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National Museum of the Philippines celebrates its 119th anniversary with a virtual tour

Visit the National Museum of Fine Arts and more online

Photo from National Museum Facebook page

Concurrent with the observance of the Museums and Galleries Month, the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) is also celebrating its 119th founding anniversary by giving the public a 360-degree virtual tour of the National Museum of Fine Arts, featuring the works of some of the world renowned Filipino artists.

Founded on Oct. 29, 1901, the NMP was originally established as an Insular Museum of Ethnology, Natural History, and Commerce, foreshadowing the now National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Museum of Natural History.

Spoliarium by Juan Luna

The NMP has transitioned into a virtual platform to continue sharing the developments of the institution amid the ongoing global health crisis.

The 360-degree virtual tour features the nine galleries of the National Museum of Fine Arts, which was made possible through the Museum Foundation of the Philippines’ Sulyap Museo project and the photography of founder Fung Yu.

The tour welcomes virtual tourists with the famous Spoliarium painting of Juan Luna, serving as the centerpiece of the building along Padre Burgos Avenue.

A clickable PDF icon was also embedded alongside each painting to make the experience more immersive by digitizing the details of the artworks. Virtual marks were also placed to guide the online visitors as they walk through the halls of the museum.

Aside from Luna’s masterpiece, the museum also features the famous panels Philippine Struggles through History Paintings by distinguished muralist Carlos “Botong” Francisco at the Old Senate Session Hall. This part elaborates the centuries of war, faith, and developments in the country.

Visitors were also able to experience other immersive parts of the museum tour, including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) collection of Sacred Art in the Del Rosario Family Hall highlighting the artworks propagating Catholic faith; the over a hundred preserved art pieces of artists Juan Luna and Felix Resurrección-Hidalgo at the BSP-Grace Luna de San Pedro Hall; the war paintings of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo at the Laya Hall demonstrating the important events during the Battle of Manila; the life-size sculptures of National Artist Guillermo Tolentino inside the Security Bank Hall; the collection of large-scale paintings by Vicente Manansala; and the Narra reliefs installation by Jose P. Alcantara, which serve as the endpoint of the “museum from home” experience.

But the project also features artworks from contemporary artists like Emilio “Abe” Aguilar Cruz.

Throughout the tour, the Visayan love song “Usahay,”performed by the University of the Philippines Manila Chorale, plays in the background to complement the virtual cultural experience.

The NMP on Oct. 30 also included additional virtual tours but, this time, around six exhibitions at the National Museum of Anthropology, namely “Biyay: Tradition, ecology and knowledge among Filipino Negrito communities”; “Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The artistry of Philippine weaves”; “Faith, Tradition, and Place: Bangsamoro art from the National Ethnographic Collection”; “Lumad Mindanao”; “Entwined Spheres: Mats and baskets as containers, conveyors, and costumes”; and “Palayok: The ceramic heritage of the Philippines.”

It also launched another free electronic book The Philippine Colonial Tradition of Sacred Art: Treasures of Philippine art from the collections of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the National Museum of the Philippines, a third in the series of Art History and Conservation publications written by Fr. René B. Javellana.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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