Manila: National Museum of Anthropology
Formerly known as the National Museum of the Filipino People, the National Museum of Anthropology is a component of the National Museum of the Philippines that specializes in anthropology and archaeology. It is very near the National Museum of Fine Arts and is just facing the National Museum of National History. It is located in the Teodoro F. Valencia Circle in Luneta (Rizal Park), Manila.
The museum contains things and artifacts related to archaeology, prehistoric societies, languages, customs, traditions, and culture of the Philippines. At the ground floor are the offices of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, Archaeology Division, Ethnology Division, Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage Division and the National Museum Library. At the courtyard stands a model replica of an Ifugao house.
The second floor contains two galleries: the San Diego: 500 Years of Maritime Trade, and Garing: The Philippines at the Crossroads of Ivory Trade. We were not so fortunate as these galleries were closed during our visit. The third and fourth floors contain various exhibits.
Of War and Peace
A lantaka exhibits depicting ancient Filipino warfare. The lantaka is a small gun or barrel made of brass. It was often used by trading and raiding vessels sailing in Southeast Asian maritime routes and in the fortresses. It is displayed along the 3rd-floor corridors.
Manlilikha ng Bayan Hall
One of the recently opened galleries of the museum, featuring the work and lives of 13 Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasures). They were awarded the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) awards in recognition of their contribution and preservation of culture. Among them are Teofilo Garcia (or Apu Pilo, the last tabungaw maker that we interviewed last November 2017), and Apu Whang-Od, the last mambabatok (tattoo artist), which we also interviewed last October 2017.
This exhibition has been made possible through a partnership with the NCCA and the Office of the Senator Loren Legarda.
Faith, Tradition and Place: Bangsamoro Art from the National Ethnographic Collection. The exhibit according to the National Museum features “the material culture of 13 of the major Lumad groups from the National Ethnographic Collection which aims to explore the significance of Mindanao natural reserves and resources to Lumad identity”.
It also presents “previous and recent historical and anthropological data, particularly on their experiences, encounters, and established linkages and ties with neighboring groups and foreigners throughout the years; and in the process attempt to give an insight into how perceptive the Lumad peoples are of their place and purpose”.
Kaban ng Lahi
An Archaeological Treasures Gallery displaying various burial jar collections unearthed from different caves across the country. It shows the significance of burial traditions practiced by our ancestors. The process of cleansing, embalming, and burial are shown here.
The Manunggul Jar, one of the country’s most precious and famous jar collection, can be found here (not just in P1,000 bill). The two prominent figures at the top handle of its cover signify the journey of the soul to the afterlife. The jar was unearthed in Manunggul Cave, one of the caves in the Tabon cave complex in Lipuun Point, Quezon, Palawan which is said to be from 890-710 B.C.
Rice, Biodiversity and Climate Change
This gallery contains varieties of rice grains still in panicles are displayed along with artifacts, flora and fauna specimens and photographs.
The exhibit also highlights, among others, rice farming practices, plants and insects in the field, farmers` way of life, and the importance of rice conservation.
Hibla ng Lahing Filipino
The Artistry of Philippine Textiles. This exhibit highlights the National Textile Collection, displaying the different textile collections from the National Museum, National Anthropological Collection, and from the private collection of Senator Loren Legarda.
Also seen here are weaving looms and the intricate process made by our ancestors in designing and producing textile wear from a single simple fiber.
Featuring the traditional script of ancient Filipinos. Displayed here are archaeological artifacts such as the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, Calatagan Pot and some books loaned by the UST, NHCP and National Library. Also displayed are some tools, musical instruments, ornaments and pots with Baybayin inscriptions from indigenous tribes of Mindoro and Palawan.
Entwined Spheres: Mats and Baskets as Containers, Conveyors and Costumes
Located at the fourth floor, it shows different mats and baskets and how they were used by our ancestors, whether being a simple accessory or costume piece, containers for both secular and sacred objects, for fishing, farming and in other aspects of life. The exhibit also explores how different ethnic groups in the country are connected and are similar to each other through basketry.
Within two to three hours, you can explore the entire museum, and within this period you will surely learn a lot.
If you are a Filipino and want to learn the history, heritage, culture and identity, make sure to mark it as one of your next destinations.
- From Cubao take a jeep bound for Luneta. Or take the LRT-2 going to Recto, then from there take the LRT-1 (there is a footbridge connecting LRT-2 Recto Station and LRT-1 Doroteo Jose station) and alight at the UN Avenue Station.
- 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- National Museum of Fine Arts
- National Museum of Anthropology
- Sentinel Statue
- Rizal Park