Within a museum’s halls of history lies the grandness and richness of human culture and its legacy. Forget those compulsory museum trips back in school! Now is the time for that worthwhile experience! And, guess what? We’re inviting you to take a walk down the memory lane of Filipino heritage. As an added plus, we’re sharing info on some of the extraordinary and quirky museums in the Philippines. You’re welcome, folks!
1. University of Santo Tomas Museum of Arts and Sciences
Starting out as Gabinete de Fisica, an observation room of mineral, botanical and biological collections for science courses especially in Medicine and Pharmacy in the 17th century, the University of Santo Tomas Museum, known to be the oldest existing museum in the Philippines boasts of a vast collection. Preserved for over 300 years, the collection expanded to include cultural pieces and artifacts.
A large part of the UST Museum’s pieces are cultural artifacts indigenous to the Philippines, categorized into tribal musical instruments, three-dimensional artifacts and petrified animals. It even includes the chair Pope John Paul II sat in during his 1981 visit to Manila, leftover pieces from old Intramuros churches, gold pieces found all over the Philippines, household wares, weaponry, brass and metal crafts and burial jars.
Location: University of Sto. Tomas, Espana Boulevard, Manila
Opening hours: 08:30 AM to 05:30 PM from Tuesday to Saturday. 09:00 AM to 02:30 PM on Sunday and Monday
2. Ayala Museum
Located at the heart of the country’s business district, Makati City, the Ayala Museum is one of the most important and most visited private museums. It houses a large number of rare and priceless cultural and historical items not found elsewhere in the country.
For over 40 years, its handcrafted dioramas of Philippine history scenes have impressed visitors. But the Ayala Museum really has so much more to offer. The Maritime Vessels Collection of finely crafted ship models paying tribute to ancient boats is worth every visit. The museum’s fine arts collection, which includes paintings by Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, and Fernando Zobel, representing Philippine art from the late 19th to the 20th century, is not one to be missed. It also holds a small collection of ethnographic artifacts of Filipino minority communities that include tools, weapons, ritual objects, clothing, body ornaments and musical instruments.
Location: Makati Ave. cor. Dela Rosa St., Makati City
Opening hours: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.
3. Rizal Shrine
Being one of the most frequented historical and tourist sites in Laguna, Jose Rizal Shrine in Calamba has an average of 270,000 visitors annually. The museum is a replica of the ancestral house where Jose Rizal was shaped and molded and who would later become the finest expression of his race.
With the house destroyed during World War II, President Elpidio Quirino ordered the reconstruction of the national hero’s home through the supervision of National Artist, Architect Juan Nakpil. It was inaugurated in 1950. One of the known features of the Spanish-Colonial house is a deep well that has become a “wishing well” for tourists and visitors. It is home to various memorabilia, books, manuscripts and artworks that belonged to the Philippine national hero.
Location: Calamba, Laguna
Opening hours: 08:00 AM to 04:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday
4. The Mind Museum
It has five interesting galleries namely: (1) The Story of the Universe: Its Beginning and Majesty; (2) The Story of the Earth: Its Story across the Breadth of Time; (3) The Story of Life: The Exuberant Varieties of Life; (4) The Story of the Atom; The Strange World of the Very Small; and (5) The Story of Technology: The Showcase of Human Ingenuity—presenting science through five main stories.
All the exhibitions are originally designed by Filipino artists and fabricators who worked closely with both local and international scientists.
The Mind Museum is the first world-class science museum in the Philippines that makes everything you didn’t bother learning in grade school suddenly so fascinating.
Location: JY Campos Park, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City
Opening hours: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday
5. National Museum of the Philippines
The National Museum, officially the Museum of the Filipino People, in Rizal Park, Manila was originally designed as a public library in 1918 before it was inaugurated on July 16, 1926. In 2003, renovations started to transform it into the National Art Gallery.
The National Museum is the premier institution and repository of the Filipino heritage. Within its walls are National Art Gallery, Planetarium, and the regional museums. And, this massive museum offers an enriching visual experience for its visitors with its extensive archaeological, anthropological, botanical, geological and zoological artifacts and diverse artworks by local artists.
Location: Taft Ave, Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila
Opening hours: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday
6. The Dessert Museum
Looking for one-of-a-kind museums in the Philippines? Why not pay a visit to the colorful and tempting Dessert Museum? Believe us, this is not your grandmother’s typical museum. Here, you get to explore 8 rooms of sugar-filled bliss. As you swing, slide and explore these rooms, you’ll also be treated to a handful of luscious samples. And, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you’ll love the colors, decors and information shared inside one of the most fabulous museums in the Philippines. Isn’t that nice?
Location: Seaside Boulevard, Coral Way, Pasay
Opening hours: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM Daily
7. Bencab Museum
Visiting Baguio soon? Discover one of the most celebrated and artistic museums in the Philippines by visiting Bencab Museum. As you pay homage of this museum, you’ll see a diverse collection of artworks, highlighting the artistry of the indigenous people of the Cordillera region. From native weapons to lime containers, the museum is filled with stunning treasures from the past.
Location: 6 Asin Road, Tuba, 2600 Benguet
Opening hours: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday.
8. Upside Down Museum
Still on the lookout for quirky and mind-blowing museums in the Philippines? Then, make sure to include the Upside Down Museum to your list of must-visit museums in the Philippines! Colorful and weirdly wonderful, this Manila attraction offers an experience that not many museums in the Philippines can give. Known as one of the wondrous museums in the Philippines, it truly is a breeding ground for creativity as well as human relations. Not to mention, it’s a fun place for families, kids and groups while exercising your mind.
Location: Boom Na Boom Grounds CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd, Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila
Opening hours: 11:00 AM to 09:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday.
With all sorts of advancements today, people sometimes yearn to unwind and have a break. What you do to pause for a while and be reminded of simpler days? Visit a museum and go back in time! Trust us, you’ll love every second exploring these museums in the Philippines.
The Philippines is a country of interesting history and many rich, fascinating cultures. Visit one of these five museums to re-connect with the Filipino heritage! But before you do that, download our mobile apps, to get the cheapest deals for your flights and accommodations for your trip.