Wednesday, September 18, 2013

History appreciation 101 at the Ayala Museum

Another weekday holiday brought me and my museum-hopping friends Mary, Bing, and Man to the next museum/art gallery in our checklist: the Ayala Museum (http://www.ayalamuseum.org). I've been there twice before (both as a student) and there were instances when Noah and I were staring at the entrance but didn't have the time to go in.

Today, I had the luxury of spending an afternoon viewing dioramas that showcase snippets of Philippine history. Photography is not allowed, just like in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, so I am not posting any here.

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The 60 dioramas at the Ayala Museum divided Philippine history into various stages but not necessarily in the way it was taught to me in school. Philippine history was defined, in my history classes, based on who had occupied the Philippines at any given time: the Spaniards, the Americans, and the Japanese. Instead, the dioramas and a multimedia exhibit showed history based on how Filipinos viewed it: before colonizers, the loss of independence, the beginnings of national identity, the loss of freedom during the Marcos regime (which some people may argue against) and then the beginnings of the Cory Aquino administration. All former presidents of the Philippines had standees showing their heights, with the obvious omission of Ferdinand Marcos. I think that whoever decided on this wasn't happy during the 70s. 

Some of the scenes had more stories in them than what's on the label. Good thing I got a booklet containing descriptions of each diorama. The booklet made the experience richer... It doubles as a souvenir too!  

I've seen dioramas before but the ones at the Ayala Museum were some of the most intricate. And it's no wonder because the artists who had made them were some of the best: the reknowned woodcarvers of Paete, Laguna.