National Museum of the Fine Arts

National Museum of the Philippines

I love art in general. However, art that has been part of a country’s history is something worth putting my attention to. It gives me an idea of how its people lived in the past just by looking at them. This is why got really excited when I found out that I would be able to visit and marvel at some of the exhibits of the National Museum of the Philippines.

This is actually a two-part blog series. The first installment is about the National Museum of Fine Arts. The other one would tackle about it’s adjacent building, the National Museum of Anthropology.

National Museum of Fine Arts

This branch of the National Museum of the Philippines was formerly called as the National Art Gallery. Its primary goal is to preserve and protect the Philippines’ cultural treasures; and to preserve their legacies for the future generations. The museum houses artworks of different forms dating from the 18th century to the late 21st century.

The Building and Its Interiors

National Museum Facade

The structure is called the Old Legislative Building. The creation of the building began in 1918 and was planned to be used as a public library. Due to funds shortage, the construction was paused.Then it was resumed so that it can be used by the bicameral congress during its early days. Later on, the Philippine Senate used it before it was turned into a museum. It possesses a neo-classical architecture. Personally, I love the beautiful style of the building and its interiors; but somehow it gave off an eerie vibe.

Warning: It’s a pretty big building. If you want to the get most of your visit, make sure you have a lot of time. Wear comfy shoes because you will walk a lot. Don’t go on an empty stomach. You might get dizzy and end up fainting from all of the walking! 


National Museum 21


The statues above the cornice looked like they are staring at passers by.


This is a beautiful spiral staircase!

National Museum Directory

Elevator directory

There are a total of four floors. Visitors are not allowed to enter the 1st floor. It is where the offices and storage rooms are located. When we visited, some rooms were closed due to renovation.

The Exhibitions

Level 2: House Floor

Old House of Representatives Session Hall


Untitled (Diwata) by Guillermo Tolentino

Upon entering, you will be greeted by this beautiful mortuary statue created by Guillermo Tolentino.


El Asesinato del Gobernador Bustamante

El Asesinato del Gobernador Bustamante by Félix Resurrección-Hidalgo

Once inside, you will find the famous large paintings done by Juan Luna and Félix Resurrección-Hidalgo.

Religious Art

Academic and Romantic Art

Romantic Art

Academic and Neoclassical Sculpture

Academic and Romantic Sculpture

Tribute to the Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal

Classical Art

World War II Depiction/Bataan Death March

Warning: In this particular gallery, you might find some pieces disturbing.

Drawings of Fernando Amorsolo (The first National Artist of the Philippines)


Guillermo Tolentino Sculptures


Level 3: Senate Floor

Modern Philippine Art


Artists’ Memorabilia

Level 4: Executive Floor

The elevator won’t take you to this floor, so you can just ride up to the 3rd floor and use the staircase.

Mañosa: Beyond Architecture

Architecture 1

Materials and Processes

The exhibition is only here from February 12, 2017 to May 12, 2017. It features the life and works of architect Francisco ‘Bobby’ Mañosa. He is famous for his Filipino-inspired designs. He is notable for incorporating indigenous designs into his works.

Pearl Farm

I am from Davao City and Pearl Farm is a famous resort thereI didn’t know that he’s the person behind the beautiful designs of the resort until I saw his exhibits.

Aside from buildings, he also designs furniture and toys.

That’s the end of the virtual tour. My next post would be about the National Museum of Anthropology. What about you guys? What was the biggest museum you have visited? Did your feet get sore? Tell me all about it by commenting below.


45 thoughts on “National Museum of the Fine Arts

  1. The presence of the Spoliarium makes this place a must-visit. One of the most beautiful places in Manila. The inside feels so calm and tranquil with all its precious treasures.


  2. I love going to museums! There is definitely some fine art that you have photographed. The lil horse is absolutely adorable! We are planning a trip to Washington DC, hopefully soon, and want to visit some of the museums there. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! I hope you enjoyed your trip!


  3. I grew up in the middle east and I always wanted to visit the national museum. I’ve only been to museo pambata when I was in pre school. I’ve never even been to Luneta Park. huhu! I really wish for my mom and dad to bring me here. I only get the chance to see this place from the outside (when we go to Manila to visit my grandmother).


  4. I love exploring museums when I travel too. They are a great way to learn more about the culture of a place. Those war pieces while sad are very important in my view and should be viewed. It looks like a really varied collection they have there.


  5. I have been always seeing this but never got even a chance to pay a visit. By reading your post, I feel like I already visited the museum. I agree with you that it might get creepy inside. I think I haven’t been to any big museum like this one.


  6. Hey, I did not realize the old legislative building is now the National Museum of Fine Arts. First, I have to ask, is there a restaurant in the museum, or nearby? Anyway, from the looks of the photos, it seems that there are not much visitors?

    I am thinking of taking time off and have a day of seeing the sites of the city. I have not done that for a long time, so I thought the museum could be a good place to chill and, at the same time, reconnect with some history.


    • I don’t know about restaurants, but if it helps, it’s near that Luneta. Trust me, if you look at the photo of the building’s facade, there are a lot of people. I took that after we were done looking around. We actually started falling in line from the farthest edge of the building. That’s how long the line of people is. Our technique was to start from the top floor to the ground. That way, we won’t be meeting much people along the way. If it happens that there are in the same room, I just make sure that they are out of the frame.


  7. Lovely pictures! I vaguely remember visiting this place on a field trip when I was in grade school and I haven’t been back since. It would be great to see it again as an adult. I’m especially in love with Guillermo Tolentino’s sculpture – looking forward to seeing that live. And I’ve always been a fan of Manosa so I’m hoping to visit before May so I could catch his exhibit..


  8. I’ve never considered putting the National Museum of the Philippines on my itinerary if I were to visit the Philippines, but based on your post, I’m thinking I should!

    Going to museums when my husb and I travel are a must-do. Going to the American Museum of Natural History in New York was a dream come true for him because he LOVES dinosaurs. And there are so many museums in NYC, I managed to go to MOMA, the Guggenheim, etc… The Metropolitan Museum of Art was really huge, I didn’t manage to complete it.

    I guess I’ve been lucky/blessed. I’ve also been to The Louvre in Paris, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, amongst many others in countries I’ve been to 🙂


  9. It’s been one of my dream to visit the National Museum. Ive been to Manila but I never got the chance to visit this place. I am an art-lover and being here would be a one-of-a-kind experience. Im still hopeful though that I can visit this place soon. The last museum I have visited is the Cebu Museum


  10. Your pictures look great! It’s almost as if I was also there with you. It’s been a long, long time since I last went to the National Museum. I don’t even remember what it looked like anymore. Good to see that they still preserve the beauty of the place after all these years!


  11. I agree with you. There is an eerie vibe with our museum. We went there for a magazine shoot but we couldn’t enjoy it that much since the guards were too strict. I also noticed some of them either talking to each other or just plainly waiting for you to make a wrong move so they can scold you. It definitely hampers one experience. I would prefer it if they charge but they don’t treat guests like that. The biggest museum I’ve been to by the way is the MET in New York. You feel more relaxed and they’re more lenient I guess since they rely on security footage and they have other high technology security measures.


  12. I’ve visited this museum countless times. I remeber when we were high school, we would often have field trips here. And I agree, this is very big that if you want to see the most of it, you need to allot time. This is a great way to learn about history, especially now that entrance fee is free! Hehe.


  13. Wow ya your photos! My dad loved to visit museums a lot. For me, am not too keen…But my kids like to visit museums and witness the heritage.


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  15. My favourite picture is the El Asesinato del Gobernador Bustamante by Félix Resurrección-Hidalgo that you took. Spoliarium is a drawing I will love to take a closer looks. I’m usually more keen to see paintings and drawings that statues.


  16. I’ve been to the National Museum a long time ago but it seems like a lot has changed since then. There are a lot of paintings I didn’t see before, and I didn’t know that Spoliarium was in there as well!


  17. Its a lovely place! At the same time a informative one, youre not just enjoying but at the same time, youre being knowledgeable!


  18. The National Museum is quite near our house but I’ve never been there so I guess a visit should be in order anytime soon. I heard it’s also free to get inside so that’s another bonus. I have been to other Philippine museums but I always leave unimpressed so I look forward to visiting this because it looks promising. Thank you for sharing.


  19. Its been ages since i last visited the national museum. The last time was i think in highschool during my school fieldtrip. Looks like a lot had changed and it’s become more beautiful. I always love painting and arts and this is one activity that i still wanted to pursue at my age.. 🙂


  20. I don’t remember having a field trip here when I was still a student. I’d really love to come here and bring my kids with me. I love family field trips with them. But I wonder what my youngs kids would find interesting among these displays. Any suggestions?


  21. I usually have a short attention span for art museums, probably because I’m a cretin 😉 BUT, when I lived in London I started developing an appreciation for them because I could visit for an hour, go somewhere else, then come back another day.


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  23. This museum will always be one of the my favorites! I remember back when I brought my mom there. I could feel the kid inside her jumping in joy! My first trip was with my partner and his brother. We were also in awe by the wonderful artworks inside. It was like taking a trip down memory lane! This makes me want to go back again!


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