We take you on a tour at some of the most important museums in the country that you must visit in celebration of the Museum and Galleries Month.

Casa Manila

A recreation of the rich, opulent life in Intramuros during the colonial period, Casa Manila is definitely on everybody’s list of must-see museums in the country. Besides its well-detailed façade, archways, grand staircases, and cobble-stoned pavements, it houses furnitures, ornaments, as well as religious and artistic artefacts that complete the time travel experience. 

However, Casa Manila was built only in the ‘80s through the initiative of the Intamuros Administration. It was modelled on the house of the prominent merchant Don Severino Mendoza in Binondo. Nevertheless, Casa Manila gives visitors a glimpse on the life during the 19th century and teaches the relation of social status with the architectural design of a house during that era. 

General Luis Street, Intramuros, Manila, +632.527.3135 

National Museum

As the biggest museum complex in the country today, National Museum houses most of the significant historical artefacts and art masterpieces. National Museum is divided into two buildings, the National Art Gallery inside the former Legislative Building and the Museum of the Filipino People found inside the former Agriculture Building.

When visiting the National Museum, don’t spoil your chance of seeing the huge Spoliarium painting by Juan Luna upon entering as well as numerous other masterpieces by Filipino artists varying from painting, sculpture, wood carving, and more. 

Across the old Legislative building is a smaller colonial-styled building which served as erstwhile office of Agriculture. Today, it stands as the Museum of the Filipino People and highlights the nation’s state in the different historical periods, from the Paleolithic Age up to the present. 

Padre Burgos Avenue, Ermita, Manila, +632.527.1215 

Pinto Art Museum

Dr. Joven Cuanang’s home-turned-art museum atop a hill in the beautiful countryside of Antipolo has been a venue for contemporary artists and budding art students for decades now. Pinto Art Museum is a haven of Filipino contemporary art and holds pieces that richly depict the nation’s culture and society today.

1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights Road, Antipolo, Rizal, +632.697.1015 

Museo ng Pelikulang Pilipino

Inside the recently opened Cinematheque Centre Manila, cineastes will be welcomed by an array of life-sized sculptures of six Filipino directors who deeply impacted the development of cinema in the country: Jose Nepomuceno, Manuel Conde, Gerardo de Leon, Lamberto Avellana, Ishmael Bernal, and Lino Brocka. Included in the exhibition are memorabilia of each filmmaker as well as an audio-visual presentation of their biographies and important film works. Moreover, the museum houses preserved artefacts of the cinematic heritage of the Philippines such as vintage analogue equipment used in the early days of cinema. 

Cinematheque Centre Manila, 855 Kalaw Avenue, Ermita

Museum of Arts and Sciences

The Main Building of the University of Santo Tomas holds a wide collection of religious paintings, with some by Galo Ocampo and “Carlos Botong” Francisco. But what makes this building more special is the Museum of Arts and Sciences that houses a collection of animal, mineral, and vegetable specimens and religious images made of wood and ivory that date back to the 16th century. The UST Museum’s collection was originally located in the Intramuros campus and then transferred to the Sampaloc campus in 1936.

Main Building, University of Santo Tomas, España Boulevard, Manila

Presidential Museum and Library

Established during the Macapagal administration, the Presidential Museum at Kalayaan Hall is now open connected to the Presidential Library and gives tourists a closer look on the lives of the Philippines’ past presidents and their respective terms. Inside the museum, be transported back in time with the different rooms named after some of the Presidents and styled according to their respective preferences. Moreover, campaign paraphernalias and other memorabilias of the former presidents are open to public viewing.

Kalayaan Hall, Jose P. Laurel Street, Malacañan Palace, Manila, +632.784.4286 

BenCab Museum

Built on a promontory, BenCab museum commands a breathtaking view of the adjacent garden, farm, hill and mini-forest, the surrounding mountains, and the South China sea in the distant west. The museum houses the collections of National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera—some are of his own works and some are from other acknowledged Filipino masters and rising contemporary artists. Most of the exhibited pieces encapsulate the artist’s advocacy of promoting indigenous arts and crafts of the Cordilleras. 

Kilometre 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet 

Museo Orlina

If you’re looking for more of internationally-acclaimed glass sculptor Ramon Orlina’s works, drive all the way to the scenic Tagaytay ridge and enter into Orlina’s art haven. Museo Orlina houses the prized works of the revered artist including its drafts, which gives the viewer a glimpse on the artistic process of each work. Besides this, the museum’s amphitheatre-styled garden and garage are adorned by installation art pieces that are made by other rising contemporary artists. 

Hollywood Subdivision, Tolentino East, Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road, Tagaytay, Cavite, +6346.413.2581 

Fundacion Sansó

Tucked in San Juan City is Fundacion Sansó, which holds collections of the various works of the Filipino master Juvenal Sansó. Besides being known for his modernist art masterpieces, Sansó has also worked as costume and production designer of French operas. This makes Fundacion Sansó a melting pot of the artist’s works in Europe and in the Philippines and showcases his spectacular landscapes inspired by Brittany and Matabungkay. 

32 V. Cruz Street, San Juan, Metro Manila, +632.952.1568

Vargas Museum

Inside the University of the Philippines Diliman campus is the Vargas Museum that holds Hon. Jorge B. Vargas’ collection of important Philippine artworks. The collection of the country’s first Executive Secretary includes works by late 19th century artists such as Lorenzo Guerrero, Simon Flores, Juan Luna, and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. There are also works by Fabian de la Rosa and Fernando Amorsolo from the 1930s and 1940s, as well as those done by artists belonging to the “Amorsolo School” like Jorge Pineda and Vicente Rivera y Mir. The collection also boasts of modernist works by Juan Arellano, Vicente Manansala, and many others.

The museum collection also comprises of outstanding works by female artists, recognised masters of semi-figurative art, UP graduates of the 1950s and 1960s, editorial drawings, cartoons, and caricatures. It includes pieces of Guillermo Tolentino and Graciano Nepomuceno, among other sculptors. 

Through this collection, Vargas Museum aims to contribute towards the appreciation of the country’s artistic heritage and to foster an awareness of the history of Philippine art.

Roxas Avenue, University of the Philippines Campus, Diliman, Quezon City, +63929.856.7909

Read more: Other Must-See Museums In The Philippines