Five Underrated Museums in Manila You Should Visit
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Manila's Unsung Art Havens: Underrated Museums You Should Visit

Manilas Unsung Art Havens Underrated Museums You Should Visit

When we think of museums in Manila, the first place that comes to mind is the National Museum and its fine arts, anthropology, and natural history divisions. But if you’re looking for other places that truly unveil the city’s hidden culture and history gems, Manila sure has many of them that you can put in your museum-hopping itinerary.

In this article, we're taking you on a journey through the lesser-known treasures of Manila's museum scene, where you'll find an eclectic mix of art, history, and heritage waiting to be explored. From secret art sanctuaries to immersive time capsules, these museums offer a unique perspective on Manila's rich past and vibrant present.

Provenance Art Gallery

Located amid the busy streets of Bonifacio Global City, this museum in Shangri-La the Fort is deemed an “art lover’s dream.” Every month or so, the museum highlights various images of contemporary art with different exhibitions, featuring the works of amazing local art masters. In contrast to the backdrop of simple yet sleek concrete walls, the gallery has some of the most creative and remarkable pieces that every art aficionado will love.

Location: Provenance Art Gallery, Shangri-La at the Fort, 2nd Floor, Main Entrance, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Taguig City

Museum hours: 10 AM-6 PM (Tuesday to Sunday)

Entrance Fee: Free admission

Fundacion Sansó

Fundacion Sanso Museum 'Once in a Blue Moon' Exhibition
Photo by Facebook/Fundacion Sanso

Tucked in a residential neighborhood in San Juan, this museum is an ode to Juvenal Sansó, a Spanish painter with the heart of a Filipino. His surreal works, which range from watercolor, acrylic, and oil-painted art, are all displayed here, with giclees and other items showcasing his works available for purchase. 

Apart from this, you’ll also get to learn more about his fruitful life, how he's regarded as one of the most acclaimed artists in the country, and what his works embody. Fundacion also regularly holds informative talks and exhibits featuring other artists you shouldn't miss. The best thing? You can also drop by the café, named after the artist, that sits just right beside the museum if you ever need a break from your visit.

Location: Fundacion Sansó, 32 V. Cruz, Brgy. Sta.Lucia, San Juan City

Museum hours: 10 AM-3 PM (Monday to Saturday)

Entrance Fee: Free admission

Bahay Nakpil-Bautista

Relive the Philippines’ rich history at this museum in Quiapo! Also known as “Tahanan ng mga Katipunero,” Bahay Nakpil-Bautista is an 18th-century ancestral home preserved to tell Filipinos the story of how the Katipuneros fought for the country’s freedom through art and artifacts from the era. Here, you’ll see rooms dedicated to our greatest heroes, a small library that houses Filipiniana books, and preserved images of the Katipunero heroes, among many others that will invoke patriotism in its guests. It also serves as a venue for workshops and talks that highlight our history.

Location: Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, 432 Ariston Bautista St. (formerly Barbosa St.), Quiapo, Manila

Museum hours: Saturdays 9:30 AM-4:30 PM

Entrance Fee: P80

Art in Island

If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, this museum in Cubao is the place to visit. Pegged as the “first and largest mixed media art museum in the Philippines,” Art in Island combines the beauty of art with the wonders of advanced technology. The museum displays captivating views of nature and mesmerizing visual arts that people of all ages will appreciate. You can also take photos as if you were inside the artwork and be its main character instead of just viewing it.

Location: Art in Island, 175 15th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City

Museum hours: 11 AM-7:30 PM (Tuesday to Friday), 11 AM-8:30 PM (Saturday to Sunday)

Entrance Fee: P850 (Adult), P700 (Student), P600 (Junior, Senior Citizen, PWD), Free admission (Children)

Museum of Contemporary Art and Design

Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Malate Manila
Photo by Facebook/Museum of Contemporary Art and Design

The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), which opened its doors in 2018, is a part of the College of Saint Benilde's School of Design and Arts. The museum provides its guests with access and exposure to contemporary art crafted by local and international artists. MCAD also hosts film screenings and performances and displays installation art for its guests to marvel at. The museum runs different exhibitions every few months, so there’s always something new to check out here.

Location: MCAD Manila, Ground Floor, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Design and Arts Campus (D+A Campus), Dominga Street, Malate, Manila

Museum hours: 10 AM-6 PM (Tuesday to Saturday), 10 AM-2 PM (Sunday)

Entrance Fee: Free admission

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