• City of Manila

    The National Museum of Natural History…Finally

    We have waited years for this. Finally, that time has come! The Urban Roamer refers here to the National Museum of Natural History, which has finally opened its doors to the public last May 18. And judging from the queue of people who line up to visit, the newly-opened building of the National Museum has been received quite well, despite the fact that not all sections of the building itself are not open yet. The opening marks the culmination of a three-year project to convert the American-era structure into a modern museum that Filipinos can be proud of. Is it worth the hype though? We shall see…

  • City of Manila,  Special Feature

    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.

  • Roamer's Roundup

    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. While the issue about the fate of the…

  • City of Manila

    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…