The culture of The Philippines often cuts across as nebulous to the rest of the world. Like it is nice and all, but what is it really? Coming up with one word is like trying to baptize a cat. 

But hey, when you have over 7,000 islands, each with a rich and unique culture and heritage, how the fuck can you complain?

If we are tapestry, the explosion of colors will blind you. If we are candy, we are a bowl of M&M’s and Skittles combined. If we are animal shit, call the vet because this unicorn has the runs. Oh wait, that certainly came out wrong.

But seriously, a lifetime may not be enough to unravel the mysteries of this country. I can only hope to make the most of my opportunities and my visit to the National Museum and Museum of the Filipino People in Manila proves to be a step in the right direction.

Let us take a quick walk, shall we? Bring snacks. 



Say hello to the Spolarium by Juan Luna. So grand! This may be the most popular painting done by a Filipino. Made in the 1880’s, it depicts the abuses of colonizer Spain to The Philippines.
Following is the original script of our ancestors. It pains me that this entire alphabet is LOST. I just want to kick the ever living tomato sauce out of the one responsible for the obliteration of this art.

Last is a traditional Ifugao house. Like an attic except the rest of the house doesn’t exist. Mind you, inside it has two floors! Talk about economy of space. The Ifugao is a tribe in the North. They are farmers and warriors. 

Our ancients prepare the dead in so many ways, just like how each province has its own adobo recipe. Presenting the Manunggul Jar from the 700 BC unearthed in Palawan. Burn the dead and stuff them in a jar. For good measure, add two figures on the lid to ferry the dead to the afterlife.





Can you guess what the first photo is? A coconut grater from Mindanao. Imagine Bobby Flay using this in the kitchen cooking brunch! 

Next is a spinning wheel, a drum used to call for prayer, kuomintang musical instrument, and royal bed. The bed is sensational! It makes me think of an enormous buttermilk toast that will make all my dreams come true. 

All these came from the south. Mindanao is largely the muslim part the country. 




These are the loot from the sunken San Diego Galleon. I loved how the plates and jars are such big ass huge. One serving of chicken fried rice, please! 

But the best part of this gallery are the chicken bones and hazelnuts retrieved from the ship. Ancient chicken bones, how cool! 



Crabs. These are crabs and not the Kraken discovered in The Philippines. 



Finally, our enduring love affair with rice. Three freaking good meals a day. There is no living without it.

There you go, everyone. This concludes the tour of these Manila museums. Come back soon and leave a tip below!



    1. making culture bearable for one day, lawrence. thanks! but seriously, i fancy museums. i went to a couple here in cebu, plus an art gallery. really cool places. makes me feel like i am adulting, visiting these places.


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