The Philippines undeniably has a rich culture and an even richer history. And with that comes art galleries and museums all throughout the archipelago. However, with the threat of COVID-19, most museums are closed.
But don’t be upset. The Internet’s got your back, as local arts-and-culture spaces can now be found online! If you miss roaming around museums, take on a virtual tour of these places. (Read: Vatican Museums now set to reopen on June 1)
There are a lot of mixed information (thanks to fake news all over the internet!) about the Marcos-led Martial Law period in the Philippines. But narratives of famine to tales of torture and abduction are still prevalent themes. (Read: Recalling the Highlights of the EDSA People Power Revolution)
Unfortunately, this part of our history has not been emphasized in school or in textbooks hence the spinning of information about it. Which is why the Martial Law Museum has put together a comprehensive online learning source from more than 300 references and about 100 experts. Its digital library starts from 1965—when Marcos was elected as president, to 1986, when a bloodless revolution toppled the authoritarian government.
Ayala Museum has been temporarily closed for renovation since June 2019. In the meantime, it has shifted to digital displays and exhibitions. Virtually, guests can enjoy the museum’s trove of online resources on their website—from coloring pages inspired by their diorama collection to a YouTube channel showcasing the physical collections and the stories behind the artifacts.
If you love and miss seeing street art, check out Filipino Street Art Project on Google Arts & Culture. It solves the problem of wanting to go around Metro Manila to look at the murals when travel is restricted. This project not only showcases the talent of Pinoy street artists, it also encourages discussion on social issues such as environmental preservation, protection of indigenous people, and gender norms.
Works by famous street artists—Quiccs of Pilipinas Street Plan, Sim Tolentino, and Rai Cruz, among others—are currently on display on their website. (Read: Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art Holds Virtual Exhibit for Female Artists)
Museo de Intramuros opened to the public in May 2019. It houses about 500 religious artifacts found in old churches near and around the Walled City. While we can’t roam around Intramuros in the meantime, you can check out their online exhibitions of ivory statues and wooden images.
If you’re into history, there is a short history of the image of La Purisima—declared as the Principal Patroness of the Philippines by Pope Pius XII and other religious images from the 16th to 19th centuries. (Read: Four IG-worthy shrines in the PH that are dedicated to Mama Mary)
It’s not only the president that resides within the walls of the Malacañan Palace. It also houses a small museum that stores reference material and memorabilia on the history and heritage of the Philippine Presidency. Through a virtual tour, you can check out President Emilio Aguinaldo’s Acta de la Proclamacion de la Independencia del Pueblo Filipino (1960), a chalkboard with a sketch of Camp Crame during the EDSA Revolution, and Manuel L. Quezon’s desk.