Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Had a chance to finally visit the new home of the Ayala Museum. I have visited it a lot of times when it was still in its old building, which was designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin. The new modernist building is also designed by Locsin's Leandro V. Locsin Partners headed by his son, Leandro Jr. This is located behind Landmark and a few metres away from the circular church building at Greenbelt Park.

Beside the museum building is a sea of green arranged in the style of an Asian garden with lots of bamboo and water elements. The huge capiz lamps are very Asian, if not totally Filipino. I think it's very nice to stage a show here or perhaps a formal dinner whenever the museum has special events. You must visit this area if you are able. You will love it!

There is a pedestrian overpass from the CBD area that snakes its way along the side of the museum. At one point, it even "enters" the musem, but the walls are covered in glass. This allows people to have a glimpse of what's inside without having to walk in, but really, the idea is to attract visitors. Entrance is so affordable at PHP 150/person but foreigners are charged PHP 300. Museum memberships are also available and exciting privileges await the applicants.

The M Cafe (Museum Cafe) is located at the ground floor across the main entrance. It boasts of an impressive menu and a dining area of a streamlined setting of white and earth colors, complemented by Filipino-designed embellishments.

The al fresco area of M Cafe.

Posters here show what's up in the museum for the current month. Several exhibits are permanent like those shown here. There's a sprinkling of Amorsolos, Damian Domingos, Lunas and, of course, Zobels. However, the collection is so small that you might end up wanting for more which I think is good because you will be forced to visit other museums as well.

If you want to drown in Luna, for example, one only need to proceed to the National Museum's Gallery of the Masters in Manila to see an entire hall of Lunas, plus the chance to see the staggeringly huge, breathtaking, and gold-winning Spoliarium. There are also Amorsolos in the next building, the National Museum's Museum of the Filipino People where the loot from the sunken galleon, San Diego, are also kept. Entrance fee to the National Museum is just PHP 100 (but this was like several years ago).
Is the Ayala Musuem worth visiting? Definitely yes, especially for its 60 dioramas depicting several turning points in Philippine history. Everything is handcrafted, by the way (how else?). These dioramas used to be in the old building and were developed during the curatorship of Carlos Quirino. There is a special section on the People Power of 1986, but the video room is so cramped it can only fit 20 people at one time during which half may actually lose interest in the show altogether because of the small space.

There's something wrong in the way the dioramas are presented in that the dates of two display windows were interchanged (the AD came before the BC; a slight oversight). Also, aside from the dates and the description of the event being depicted and the occassional quotations from old books (which are a pain to read especially if you are tall and the dim lights are of no help at all), there is nothing else to help foreigners and locals alike to recall the importance of such "turning points" in our history. At least a statement on their significance could be added in the future.

Don't get me wrong. I love my history, but not everyone feels the same. We can help change that mindset by making things easier to understand and appreciate, especially for the young ones who don't even remember People Power or appreciate the significance of the arrest of Aguinaldo, the execution of Rizal, etc.

Also, there is a sort of "boat of the month" gimik at the model galleons area in which light is flashed on one galleon and none on the rest of the collection. I think there is no more need for this because for many first-time visitors, their visit may also be their last. This will rob them of the chance to appreciate the entire collection, fabulous as it already is.

HOT TIP. For first-time visitors, brush up on your local history before visiting so you don't come out more bewildered than when you came in.

Ayala Museum
Makati Avenue cor. De La Rosa Street
Greenbelt Park, Ayala Center
Makati City 1224

PHONE: +632.757.7117 to 21
FAX: +632.757.ARTS (2787) / +632.757.3588


travelphilippines said...

mmm m cafe where the perfect lychee martini is served.

Citizen of the World said...

Uy, I wouldn't know, hehe! Now that i'm a museum member, I just might drop by one of these evenings.

estan said...

what i like about the ayala museum is that other than the permanent exhibits there are also new ones that are presented from time to time.

As for the National Museum, I really can't remember paying 100 pesos as entrance fee and that was early this year.

by the way, thanx for the comment and visit at my blog

estan said...

what i do like about the ayala museum is that it has revolving and visiting exhibits, other than the permanent ones.

as for the national museum, can't really remember paying 100 pesos as entrance early this year.

by the way, thanx for visiting and commenting at my blog too...

tutubi said...

those dioramas were made by an artist from paete :P

Citizen of the World said...

Tutubi, you are absolutely correct. I missed mentioning that in my entry.

Anonymous said...

I love the lamps inside M cafe. Does anybody know where I can get one?