Metro Manila is a home to numerous historical repository in the Philippines, but it is at the heart of the metro where you can find four of its finest. Near kilometer zero, the old Finance Building houses the National Museum and just across is the National Art Gallery at the former House of Congress.
The National Museum is the nations official repository for anthropology and archeology. Its priced collection includes the cargo of the sunken San Diego Galleon who fought the Dutch Fleet until it sunk near the coast of Fortune Island in 1600. The cargo includes a vast collection of blue and white porcelain of the Ming Dynasty, Martaban Jars, cannon balls and old naval equipments. If Egypt has its pyramids, The Philippines has its ship wreck that served as time capsules of the past. Other collections also includes recovered items from other shipwreck found near Spratly and Palawan Islands. Potteries from Siam, Cambodia, Vietnam are also exhibited on the gallery.
Ancient burial sites also contains some of the most preserved artifacts in the Philippines. The most famous is the Manuggul jar found at the back of the 1000 peso bill,it is housed in this museum. Speaking of bills, you don’t need to spend a single penny to catch a glimpse inside this museum,it s usually free every Sunday.
The National Art Gallery housed the Spoliarium, its counterpart to Mona Lisa of Louvre. It was painted by Juan Luna and won him a gold medal at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884. The 13×23 feet painting stands inside the former Plenary Hall displayed together with other paintings of Juan Luna and Félix Resurrección Hidalgo.
Unknown to many, inside BSP compound there are 2 museums and a small fort constructed during the Spanish Era. The Metropolitan Museum ofManila, better known as “The Met” is a perfect example of a Philippine Art Deco Building and was designed by Juan Arellano. In every visit at The Met it is a must stop to go down to its vault and gaze at its permanent exhibit of 8th-13th Century Classical Gold and Pottery Collection. The collection icludes a 4.9 meter long golden necklace, the biggest golden barter ring ever found in the country and gold sash from the Surigao Treasure.The pottery collection dated 200 BC-900 AC made up of round bottomed cylinders, large burial jars, native dippers and goblets. At the back of The Met, a small Fort can be found,it was built at the original shoreline of Manila Bay before it was reclaimed during the time of Marcos. Beside The Met is the Mint Museum. Their collection does not only include Pinoy coins but ancient coins that dates back during the time of Jesus. Included in their collections are coins from ancient Greece and a silver Roman coin believed to be of same family to the silver coins given to Judas. My favorite among the many is a coin bearing the face of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos made of pure gold and silver and the largest Filipino bill in worth and width- a Php100,000 bill printed to mark our centennial celebration of independence.
Although most people finds it boring, visiting a museum just happens to be my past time.