A Day at the Museum | The Ayala Museum (Part 1)

It’s funny how the museum is just a stone’s throw away from places I would usually frequent in the Makati area (the malls, parks, and restaurants) and yet I never seem to have found the time to visit it. There is in fact heavy foot traffic around it (being surrounded by such establishments and other recreational places I mentioned), plus, it’s a major “thoroughfare”, if you will, of people just passing by going to and from work. But the irony is that not a lot of people seem to have the interest to experience it despite its accessibility. Well, I decided to change that this day.

As is usually the case with museums, it would sometimes have temporary exhibits featured in its galleries and halls. Such is the case of the Doble Mirada, which is a look back at the Madrid and Manila Expositions at the turn of the century. What really piqued my interest though, is that the admission is free. You know what that meant to my inner cheapskate, right? 😉 So, acting anxiously, I would walk to and fro the elevated walkway and would have extended stare at the exhibit behind its glass barriers, my face glued and my neck adjusting like a compass towards its direction, even as I pass by and never really stopping.

I could only hold my uneasiness for so long, however. Soon enough I was able to muster the courage to go inside.

And there it was, the Doble Mirada. A lesser known fact in our history, which was almost a decade apart, shy of 2 years, and is about a year before the Philippine Revolution erupted. Here you will find interesting artefacts from a bygone era – old photographs, books, paintings and other memorabilia.

Both expositions aimed to stimulate trade and commercial activities in the Philippines. Some of the highlights of the exposition were the industries that have flourished and have made a big impact in the economics of the day. Pictured below is one of the industries and exhibitors – Destileria Ayala y Cia, who won a Diploma de Merito & Medalla de Oro. The vintage bottles below are a throwback to that time.

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Could you imagine these books are more than a centuries-old already? Props to all who have gone through great lengths to preserve pieces of history.

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“Baybayin”, or what is commonly mistaken as “alibata”, an ancient writing system of our forefathers have still interested people then, even as we have already lost it due to disuse. There surely shouldn’t be any lack of interest from the very people who invented it – us, even as we are in the modern age, don’t you think? I’m all for the revival of the “baybayin”. Let’s be proud of our culture 🙂

Excuse the photo, by the way. Couldn’t make it any clearer.

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I love how these books illustrate the daily lives of our forefathers back then, or maybe even earlier. The hammock hasn’t lost its appeal even to this day. Nothing beats the comfort and refreshing feeling it brings during a hot summer day. One only needs a shade from a good ole tree and some gentle breeze, and you’re off to lala-land. And in the case of the woman below, two strongly-built men, to wherever.

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There is also the participation of famous artists of the time. Some of those featured were those of Juan Luna. He entered two of his pieces at the 1887 Exposition in Madrid, the La Batalla de Lepanto and Rendición de Granada (Surrender of Granada). Both won the first prize. Prior to this, in 1881, his La Muerte de Cleopatra (The Death of Cleopatra) pictured below (lower painting), won him a silver medal. The painting at the top, known as Una Mestiza, alternately called “Charing”, was created in 1887 and has also won an award.

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Top: Una Mestiza or Charing. Bottom: La Muerte de Cleopatra (The Death of Cleopatra)

Not sure whose artwork these were, but the subjects/models surely know how to pose fierce, right? They seem to have invented fierce before even Tyra Banks did! Haha!

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Since I was already fully absorbed soaking history in, I thought, why don’t I just go all-out with this museum experience? And so I did. I found myself at the museum lobby buying ticket. Unfortunately, I was told by the lady at the counter that taking photos are not allowed on all floors except 2nd (where the diorama is) and first. No distracting flashes and sounds, I was told. ‘Sure. Like I love taking photos’, I told myself (tongue in cheek, of course). No, seriously, I respect that. People should see for themselves what gems are hidden inside and what they are missing if they don’t. Seeing them in photos just wouldn’t cut it. Museums are supposed to be experiential. That’s what they are there for. Besides, it is one’s duty to learn more about one’s heritage and culture. The least we can do is appreciate it by getting off our bu**s, stop procrastinating and go visit 😛

Ayala Museum

Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Street
Greenbelt Park, Makati City
1224 Philippines