After catching up with sleep on a Thursday midday, Joel and I hurried to Rizal Park to see if we can still get inside one of our national museums — the National Museum of Anthropology. The museum closes at 5:00 P.M., and admission ends at 4:30. We arrived at 4:00 PM and students were hurrying down the stairs to go home.
The advantage of going late to a museum is that it would be practically empty. However, in the case of our national museum, I have a feeling that they are almost always empty at any time. But I was still happy to see some young people actually discussing and enjoying what were displayed at the museum. The museum is free, it’s airconditioned, and it allows photography (two young men were even practicing their photography inside). TIP: Go counterclockwise in the museum. Start with the gallery showcasing our rice culture, followed by gallery showcasing Czech photograph Jan Sibik’s photographs, and ending in the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino gallery. I felt I did not have enough time to read all that was written about our ancient language and I think there were many things I did not yet know about our language or languages. By the time we got to the Hibla ng Lahi gallery, the museum attendant already warned me that it was 30 minutes before closing time. Oh, and I loved how they named each gallery.
Anthopology is the study of humans, how we behave, and interact with each other to form societies. I think the Philippines has a long, colorful, and significant archeological finds. The anthopology museum is big but I think it only captured a fraction of our past. The anthropology museum is free but I wouldn’t mind paying a some of money if only to make more museums around the country so that more people can learn (or remember) how we are as a people without going to Manila solely for that purpose. I was surprised to learn that the Museum of Anthropology just reopened in 2017. It was previously called The Museum of the Filipino People and first opened in 1901. It has been a long time since the museum opened and, based on the website, has gone through many struggles just to keep the artifacts that link us to our past safe.
Directions: The National Museum of Anthropology is located in Rizal Park, at the opposite end of the Rizal monument and facing the soon-to-open Museum of Natural History. I think you can easily ride a taxi to get to the museum or a jeepney that will stop at Rizal Park. The museum complex can be a great side-trip if you have a long lay-over at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). You can ride the UBE Express (P150 per person one way) and get dropped off at either The Manila Hotel or Robinsons Manila and just walk to the museums.