Travelogue Manila: Philippine Art @ The Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Malate

**Wowowow and why has it been a couple of days since my last post? Well, life happened. lel 

Hey guys! I’m back with another edition of ErisGoesTo Manila ! This time we explore the Metropolitan Museum, located within the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex along Roxas Boulevard in Malate. Founded in the 1970s, the building is home to various modern and contemporary visual art pieces by both local and international artists.

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We were there on a weekday so the place was empty. MORE FOR ME 

Photos were only allowed on the ground floor.

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There are currently two ongoing exhibitions on display. The first, FASCINATION WITH FILIPINIANA: THE VARGAS COLLECTION (running until July 27 2018) features works collected by lawyer and diplomat Jorge Vargas, including art, books, coins, memorabilia and stamps gathered before, during and after the Pacific War. Also running concurrently is IN THE WAKE OF WAR AND THE MODERN: MANILA, 1941 TO 1961, which focuses on the relationship between Vargas and the city of Manila, in particular during and after the Japanese period.

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Scenes depicting simple village life

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Pulubing Nagbibilang ng Kanyang Kita (Beggar Counting His Earnings) by Demetrio Diego, pen and ink on paper, undated

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Pabasa (reading of scriptures), by the same artist

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Portrait of Manuel E Roxas by Pedro Coniconde, pen and ink on Bristol Board.

This was one of my favourite pieces. If you zoom into the piece, you’ll see that he made the portrait by overlapping the pen strokes over and over again to form coherent lines and an overall picture. Amazing work! I also liked the juxtaposition of different images in the background.

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Kubo sa tabi ng Puno ng Duhat (Nipa Hut Beside a Duhat Tree) by Jorge Pineda, 1929, oil on canvas depicts a very traditional village scene. The colours were subdued and muted, which is something I noticed with Philippine art from the era; perhaps influenced art deco palettes.

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A poster for the Philippine National Bank, done during the Japanese occupation, urging citizens to exchange their currency at the bank for legal money. This propaganda poster has disturbing parallels to the ones produced in Malaya during the same period; and we all know how that turned out. I think we still have the ‘banana money’ handed down by my grandmother – ie money that was virtually worthless during the war because inflation skyrocketed to crazy heights.

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One of the more vibrant pieces imo: Dragon Procession by Diosdado Lorenzo, oil on wood board, undated – showing a scene from Binondo aka Manila’s Chinatown.

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Pictures were not allowed on the second floor, which houses The Philippine Contemporary: To Scale the Past and the Possible permanent exhibition highlighting modern and contemporary art.

Let’s just say that we enjoyed the first floor better. Some of the pieces were good, but there were also some which made no sense – but I guess that’s what art is? Open to interpretation? 😀

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Entry is PHP100 per pax, which isn’t too expensive imo so if you’re ever in the area and looking to appreciate some Filipino art, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila is a good place to go.

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF MANILA 

 BSP Complex, Roxas Blvd, Malate, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Opening hours: 10AM – 530PM, closed Sundays

Phone: +63 63 250 5271 

Travelogue: We Met A Magical Cat Lady @ Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati City

…Before anything else, a selfie. Because I think we both look cute here lol.

After our morning trip to Salcedo Market (blog post here), we had a lot of time to kill, so we took a walk around the central business district (CBD) of Makati.

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One thing that strikes me each time I travel around Metro Manila is the huge disparity between CBD neighbourhoods such as Makati, Eastwood and Bonifacio Global City, and their surroundings.

On one hand, you have the general chaos of Metro Manila – honking jeepneys loading and unloading wherever they please, a thick layer of smog, garbage strewn along the streets, and pretty apparent poverty in some areas where kids run around half naked without shoes.

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On the other, you have the clean, almost clinical orderliness of the CBDs, with its nicely landscaped gardens, wide roads and pavements, glitzy malls and high-rise offices. It’s like entering another country altogether.

It reminded me a lot of LA, where you have ‘hood’ areas like Skid Row, with the homeless pushing carts asking for change, versus the glamorous excess and gigantic mansions of Beverley Hills.

Not saying we don’t have income disparity in Malaysia, because we do, but I think the contrast is particularly striking because of how visible it is.

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A monument of Sultan Kudarat, a Philippine national hero who ruled Mindanao in the 17th century. He fought against Spanish invaders and prevented the spread of Roman Catholicism in the southern regions, which is why the area still has a large population of Muslims today.

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Another monument nearby is that of Gabriela Silang, the first Filipina to lead a revolt against Spain. Born in the early 18th century, she married Diego Silang, a revolutionary leader. After his murder, she led troops in his stead – earning the title Generala – but was captured and publicly hanged by the Spanish. Today, she is remembered as a heroine. Here, she is depicted on horseback wielding a bolo, a traditional Filipino machete.

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More city scapes

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The Peninsula Manila, a five star luxury hotel. Apparently a ‘siege’ happened here in 2007, when a senator and a group of officers charged with mutiny walked out of their trial and occupied the hotel’s second floor. They were joined by some civilians and other military personnel supportive of their cause to overthrow what they said was the corrupt regime of President Gloria Arroyo. The coup ended with the military storming the lobby, as an armored tank crashed through its glass doors. Looking at it now, it’s hard to imagine such an event took place!

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Underpass

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Emerging at a tree-lined avenue.

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We decided to walk through Ayala Triangle Gardens – a nicely landscaped area with lots of greenery and shady trees. The park offered some respite from the humid, scorching Manila heat. There were people practicing Arnis (a Filipino martial art) on the green, an expat honing his football skills, and also this lady:

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A MAGIC CAT LADY 

I’m guessing she must be a feeder because she had a bag of kibbles. As she rustled it, a clowder of cats came out from behind trees and shrubs, and started following her around with their tails high in the air. There must have been at least 7 or 8 of them! GIVE ME ALL THE KITTIES 

PS: I love cats. Sadly, I still live at home with my parents (nothing to be ashamed of, I’m  Asian) and my mom is allergic to cats, so until the day I move out…

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Well maintained park

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An impressive archway with a bridge connecting two buildings.

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Arrived at Ayala Greenbelt, a series of posh malls where you can find high end brands like Gucci, Prada, etc. I liked how they designed the area to be green and full of trees – like an oasis amid the gaggle of glitzy malls.

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Mostly restaurants along an open-air stretch of mall.

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A pond with koi fish, popular with families in spite of the sweltering heat.

If you’re looking for a respite from the hustle and bustle of Manila, the Ayala Triangle Gardens and Greenbelt Malls is a great place to hangout and enjoy the greenery, pop in to the buildings for some air conditioning when it gets too hot, do some shopping and indulge in food.

More to come!

The Best Sunset In Manila – Bay Area Amusement Park @ SM Mall of Asia

Manila is touted for its sunsets, and one of the best places to catch it is at the Bay Area Amusement Park, just across the road from SM Mall of Asia. Reminiscent of Santa Monica Beach in LA, the area has a carnival-esque atmosphere, with a giant ferris wheel overlooking the bay, rides and game stalls.

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N and I arrived just in time for sunset, when the sky was a fluffy cotton-candy pink and blue. Crowds were gathered all along the stretch, which is lined with quaint cafes, bars, pubs and eateries.

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Found a good spot to watch the fiery orb sinking into the horizon. Waters around the bay are a polluted, inky black, but it creates a vivid, starking contrast with the sky and clouds.

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Instead of American-style corndogs, you can get corn in cups instead.

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I’m a kid at heart, so while I enjoy a fancy dinner once in awhile, I’m not averse to a fun, casual date just strolling along the pier, playing carnival/arcade games and eating cotton candy.

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Fountain and Christmas decorations across one of the entrances to Mall of Asia.

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Walking over to the mall via the pedestrian bridge. The roads here are much better planned and less congested than downtown Manila.

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MOA deserves its title as one of the largest malls in Asia. Spanning across several interconnected buildings and smaller outdoor strips, it would take hours to explore the whole place on foot. You can find everything under one roof here, from food to clothing and furniture, entertainment and more. The shops are a good mix of affordable and mid-end with a selection of luxury stores.

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