Friday, November 10, 2006

Ayala Museum, Makati City

WHERE: Ayala Museum, Makati City

DATE OF TRAVEL: November 8, 2006
1) Although a bit pricey especially for locals, it is one of the best museums in the country.
2) Their DIORAMA EXPERIENCE section is a MUST-SEE!
Local Residents: P150 up to 3rd floor, P225 with 4th floor galleries (you should include this!)
Local Residents (student, child, senior citizen): P75 (up to 3rd floor), P125 (with 4th floor)
Non-Residents: P350 up to 3rd floor, P425 with 4th floor galleries
Non-Residents (student, child, senior citizen): P250 (up to 3rd floor), P300 (with 4th floor)
MUSEUM HOURS: Tuesday to Friday: 9am-6pm, Saturday-Sunday: 10am-7pm, Monday: closed
NOTE: Picture-taking is not allowed at all. :(

(from Ayala Museum's website)

Envisioned in the late 1950's by the late artist Fernando Zobel de Ayala y Montojo, Ayala Museum became a reality in 1967 as a project of the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (then known as Filipinas Founation) The museum's first home was in the Insular Life Building along Ayala Avenue. In 1974, the first Ayala Museum building on Makati Avenue, designed by the late National Artist for Architecture, Leandro V. Locsin, was inaugurated. The museum's current building on the corner of Dela Rosa Street was formally dedicated on September 28, 2004. It was Ayala's gift to the Filipino people in celebration of the Ayala Corporations 170th anniversary. Led by Leandro V. Locsin, the museum was designed by the architectural firm Leandro V. Locsin and Partners.

Forming the core of the museum's historical collections are 60 handcrafted dioramas that chronicle the rich tapestry of Philippine History. Ayala Museum also features a one-of-a-kind boat gallery showcasing miniatures of some of the watercrafts that contributed to the development of Philippine Maritime Trade and Colonial Economy. Archaeological and ethnographic objects from the country's northern and southern cultural communities complement the historical collection. The Fine Arts Collection features important works by three painters considered pioneers in Philippine Art: Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo and Fernando Zobel.

Makati Avenue corner Dela Rosa Street, Makati City, Philippines,
+632 7577117-21



1. Lakan Bakod is the Tagalog's God of Harvest. It is carved like a human with golden eyes, teeth and a gilt genitalia as large as a rice stalk.

2. In many cultures, GOLD is linked conceptually to spirituality. It is prized for its purity and coveted for its scarcity. Thus, a person who has gold was believed to have supernatural protection and therefore commanded respect and affirmed powers and prosperity.

3. The Boxer Codex (1595) is a manuscript acquired by American professor Charles Boxer which describes the peoples, manners, customs and lifestyle of Asia. Although the author is unknown, the watercolor illustrations are believed to have been done by a Chinese artist. The codex defines Filipinos prior to the coming of the Spanish. It includes 75 colored illustrations of the inhabitants of the places like Siam, New Guinea, Molluccas, Annam, Formosa, Cambodia, Brunei, China, Taiwan and the Philippines. Of the 75, 15 illustrations were dedicated to the Philippines. The Boxer Codex is believed to be the first actual representation of Filipino groups. The Boxer Codex was discovered in 1947 and translated to English in 1958.

4. On 27 April 1981, a heavy machinery operator working on an irrigation project in Surigao noticed partially-buried golden objects scattered along a 100-m stretch of landfill quarried from a nearby mountain in Barrio Magroyong, San Miguel. In the next 7 hours, he recovered several bangles and leg rings of hammered and twisted gold wires, etc. Shortly after this discovery came an influx of treasure hunters who came all the way to Mindanao for what is now called the SURIGAO TREASURE. Of these treasures, one of the most intriguing would be the GOLD REGALLA, a gold chain weighing almost 4 kg which is believed to have been a sacred thread. Some historians believe that this gold chain is an UPAVITA, an important cord used in Hindu purification rituals and only members of the elite Brahmin class were entitled to wear it. (see picture below. picture from this site)

5. Butuan City in Agusan del Norte was the first Philippine State to establish diplomatic relations with China. They had direct contact with the Champas as early as the 10th century. Like other cultures, Butuan's people believed that spiritual forces traveled in and out of the body through fontanels or facial orifices such as the eyes, nose and mouth. To avoid malignant spirits from taking over the dead bodies, they came up with their ingenious funerary face masks made out of gold! Depending on the family's rank and economic means, sheets of gold covered the eyes, nose, mouth or entire face. Diadems of gold sheets adorned the forehead which marked one's elite status (see pic below: pic from this site)

6. Gold was widely known and very common in this country that a 16th century account says that even children could accurately determine s, gold's purity. Bislig means 12 karats, Linggingin means 14 karats, Panangbo means less than 20 karats, Hilapo (which also means to wipe the face) means 20 karats, Ginugulan (which literally means purified) means 22 karats, Dalisay means 24 karats and Tumbaga means less than 12 karats.


Jose Honorato Lozano's LETRAS Y FIGURAS are visual chronicles of Lozano's era and traces its origins to the artful embellishment of the first letters of the chapters of the Bible in the middle ages.

* BURIAL OF A CHILD (Entierro De Un Parbulo) - Far from the solemn ways of the Westerners, the early Filipinos observed the death of a family members with much color and preparation. The most notable one would be the burial of an infant. The dead child was dressed in the costume of a bishop or saint and was mounted on a stretcher in an upright position. Men dressed in colorful attire carried the stretcher to the cemetery with the family of the deceased behind them. At the head of the procession was a band of musicians playing music all the way.

* NATIVES CARRYING HAMMOCK (Indios Llevando Hamacas) - A popular way to travel in the mountains was by riding on a hammock. 8 men would carry the hammock (4 at a time) and the person inside sat on a bedroll and pillow. The hammock was covered with a tent.

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