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25 July 2021

Philippines - Manila - It's raining? Let's visit the museum then


Hello Folks!

Hope you got to see yesterday's "Hay" full moon.

Unfortunately, the weather in Asia does not spoil us. It has been raining continuously for several days. The sky was overcast, so there was no chance to observe the moon.

Moreover, the typhoon that raged over Taiwan is heading towards Shanghai.

As if that were not enough, yesterday we had an earthquake in the Philippines and the hurricane that is developing off the coast of Hong Kong is heading towards the northern and central parts of Viet Nam. That's why it has been raining and blowing in Sai Gon for 4 days.

Since I have spent the last four years in Viet Nam, I have some observations. Until 2019, in the rainy season, and we are in the middle of it, the weather was usually predictable. From the morning it is sunny, beautiful cumulus clouds and at lunchtime it is raining for an hour or 45 minutes. Sometimes it is very pouring. Then, by the end of the day, a clear sky with cumulus clouds again. Storms from time to time, also in the evenings.

Unfortunately, last year I noticed that the weather during the rainy season starts to change and it gets worse. It is similar now.

Of course, the temperatures in Southeast Asia don't make much difference.
Stable between 24 and 34 ° C.

On the other hand, I am disturbed by storms every day. Layered clouds cover the sky most of the day while these should be cumulus clouds in the blue sky.

For me, this is an obvious sign that global warming is now starting to accelerate. The changes that are visible around us bother me a bit ...

Alright. We are "talk- talk" about the weather and maybe it's time to visit some interesting place?

The rainy and windy weather outside my window will be the perfect excuse to go to ... the museum.

It was just my case.


Left or right?

While visiting the Philippines, I spent the weekend in Manila. This is one of those weekends when I visit interesting places while walking around.

This time, the walk to the Rizal Park, which I wrote about in this article, was disturbed by a heavy, downpour lasting many hours.

My luck was that I was close to the eastern part of the park, where two neoclassical buildings can be seen from a distance. You know, with columns and an ornate portal.

I was interested in their architecture, beautiful colonnade and semi-arched front of the building. From a distance it looked like some really important building, I assumed it was governmental.

As it turned out, there were a total of three buildings that contain museums. Also my association with government buildings turned out to be accurate, about which later.

Getting away from the heat and starting rain is actually a good opportunity to visit the museum, right?

Oh cool. Is it difficult to choose which building? Left or right? OK, let's start with the one on the left. As I am left-handed, I usually choose the left side :).

So easy. A few steps and I'm in the building.



Here we go...

National Museum of Natural History - the queue is not long, I can see over a dozen people.

I found it surprising. Oh yeah, the weather. This is one of the reasons. The second is that entry is free. It is enough just to put your name and the country you represent to the guest book. It is very nice that the museum wants to know which country the representative is visiting this place. Young and smiling staff, I guess students or high school students.

There is also a digital guide rental shop at the entrance. You can rent a device with headphones and listen to details in several languages ​​while walking around the museum halls. I have noticed Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Russian here. There is no Polish but it is English so I can do it.

Okay, come on in.

Oh, how beautiful. Beautiful spacious lobby that reminds me a bit of one of the main halls of the Natural History Museum in London. Very similar decor. White walls and, most interestingly, a large inner courtyard, covered with a glass dome that rises on a metal structure resembling, approximately of course, the structure of a DNA chain. Slightly curved, it supports the roof, which is also part of the ventilation system of the entire facility.

I also see the "tourist path" on the right. I am laughing because it is a zig-zag platform that connects all floors of the building and at the same time directs the flow of visitors. There is also an elevator for those who have trouble walking up the stairs. Six storeys. All full of exhibits.

Adventure just begins.



A monkey, a buffalo and an eagle...

The main hall is interesting because, apart from the structure supporting the glass dome and the zigzag walkway leading to all six floors, three large paintings are clearly visible.

And on one I see a monkey. As I learn from the description it is a dry-nose monkey that is very characteristic of the Philippine islands. It can also be found in Indonesia and Malaysia, but it is a species inhabiting primarily the Philippines.

Opposite the monkey we have the Tamaraw buffalo, or the marsh buffalo. This species is very closely related to this island`s country. It is common in the Philippines and today it is one of those animals that is considered an icon of the Philippines.

Between them I see a beautiful image of a Filipino eagle. It is the largest eagle in the world in terms of wingspan. Its wings extend up to 2.2 meters, and on average are about 1.8 meters. You admit that it is a large bird.

It is also quite a "big" bird, the third largest in terms of body weight. It can weigh up to 10 kg.

It is also known locally as the "monkey eating eagle". Legend has it that this eagle loves to eat macaques ...

As I checked, this has little to do with reality. The Filipino eagle, like any other predator, likes squirrels, lemurs, small sheep and bats. But he does not attack monkeys :).

It is considered a national symbol of the Philippines and is under species protection. Killing this eagle is punishable by up to 12 years in prison, so be careful.

I am not going to tell you the details of what I saw on each of the six floors.

I suggest looking at the photos I post in the article and gallery below.




You have plenty of exhibition halls at your disposal. The subject of the collection includes the history of the evolution of the clothing of the inhabitants of the Philippines, their tools of everyday life as well as weapons.




You can also learn a lot about the history of the archipelago itself, about the shaping of the culture of the nation and the difficult history of this country.



Flora and fauna...

The flora and fauna of the Philippine islands is presented in several rooms.



6 floors...

However, it's best to just plan a trip to the Philippines when the pandemic is over. Then you will be able to freely explore the entire museum.




I will draw your attention to one of the curiosities that interested me very much now.

This is the local historical alphabet of the Philippines - "Baybayin".

This is a very old one, belonging to the family of "brahmin`s" alphabets used in ancient India and Southeast Asia. The current Indian, Thai or Cambodian script uses this type of alphabet.

In the Philippines, it was used extensively on the island of Luzon and some eastern and southern islands until the 17th century. Marvel...



At the museum, you will learn about the history of this alphabet, see original letters and artifacts from the 15th century, and, if you wish, order souvenirs decorated with baybayin sentences or letters. You can also order a tattoo.



We're leaving...

The National Museum of Natural History is a place worth visiting.

As a visitor to Asia, it is good to have some idea of the culture and history of the country. It is worth knowing a little more than what is in tourist guides, because you can really gain a lot from contact with local residents. Including free beer sometimes.

Outside the window it was raining and my visit to the museum, with the passage of all six floors, took over 3 hours.

As there are also drink and snack stands, you can sit down for a while and admire, for example, the beautiful main hall. There is no problem with the benches. There are also interactive presentations so everything together allows you to spend these few hours in an interesting way.



Leaving the building of the Natural History Museum, you will see the twin building of the Museum of Anthropology in front of you. We will come back to this museum next time.

The place where we are now turns out to be a complex of buildings of the National Museum of the Philippines. We have these twin buildings for the Museum of Anthropology and Natural History. Right behind them are the main building of the National Museum and the building of the Museum of Art.

Interestingly, they were completed in 1941. Unfortunately, they were demolished during the war.

Reconstruction was completed after the war and the buildings were allocated to the seats of two ministries. Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture.

In 1998 it was decided to use these buildings as museums.

The building we are just leaving was put into use in 2017, after a thorough modernization from the building of the ministry to the building of the museum. It all explains my impression that the buildings are new for the style they show.


To get to the museum, I recommend a walk. Best from one of the Red Planet hotels,

which I have already mentioned many times. You will find 3 in the area. They are close and have a decent standard of rooms. It is clean and tidy and the price is around $ 35 per night.

From Red Planet Manila Bay Hotel, head towards Rizal Park.

Turn right at the flagpole and walk to the end of the park to the Agrifina Circle. It is a roundabout with museums. You can see their twin buildings from afar. You can read about the park itself in my previous article.

If you would like to go by this bus, I recommend lines 6 and 17 with a stop on United Nations Avenue.

In the vicinity of the museum, within a 5-minute walk, there is also a Planetarium.

And if your stay at the museum is in the afternoon and you are able to wait 2 hours in Rizal Park, it's worth it.

On weekends, after 7:30 pm, a beautiful show of playing fountains begins in the middle of the park. In the nearby numerous stands you can buy fresh mango or pineapple. You can drink any cooling drink or order street food. I guarantee a beautiful experience.


As an old Filipino proverb says:

Opportunity only knocks once: Grab it or you'll lose it.

Ang pagkakataon sa buhay ay madalang dumating. Kapag narito na, ating samantalahin.

ᜀᜅ᜔ ᜉᜄ᜔ᜃᜃᜆᜂᜈ᜔ ᜐ ᜊ̥ᜑᜌ᜔ ᜀᜌ᜔ ᜋᜇᜎᜅ᜔ ᜇ̥ᜋᜆ̊ᜅ᜔. 

ᜃᜉᜄ᜔ ᜈᜇ̵̊ᜆᜓ ᜈ, ᜀᜆ̊ᜅ᜔ ᜐᜋᜈ᜔ᜆᜎᜑ̊ᜈ᜔.



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