Metro Manila is not really a favorite destination of mine. There is so much traffic. It is so crowded. It really drains my energy. Navigating its streets is always a challenge. Nonetheless, there is no other way around it but to just face it. The place is unavoidable for someone like me who loves to travel. Metro Manila is a hub for a lot ot things I love. I just have to learn to survive and find a way to get the most of what it has to offer. And that was just what I did last March.
I knew that the musical “Ang Huling El Bimbo” was running in the Resorts World in March and I wanted to watch it. With the trip to Korea coming up, I worked on fixing my schedule to allow me time to watch the musical. “Ang Huling El Bimbo” is a musical featuring Eraserheads songs. The Eraserheads was the band of my generation so it was easy to convince three of my friends to watch “El Bimbo” with me. Incidentally, three of us went to the same university as the band members who rose to popularity while we were still gnawing our way in the dog-eat-dog world of college life. The scenes and some of the drama easily brought us back to our teenage years because the cast and their performances were awesome. I did not mind the possible neck strain of the partially distracted view of the stage because I bought the cheapest tickets. My view shifted every now and then from the stage to the large screen on the left where they projected the video. My friend got a good deal of ribbing from me for crying during some heartbreaking scenes. It was my way of fending off that tear that was trying to break free from my lacrimal glands. I really enjoyed the show. I look forward to watching more Filipino musicals!
I had a day to spare in Manila so I asked my friend, Shirly, to accompany me to visit the museums. Our first stop was the National Museum of Fine Arts. The museum was heaven for me since I love to paint. Immediately, when one entered the main gallery, Juan Luna’s Spoliarium stood with such jaw-dropping splendor. It covered almost the entire wall of the gallery. Incidentally, Eraserheads had a song of the same title and it was a soundtrack playing in my head while looking at the painting.
The museum had different galleries featuring different Filipino artists. Many of Juan Luna’s works were displayed. One notable painting is the Portait of a Lady. Esquire published a comprehensive history of the painting and it was a very interesting.
Another Juan Luna painting being displayed was The Parisian Life which was acquired by GSIS for around Php 45 million.
These were the other paintings/displays that caught my eye.
These sketches of Fernando Amorsolo gave a glimpse of the painting process of the national artist known for depicting rural scenes. One could see that there was a lot of planning being done to create a masterpiece.
It became easy for me to spot an Amorsolo painting.
A new favorite of mine is Vicente Manansala. I was drawn to his painting because it was a little modern, colorful and it was done in watercolor, my favorite medium.
This is another Manansala work.
I am not really intro abstract but I like this Jose Joya work. (Yung feeling na parang kaya ko naman ito gawin siguro pero hindi ko maexplain or mainterpret ang painting. hahaha)
And I am a fan of Araceli Dans’ lacework.
After immersing ourselves with all the artworks, off we went to the National Museum of Natural History. The museum was opened last year and it housed a lot of specimens of Philippine zoology, botany and geology.
There is a atrium in the middle which makes the space bright and airy.
The remains of Lolong, once dubbed as the worlds largest crocodile in captivity, can be found here. The bones are displayed suspended from the ceiling.
The ‘taxidermied’ crocodile can also be found in the one of the displays.
It was funny that I wanted to visit this museum but only to realize later that there was one particular animal that I was (and still am) afraid of and I knew that it would be displayed in one form of another (a photo, drawing, taxidermy or the real one inside a jar of formalin). Before we walked through an exhibit hall, I would ask my friend, Shirly, to see first if there was such a display. And indeed, in some halls, the display of such animal existed. Hah! I looked like this frightened woman in a horror house. I always took a peek first at the surrounding and spot the possible area that might had that kind of display. Yes, I could be crazy and paranoid with my phobia. All in all, it was a pleasant experience.
After all the walking around, we were done with the museum-hopping, we decided to go to binondo. I wanted my milk tea , dimsum and milk tea fix. Not counting the trip to the 168 mall years ago, this was my first time to walk around the streets of Manila’s Chinatown. My first order of business was to visit Eng Bee Tin.
This is Shirly and our Milk tea order. Hi, Shirl!
We dropped by this dimsum place. The place was small but teeming with waiting customers and they only sell this type of dimsum. I think the draw was that it was freshly made every time. Oh, I want this one product kind of business.
And off we went to Greenbelt to meet up with friends. Metro Manila is not that bad after all if you plan your day right.
And because I had a lot of art inspirations, I was pretty productive after the trip. I hope to paint more.
Push lang, Kat! 😉