THE NATIONAL MUSEUM
Ever since I was little I had always been fascinated with history. I used to love going to museums as a child, I looked forward to the school field trips where we would go to zoos, museums and sometimes even theme parks!
But as I grew older, I spent less and less time reading about history and just being content with what I learned from school and the occasional history channel or movie.
I’ve had this need to visit one of the Philippine’s biggest and historical and cultural museum: The National Museum. So when my cousin from the U.S. came to visit, I told my parents that we should take him there so that we (okay, it was more of I) could do something new and learn a few things along the way.
So here’s a few things I learned (or relearned) from this visit: The jars above a a collection of several types of jars used for different occasions, and the jar with the dragon design is called a dragon jar which came from China, I think these artefacts were pre-colonial artefacts which meant that these were evidences of trade between the Philippine’s neighboring countries even before the Spanish colonization.
These books were part of the museum’s collection of the records of the Philippine’s Flora’s and Faunas. The books in the photo contain a lot of plants and animals and their description (I’m assuming here, it was written in Spanish)
The ceramic plates and silver kitchen ware were recovered from the San Diego Ship wreck.
I’m not sure about this one but this gold belt was recovered somewhere in Surigao, Mindanao and according to the blurry plate above, the two twisted knots were based on the anniversary of the Estate of King Phillip II of Spain.
This section of the museum to me, was the creepiest! Let me explain why, in ancient Philippine history, Philippine tribes used to bury their dead’s bones in jars and leave them in a cave, I’m not sure if I’m accurately stating this but these jars are called Maitum Jars, what happens is after a certain period of time, they recover their loved ones bodies and put the bones in a jar, often times the jar’s lids will have a head to depict a person or the dead loved one.
Another more known burial jar is called the Manunggul jar, this jar is easily seen because these jars always have two figures on top, the one in the front represents the dead loved one while the one in the back represents the one who directs the boat and the dead person to its afterlife, in other words, the figure in the back sort of represents Charon (in greek mythology).
At the very top of the museum, boasts of Filipino culture and Heritage, from the first alphabets, evidence of a formation of the Filipino language before being influenced by its colonizers (on top) to the textiles and agriculture (bottom potos).
In the textiles exhibit, they showcase several machines that were used to create the textiles for the clothes used by men and women, usually these textiles come from the Pineapple plant thus it being named Piña cloth.
They also show some of the textiles used in most indigenous places by ethnic tribes. Some of these outfits can still be worn by these people, sometimes as part of a ceremony, some as everyday outfits (if I’m not mistaken).
The ones below are photos of some of the more traditional attires worn during the Spanish Colonization of the Philippines: Maria Clara (named after the female protagonist of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere) for the women and Barong Tagalog for the men.
And that concludes the first part of my museum post! I’ll post another one about paintings and art soon! Stay tuned for that one! :)
I hope you guys enjoyed learning a little bit about my country and my people’s history even though I’m not completely sure I gave accurate facts (I hope I did!). Anyway, if ever any of you are going to Manila, make sure to visit the National Museum located in P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
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