Ayala Museum

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Things to do


Date of travel

January, 2018

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Manila’s “Ayala Museum”:http://www.ayalamuseum.org/ was only a 10-minute walk from our “hotel”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/accommodation/183341-review-hotel-celeste and we visited on a free morning, paying 425 Peso/£7 each, which also gave us access to the temporary exhibitions.

At the modern museum, where photography was not allowed, we started on the 4th floor. Staff were always on hand to point us in the right direction and information boards were all clearly written and in English (thanks to the American influence). We started with the Gold Exhibition where a short film told the story of pre-Hispanic gold mining, before we wandered around the 1500 artefacts. Some of the smaller pieces had a magnifying glass over them so you could see the intricate detail. Many of the exhibits had only been discovered as recently as 1981 and there were field notes from the journal of the archaeologist. The artefacts consisted of jewellery, pots, funerary items etc. At one point, we were overrun by a group of Korean tourists, led by a loud tour guide: fortunately they didn’t linger and had probably left the museum, or even the city, before we’d left the top floor.

Next was an exhibition on various tribes and textiles before we moved on to a large collection of ceramics. A film told us more about the various individual collections and where they came from in South East Asia (mainly China, Thailand and Vietnam). The fact they’d all been found in the Philippines, demonstrated how much the country had traded with its neighbours before being invaded by Spain. Rather oddly, there was sole Staffordshire blue and white plate amongst all the South Asian ware.

On the third floor were two art exhibitions by the Zobel and Asuncion families: the latter couple had 12 children over 27 years. There were also some interesting sculptures and a pigs’ head made of Barbie-like doll body parts.

The main attraction was the second floor where 60 dioramas charted the history of the Philippines from Pre-Hispanic times through to the current day. At one stage I donned a visor which provided moving images and sounds telling the story of the Rizal execution from three viewpoints: a by-stander, and executioner and Rizal. At the end were two interesting videos about the Marcos era and beyond.

On the ground floor a temporary art exhibition had paintings of various Filipinos.

We were in the Museum about three hours and felt we’d got our money’s worth. We finished at the café outside where a latte and espresso at 450 Peso/£7.50 did not offer VFM. However, it overlooked a ‘Yarn Bomb, Knit Bomb’, where tree trunks and lamp posts were decorated with knitting and crochet to form what was named a ‘retro walk utilising old fashioned skills and fabrics.’

Helen Jackson

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