Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum: A Home to Philippine Aviation History

Let’s face it. One can’t help talking about the Philippine Air Force (PAF) without citing the current state of things there, notably the limited number of aircraft and equipment that has made it not readily equipped in the event of a possible catastrophe or threat to national security. Still, we have to salute the men and women of the PAF for their dedication in spite of these odds. And the PAF has a notable history to show it.

That history is enshrined at the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum at the PAF Headquarters at Villamor Air Base. Formerly named Nichols Field, (named after Captain Henry E. Nichols, a US Navy commander who served during the Philippine-American War) it was renamed after Jesus Villamor, one of the most prominent pilots in Philippine aviation history who served during World War II fighting the Japanese forces.

The Philippine Air Force Museum was inaugurated in 2007 and now stands as the only aviation museum in the country so far. It is a very spacious interior, spacious enough to house a number of PAF’s historic aircraft models, some are models and some are actual aircraft themselves. But the aircraft displayed inside is just the start.

Being a museum of the Philippine Air Force, one would get to know there the history and the achievements of the Philippine Air Force from its origins as a sub-unit of the Philippine Army, the Philippine Army Air Corps established in 1936, the exploits of the Air Corps during World War II, notably of men like Jesus Villamor, its participation in the UN missions like in Congo in the 1960s, among others.

some scale models of aircraft used by the Philippine Air Force

gallery of memorabilia from the Philippine Air Force contingent of UN peacekeepers assigned in the Congo in the 1960s

While the focus of this museum is mainly about military aviation, one can also learn some things about the history of Philippine aviation as a whole, and even beyond as well.

a diorama representation of what’s considered to be the first aviation school in the Philippines at Camp Claudio at the shores of Tambo, Parañaque

newspaper clip about Alfredo Carmelo, the first Filipino to make a solo flight aboard the aircraft “Sea Gull” on January 9, 1920

ARNACAL stood for Antonio Arnaiz and Juan Calvo, the first Filipinos to fly to Madrid in 1936, a historic moment dubbed “The Flight of the Commonwealth.” Arnaiz would later serve as a senator and would become father to future Philippine basketball star Francis Arnaiz. And yes, Antonio Arnaiz would eventually be honored by renaming the Libertad-Pasay Road road network after him.

But if you are someone who just care about the planes, the good news is that there is more to offer than what you can see inside. Outside the museum just a few steps away is the Airfield Park, where one can find more aircraft models on display, from fighter jets to helicopters, even the old airplane that was exclusively for use of the Philippine president.

Col. Jesus Villamor

the Presidential plane used during the time of Ferdinand Marcos

It is natural that a visit to this place would make one feel nostalgic not only about old airplanes but also the old glory the Philippine Air Force once enjoyed. We can only hope that in the midst of the challenges the PAF is going through, there would be no way to go but up as far as its modernization.

If you are looking for an off -the-grid and unique museum experience, a visit to the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum is a trip the Urban Roamer you check out as part of your itinerary. It is open from 8 AM to 5 PM Mondays to Fridays and 8 AM to 12 PM on Saturdays.

 

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