Metropolitan Museum of Manila: Philippines’ premier museum of modern art Bangko Sentral ng PIlipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila Tel. 632505271; 225237855 E-mail: [email protected]
Built in 1976, it is one of those structures with brutalist architecture that cropped up during martial law. It has been billed as the country’s premier museum of Filipino contemporary and experimental art. It is partly subsidized by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
Its collection includes pre-Hispanic goldwork and pottery; Félix Resurrección Hidalgo paintings; Russian ikons; works by Filipino contemporary artists such as BenCab and Pacita Abad; prints by Jasper Johns, Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg.
Permanent exhibits are “Classical Gold and Pottery from Precolonial Period” in the basement galleries; and “The Philippine Contemporary: To Scale the Past and the Possible,” modernist and abstract paintings, in the upper galleries.
The ground floor holds rotating exhibitions. Ongoing through this month is “Configuring Philippine Prints,” featuring pieces from the BSP Collection, highlighting works of pioneering artists Manuel Rodriguez Sr., Rod Paras-Perez, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya.
With “Art for All” as motto, the museum has “extensive outreach programs in nontraditional venues” and maintains “a strong relationship with the academic community.”
It is open from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Gold and pottery galleries close at 4:30 p.m.
Guided tours for the visually impaired on Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Free admission on Tuesday.
Lopez Museum & Library: Steward of Philippine art and artifacts
G/F, Benpres Bldg., Exchange Rd. cor. Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City Tel. 6359545 and 6312417 (museum); 6312425 (library) E-mail: [email protected]
The six-story modernist structure, built in 1969, looks lost amid the high-rises of Pasig’s business center. Its generic façade belies the extravagant trove inside, and it is a heritage building.
Founded in 1960 by industrialist Eugenio Lopez Sr., the museum functions as a heritage institution as it houses major Philippine artworks, important documents, rare books, antiquarian maps. It is like a small-scale merging of the National Museum and the National Library.
On the library collection, a note says: “Consisting of over 19,000 Filipiniana titles by about 12,000 authors, it houses an invaluable collection of Philippine incunabula, rare books, manuscripts, dictionaries, literary works in Western and vernacular languages, religious tracts, periodicals, newspapers, coffee-table volumes, academic treatises, contemporary writings, maps, archival photographs, cartoons, microfilms.”
It holds the Ilocos edition of “Doctrina Cristiana,” Pedro Chirino’s “Relacion de las Islas Filipinas” and key editions of Antonio de Morga’s “Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas.” It has books of Philippine imprints dated as old as 1597.
The art collection has had a very strong foundation. Its first curator was historian Renato Constantino, from 1960 to 1972. It was at this time Lopez, in consultation with collector Alfonso Ongpin, acquired works by Juan Luna, Félix Ressurrección Hidalgo and Fernando Amorsolo.
When Lopez’s youngest son Roberto took over, the collection, supervised by artist-critic Rod Paras-Perez, added works of Philippine Modernism.
By the time Eugenio Jr. took the helm, from 1993 to 1999, the art acquisition was on what must be its most important phase: key works of national artists.
Exhibits ongoing through Dec. 23 are “Two Halves of a Whole,” a retrospective show of Juvenal Sansó’s paintings and prints and “Exposition,” art installations by Cian Dayrit, Liv Vinluan and Lightning Studies: CTCCCs.
Lopez Museum & Library is open from Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Plan ahead to beat the terrible traffic, especially during rush hours in that area.