12 Fascinating Museums in the Philippines Perfect for History and Art Lovers

12 Fascinating Museums in the Philippines Perfect for History and Art Lovers
Photo from Lakbay Museo
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One of the best ways to get to know a city is through its museums. And the good thing about traveling to the Pearl of the Orient Seas, there are more than enough to help you weave an interesting story of the country and its people. From prehistoric to contemporary art and local to international exhibits, the museum in the Philippines won’t disappoint.

These Philippine museums will surely leave a mark on every visitor as it gives them a wonderful story of the past. If you want to get to know the country better, here are 12 of the must-visit museum in the Philippines!

LUZON

1. Ayala Museum

facade of ayala museum in makati

Location: Makati Ave. cor. Dela Rosa St., Makati City

Opening hours: 9AM to 6PM from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.

Entrance fee: P425 for regular adults (non-residents), P300 (regular students, senior citizens, and PWDs), P225 (residents), P125 for local students, senior citizens, and PWDs.

Located at the heart of Makati central business district, the Ayala Museum is one of the most visited private museums in Manila. Whenever going to the country’s capital, the museum is surely one of the best places to lose yourself in amazing contemporary art and uplift your spirit through the Philippines’ inspiring history. It houses a large number of rare and priceless cultural and historical items not found elsewhere in the country.

The 15-year old museum in the Philippines features four floors of amazing works of art on Filipino culture, art, and history. Ayala Museum is just adjacent to Greenbelt. Among the museum’s highlights is its collection of archeological artifacts, notably the Gold of Ancestors: Pre-Colonial Treasures in the Philippines, which serve as a testament to the Filipinos’ rich ancestry and inherent craftsmanship.

2. National Museum of the Philippines

people observing the national museum
National Museum in Manila

Location: Taft Ave, Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila

Opening hours: 10AM to 5PM from Tuesday to Sunday

Entrance fee: Free

If you’re into history and culture, the National Museum of the Philippines is the perfect place to be. The National Museum of the Philippines history dates back to 1901 which is a government agency museum that includes research and conservation programs throughout the archipelago. The National Museum Manila houses three buildings; the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Anthropology and the National Planetarium Philippines that houses the natural and cultural history of Filipinos and our environment. The collection ranges from thousands of years ago to the present.

It is also home to Juan Luna’s famous Spoliarium— a gigantic painting more than four meters high and seven-and-a-half meters wide, making it the Philippines’ largest painting. Another great thing about this museum is that admission is free! So don’t miss this best tourist spot in Manila!

3. Museo Pambata

Kids reading story books at museo pambata
Photo from Museo Pambata

Location: Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive, Manila

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 8AM to 5PM (September to February), 9AM to 12PM. and 1PM to 5PM (March to August); Sunday, 1PM to 5PM

Entrance fee: Children and Adults – P250; Infants under 2 years, museum workers, teachers (with valid ID) – FREE; Manila residents (with valid ID) – 50% discount

Museo Pambata is the first children’s interactive museum in the Philippines. Founded in 1993, Museo Pambata’s mission is to strengthen the knowledge, values, and cultural identity of Filipino children through its advocacy programs providing innovative learning experiences. Designed especially for children, this museum also serves as an alternative to the formal classroom environment. Unlike traditional museums in Metro Manila, Museo Pambata features hands-on exhibits that encourage children to explore and discover various concepts while they play.

4. Pinto Art Museum

Mediterranean style art museum in antipolo, rizal

Location: Silangan Gardens, 1 Sierra Madre Street, Greenheights, Antipolo City

Opening hours: 9AM to 6PM from Tuesday to Sunday

Entrance fee: P200 for adults; P180 for senior citizens and PWD with valid IDs; P100 for students with valid school IDs (Children below 3 years old are free)

When you arrive at Pinto Art Museum, it’ll have you thinking if you’re still in the Philippines with its colonial Spanish architecture with touches of Mediterranean. The museum is popular not only for its Instagram-worthy interiors but also for its artworks collected by the owner, Dr. Joven Cuanang, beginning in 1986. The museum (pinto means door in Filipino) was founded on the principle that art plays a diplomatic role in bridging distinctive nationalities, worldviews, and communities. 

5. The Mind Museum

hair of woman and a girl stand as they hold the metal ball at mind museum
Photo from The Mind Museum

Location: JY Campos Park, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9AM to 6PM

Entrance fee: P750 for an all-day pass (Tuesday to Saturday); P600 for a three-hour pass (Tuesday to Saturday) and an all-day pass for adults (Sunday); P450 for children and private school students; P150 for public school students and teachers

Science really does come alive at The Mind Museum! With five well-formulated galleries— The Atom Gallery, The Earth Gallery, The Life Gallery, The Universe Gallery, and The Technology Gallery—the museum makes learning fun and interactive for the whole family. Be amazed at the first permanent T-rex exhibit in the country, the mini teaching planetarium, and the wonders of the “counterintuitive quantum world” among other equally enjoyable installations. Like Museo Pambata, The Mind Museum Manila encourages learning through play with its excellent design and conceptualization. Kids will definitely enjoy this museum in the Philippines.

6. The Dessert Museum

two ladies enjoy the colorful banana play area in dessert museum
Photo from Dessert Museum

Location: Unit 124, 126, 127a, S Maison, Coral Way, Conrad Hotel Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City

Opening hours: 10 AM to 10 PM (Last tickets are sold by 8:00pm)

Entrance fee: P799

If you’re looking for a unique art museum in Manila, you should consider going to Pasay! Have the sweetest trip in Pasay when you visit The Dessert Museum Manila. It consists of 12,000 square feet of dessert play with 8 mouthwatering themed-rooms of sugar-filled happiness. This is the only museum you’ll ever slide into! And as you slide and play, you will also be treated to samples of desserts especially curated to fit the themed room.

7. Lakbay Museo

two ladies pose at one exhibit in lakbay museo
Photo from Lakbay Museo

Location: Level 1, S Maison, Marina Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. Google or Waze “Conrad Hotel Marina Way Mall of Asia Complex”

Opening hours: 10 AM to 10 PM but our last call will be at 9 PM

Entrance fee: P799

Another unique art museum in Manila is the Lakbay Museo. Learn about the Philippines’ rich culture and traditions in a very fun and modern way by visiting Lakbay Museo. It has very Instagrammable displays and dioramas! This modern gallery prides itself as the country’s first-ever interactive millennial museum allowing you to see the best of the Philippines in less than 2 hours without even flying and spending thousands of bucks. The 1,000sqm facility pays homage to the local culture and traditions of the Philippines through fascinating exhibits including a classic jeepney, a local sari-sari store, and a room filled with a variety of native clothing and textiles. You will also get to enjoy the delectable Filipino cuisine! Lakbay Museo will treat you to a variety of dishes and delicacies like adobo, tinola, and sinigang! This is one of the must-visit museums in Manila.

8. Metropolitan Museum of Manila

people looking at two paintings of two ladies at the metropolitan museum of manila
Photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Manila

Location: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Malate, Manila

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10AM to 5:30PM

Entrance fee: P100 for adults and children above three years old; P80 for senior citizens

If New York has “The MET,” the Philippines has its own, too! The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is a major museum in the Philippines. It was originally built as a venue for international art exhibitions in 1976, aimed at expanding the exposure of Filipinos to the visual arts of foreign cultures while enhancing cultural diplomacy. You’ll see valuable collections of Pre-Historic Gold and Pottery, colonial Hispanic art, and the growing modern and contemporary collections of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. These form the museum’s permanent collection of Philippine contemporary art and are exhibited on a changing basis, in thematic shows with varying responsive and education messages. This museum of natural history Manila is a must-visit.

Bonus: Other museums to visit in the metro are the Philippine Air Force Museum, Upside Down Museum Manila, and museum in Quezon City.

VISAYAS

9. Balay Negrense Museum

balay negrense
Photo source

Location: Barangay III, Cinco De Noviembre Street, Silay, Negros Occidental

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9AM to 5PM

Entrance fee: P40

Sure there’s a lot of museums in Manila that are popular, but in Visayas, there’s also something that is worthy to be visited. This is an antique house-turned-museum in Silay City that showcases the lifestyle of a late 19th-century Negrense sugar baron. You’ll see a lot of artifacts in Balay Negrense. Located in Silay City, Negros Occidental, it is regarded as the first museum in the land of sugar.

10. Museo Sugbo (Cebu Provincial Museum)

facade of museo sugbo

Location: 731 M.J. Cuenco Ave, Cebu City

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9AM to 5:30PM

Entrance fee: Adults: P30 (local tourists), P75 (foreigners) Filipino Students: P10, P50 (foreign students), Senior Citizen: P10

Museo Sugbo was once called “Carsel de Cebu” or Cebu Jail before it became a museum. During the revolution, it became a prison for the Katipuneros who valiantly fought for the country’s independence against its colonizers. The museum features four permanent galleries housing more than a thousand years of historical artifacts, three special exhibition galleries, and one changing exhibition gallery. It also has a gallery documenting the country’s political history ranging from the time of political nepotism to the current political set-up.

MINDANAO

11. Davao Museum of History and Ethnography

contemporary product of abaca weave in davao museum of history and ethnography
Photo from Davao Museum of History and Ethnography

Location: Zonta Building, 113 Agusan Circle, Insular Village 1, Lanang, Davao City, Davao Del Sur

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 9AM to 5PM

Entrance fee: P100 (adult), P20 (student)

The Davao Museum of History and Ethnography showcases the rich history and ethnography of the province. It mainly exhibits the heritage of the diverse tribes that inhabit the region then and now. You will also find the finest and rarest historical photos in the two-storey museum. And if you want to dig deeper into the province’s past, there are written histories of the province’s founding families, as well as handicrafts and ethnic instruments of prominent tribes such as Mandaya, B’laan, T’boli, Manobo, Bagobo, and Mansaka.

12. Museum of Three Cultures

historic artifacts displayed in museum of three cultures

Location: Corrales Extension, Cagayan de Oro City, 9000 Misamis Oriental

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 9AM to 12PM and at 1:30PM to 5:30PM

Entrance fee: P50

If you’re already used to going to a natural history museum Manila, why not try visiting another in Mindanao? To preserve the cultural heritage of the three groups of people in Mindanao—the Muslims, Christians, and the Lumads— the Museum of the Three Cultures was built.

Its three art galleries exhibit the unique soil paintings from the Talaandig tribe from Bukidnon, Mindanao, ceramics, life-size ceremonial Maranao swords, and the pangao, a huge four-poster bed intentionally built to hold the whole family of the sultan.

Make sure to book the best budget hotel near your destinations to make the most out of your museum tour in the Philippines!

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