02/11/15

Manila1945: Wrecked and Rebuilt

The Battle of Manila that raged from February 3-March 3, 1945 decimated a lot of structures in the city. With the limited resources available for disposal in those times, not all of them managed to be rebuilt after the war, some of them even took a long while for them to be completed. As we continue the #Manila1945 series here, we will be taking a look at some of these structures that were destroyed and have managed to rise again from the ashes of war, though some of them never looked the same way as before. Continue reading

04/3/14

Manansala’s Philamlife Paintings at the National Museum

When the Urban Roamer got the opportunity to visit the Philamlife Building at Ermita during its (sob) final days, one of the things I was fixated upon was the artworks whose artist was a mystery to me at that time. Thanks to a reader, I found out that those artworks were actually done by Vicente Manansala himself, National Artist for Visual Arts alongside with colleagues like Fernando Amorsolo and Botong Francisco.

The paintings are a a series of 7 commissioned works completed by Manansala in 1961, the same year the Philamlife Building was completed, done in the cubist style Manansala was known for.

Vicente Manansala (courtesy of iloko.tripod.com)

While the issue about the fate of the Philamlife Auditorium was in full rage for several months last year, curiously there was not much news about what was to happen to those paintings considering these were done by a National Artist.

That question was answered with a satisfying resolution today as the National Museum of the Philippines announced over its Facebook page that these 7 paintings can now be seen in one of the halls of the 3rd floor of the museum’s National Art Gallery named aptly, “Philam Life Hall.”

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01/12/14

A Day At The National Museum (Part 2: Museum of the Filipino People and the future National Museum of Natural History)

Right across the National Art Gallery building of the National Museum, right in the northern part of Rizal Park, stands two neoclassical buildings with a shared history, from the style to the architect and their usage, past and future.

Both buildings were remnants of what Daniel Burnham had in mind for Manila to be a “city beautiful” with the area where the buildings stand was envisioned to be the equivalent to the “National Mall” of Washington DC. Also, both were designed by the same architect who helped design the current National Art Gallery, Antonio Toledo, who himself started as a partner of Burnham’s longtime associate William Parsons. Both were completed by 1940, damaged by World War II and were restored after the war. Now both these buildings serve to show a bright future for the National Museum. Continue reading

01/5/14

A Day At The National Museum (Part 1: the National Art Gallery)

I wish I could say that museums in the Philippines are as well-visited as museums in the countries. The fact is sadly, museums here are not much promoted as destinations to be visited by locals and tourists. Yes, for some reason, some travel books and sites about the Philippines do not emphasize that visiting a museum here is a must-do.

Do Filipinos couldn’t care less about museums and the things being showcased there? Do they generally find museums boring compared to malls and beaches? Do some think our museums here suck? While I have no answer to the first 2 questions, I must say that the answer to the 3rd question is a definite no. Sure, the country does not have museums as stunning and rich as those in Europe but that does not mean we do not have anything worthy to showcase. If you wish to see what I mean, try to pay a visit to the country’s premier museum, the National Museum.

PA200141 Continue reading