the last time i was in the national museum was back in my UP days. i can’t remember whether it had to do with my colonial philippines course or for a humanities class. but that visit made me even more proud of my filipino heritage. so even when we had to brave late afternoon torrential rains and crossed the bridge on top of lagusnilad to get to manila city hall, we pushed thru with our plans of visiting it and it was a great way to spend a saturday afternoon.
i must say that our national museum is far from more storied museums in other cosmopolitan cities. for one, its natural history section lacks the extra punch provided by a wide array of natural specimens as told by my sister. except for the perfectly mounted butterfly collection and some pieces of the monkey eating eagle, that one section devoted to natural history had to make use of a lot of printed visual aids in order to make the collection more interesting. some said that most sections are too dimly lit and some of my friends even said that it apart from art gallery, the other galleries felt as if one was walking to a time space warp a la shaider.
for me, it was not about the quantity of specimens or whether the sections were interesting or not. what the national museum represents is the holistic view of one country's heritage as represented in natural history, ethnography, archaeological collections and art collections. when the manunggul jar and balangay greeted me once again, i felt that sense of pride. not too many countries of today can boast that their ancestry goes a long way back. baybayin section gave me even bigger sense of pride. as mr. noel teodoro proudly exclaimed in one of my kasaysayan 2 classes under him, "any country with its native language not being spoken till today does not exist on the map". and baybayin, although not being used anymore, is a uplifting indication of my being pinoy as we still use tagalog and other languages in everyday conversations. juan luna's spoliarium would welcome anyone in the grandest sense. it will command your attention and can make you look at it for hours. not to mention the works of pinoy grandmasters of the art, ably choreographed in several galleries of fine art collections, as well as the grand retablos.
it may be because pinoys generally have a short view of the past and easily forget anything from the bygone era. some even said that why bother with museums when one should only be focusing on what's out there in the future. but i always believe that one any nation bent on moving forward in all aspects of development has to understand its heritage. and the best way is to look from within by visiting the national museum.
my big wish is to see more pinoys going to the national museum. tourists flock there and in case you don't know, national museum is open on sundays, free admission.