Makati,  Special Feature

Remembering Manila1945 at the Ayala Museum

Truth be told, it has been a crazy period lately for the Urban Roamer. With so much going on, it is unfortunate that I could not get to attend some events that were being held, or could not get to hang out long enough to check out some events up close.

It is especially unfortunate especially that so many events and exhibits have been going on around the metropolis on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Manila. But as the commemoration of #Manila1945 draws to a close, I could not miss out at least one exhibit about it, which in this case would be the exhibit at the Ayala Museum entitled “Manila: My City at War”

scale model of the Memorare – Manila 1945 monument in Intramuros

The exhibit gives one an overview about World War II in the Philippines, providing a greater understanding and a wider viewpoint behind the destruction of Manila in 1945 and the circumstances surrounding it. I appreciate that it also devoted a space to the overlooked heroes of the Philippine campaign of the war, the guerrilla units who continued the fight against the Japanese forces even after the fall of the country in 1942.

One could also see there some memorabilia from that era, notably the weapons and other itemsused by the Japanese and American forces during the war.

handheld camera used by the US military

Also notable are the documents displayed there like the currency, newspapers, and pro-Japanese propaganda materials which was being spread that time. One can also see behind the glass some books that have been written about period over the years.

There were also scale models of some of the vehicles used by both sides of the conflict, as well as an interesting diorama which depicted American troops entering Fort Santiago after the end of hostilities in the area.

The exhibit also had quite an extensive gallery of photos and sketches which documented life during the Japanese Occupation and the Battle of Manila. The photos were shot by Teodulo Protomartir and the sketches were by Merton Brown.

the photos by Teodulo Protomartir taken after the Battle of Manila
wartime life sketches by Merton Brown

But perhaps the most haunting image one can find in the exhibit is a painting by Fernando Amorsolo called “Rape of Manila.” This particular artwork expressed the tragedy of the period.

Amorsolo’s “The Rape of Manila”

We can only hope that somehow this exhibit would raise awareness on the tragedy of war as a whole in that peace is something that should always be strived for. We cannot afford to have another war blow up in our faces that we would be helpless to stop.

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