How many times have we all boarded a bus with our entire elementary or high school batch to go on a field trip? I don't think I still remembered mine but everyone was always excited to get out of class and spend the day on a fun adventure. Well, one of the most famous field trip spots in the metro is the National Museum.
The National Museum has always been one of the most important destinations that students, tourists and all art and culture enthusiasts go to. Situated along P. Burgos Street in Manila - where cultural and historical sites like the Manila City Hall, Rizal Park and Manila Hotel are also located - the structure was erected dating back to the early 1900. What once was the home of Philippine Congress now holds the National Art Gallery and other remnants that tell the history of the Philippines.
When I first went to the museum as a student, what amazed me the most was the painting of Juan Luna. I was so captivated with the magnificence of the "Spolarium". I am neither an enthusiast nor an expert on art but I appreciated how the colors looked so alive with the images so vividly portrayed. It was both an educational and enriching experience that I could never forget.
Jumping to the present, more than a decade after that field trip, I stepped once again inside the museum. This time, I was no longer a student looking around, playfully peeping through the different rooms of the building.
I had a meeting with the very cool, smart and composed director of the National Museum, Mr. Jeremy Barns. After meeting with him in his office, he offered to give something sort of a tour to show the renovations and improvements being done in the museum. Honestly, I wasn't prepared for what was waiting for me to see.
On the fourth floor of the building was a grand hall that, as I recall through the explanations made, was the former session hall. I was blown away with the fact that a room with such grandeur in history was hidden inside the museum. I felt like I was transported to a medieval period inside the court of kings and queens. As I looked up, the ceiling area was filled with different sculptures adding more artistic touch to the room.
The room had a second floor balcony inside. On the balcony was a sculpture of the head of Quezon. Renovations are being done to improve everything from lighting, ventilation, paint and structure. It was my first time to enter the room and I was literally speechless. If this was my reaction as it is currently being fixed, what more will my sentiments be when I see the final outcome?
While I was walking around taking photos of the hall, I had a thought, "Why do we Filipinos constantly travel abroad to appreciate other country's arts and museums?"
In foreign lands, people pride on their historical landmarks, art and artists poking the interests of foreigners to travel all the way to visit their country. Why won't we as Filipinos promote our own artists and museums more? This way, we show the extraordinary talents and works of our Filipino geniuses.
In the same way, I hope the government look into more projects further highlight the rich culture and history of this country. I hope we do not allow the younger generations to grow up not knowing or appreciating the facts and details that make them Filipino.
I hope that with the improvements being made to the museum, we find time to visit our own historical landmarks and explore the history that molded us and our heritage.
I applaud Mr. Jeremy Barns and the people behind the National Museum in their consistent efforts in reviving the beauty and importance of the museum.