sail Across The Seas, an exhibit in the Old Senate Session Hall.
Relic of a food container.
Map of the Philippines in the eyes of Pedro Murillo Velarde.

On the hallway of South Wing, Philippine Abstraction from the 1960s to 1980s that feature Artists from The Manila International Airport Authority  Collection and National Museum Collection were displayed.

Social Cancer by Jaime Montero
The 1960s to 1980s Philippine Abstract by prestigious Filipino Artist.
Gayuma or Enchantment by Cenon Rivera.

Gallery XIV is the Pillars of Philippine Modernism. This gallery exhibits  Philippine modern art from the 1920s to 1970s. Artist featured in this gallery are Victorio C. Edades, an artist who started the Modern Art in the Philippines,  paintings of Manuel Rodriguez Sr., Juvenal Sanso, Galo Ocampo and sculptures of Jose Alcantara and Philippine National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva.

The Family by Napoleon Abueva.
Holy Family by Federico Estrada.
An Old Woman with Mortal by Diosdado Lorenzo.

Gallery XV is dedicated to honoring the artworks of Emilio “Abe” Aguilar Cruz. On this gallery artworks of  Emilio “Abe” Aguilar Cruz and his contemporaries are being displayed.

Flags in Luneta Park by Emilio Aguilar Cruz. 
Memorabilia of Emilio Aguilar Cruz.

Seated Lady in Yellow Blouse by Emilio Aguilar Cruz.

Gallery XVIII
is another exhibit of 
Pillars of Philippine Modernism. The gallery display Philippine Modern Art dated from the 1940s to 1980s. Works of National Artist for Visual Art, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Jose Joya, Cesar Legaspi and Abdulmari Asia Imao, painter-sculptor, are in this gallery.

The Presentation of the Santo Nino in Cebu by Carlos Francisco.

Superstition by Cesar Legaspi.

On the Northeast hall of the third level  Social and Political Commentary artwork after the 1970s are being displayed.

Hulat Sweldo by Nunelucio Alvarado.
Justice Under Martial Law by Orlando Castillo.

Gallery XIX is another Pillar of Philippine Modernism gallery that consists of works of National Artists for Visual Arts, Hernando R. Ocampo,  Ang Kuikok and  Benedicto “Ben Cab” Cabrera dated the 1950s to 1970s.

Sabel by Benedict Cabrera.
Fish Forms by Ang Kiukok.

Gallery XX or the GSIS Northeast Hall. The hall consists of Government Service Insurance System, GSIS, valuable collection made by Juan Luna and Fernando Amorsolo.

Under the Mango Tree by Fernando Cueto Amorsolo.
Tindahan by Fernando Cueto Amorsolo.

Gallery XXI or the Uncommon Art of Glenn Bautista. The exhibit features the imagination and creativity of Glenn Bautista on his work of art.

The Uncommon Art by Glen Bautista
Surreal Sculpture II by Glenn Bautista.

Gallery XXIII or the GSIS Northeast Hall consists of works of  Modern and National Artist for Painting, Vicente S. Manansala.

Bayanihan by Vicente Silva Manansala. 
Paintbrush of National Artist Vicente Manansala.

Gallery XXV or the Philam Life Hall consists of the seven large paintings of Vicente S. Manansala for the  Philippine-American General Life Insurance Company during the 1960s. The paintings were once displayed at the Philam Life Building in U.N Avenue, Ermita, Manila.
Kalabaw by Vicente Manansala.
Manok by Vicente Manansala.

The National Museum of the Philippines’ 
National Art Gallery or Museum of Fine Arts is a great venue where Filipinos and other nationalities can learn more about the Philippines’ rich culture and history through the work of art of prestigious and world class Filipino Artists.

The National Museum of the Philippines is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

To know more about the 
National Art Gallery or Museum of Fine Arts you may visit the following website and social media accounts,





(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Published by traveleatpinas

Established in 2016, Travel Eat Pinas serves as a venue to share destinations in the Philippines where travelers can have a one-of-a-kind gastronomical experience, adventure, and soothing recreational activities. Travel Eat Pinas also feature EVENTS about food, travel, and lifestyle; must use ESSENTIALS and easy-to-follow RECIPES that you can make for your loved ones.

29 thoughts on “Philippine National Museum : National Art Gallery

  1. It looks like a very interesting museum. It's funny the building went from library to legislative building to eventually the proposed museum. We visit our local library a few times a year here.


  2. I love visiting museums whenever I travel, it's a great way to get to know a country's history. In this case, it's awesome to get to know the art throughout the years. I think it's a lovely experience.


  3. Oh wow, this museum looks so awesome! I love visiting museums (I've planned whole vacations around them!). I love seeing how things were in the past, it's like stepping back in time.


  4. Wow the National Museum of the Philippines looks like a real treasure trove of fine art and history. I would love to visit it one day! Thanks for sharing such a detailed walkthrough of the museum!


  5. What an awesome museum. Too bad we didn't see it on our Philippines visits. We spent most of our time on the beaches and mountains, which are irresistible and amazing. But next time were in Manila we're going to check this museum out.


  6. I love going to museums in places I visit just for this reason to see all the amazing history. The Philippines is just rich with incredible history. Would love to go one day soon.


  7. The museum covers a variety of facets of the country in detail. The history and culture is very interesting and i think everyone visiting Philippines should start with this museum and then go on to see rest of the coutnry.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: