I had lived like a hermit from the months of June and July hence the lack of updates. Having been finally hit by cabin fever, I made up my mind to go on a day trip a week or every other week at the very least. Since I seem to be perpetually strapped for cash (something I plan to change ASAP), the day trips would be limited to cheap places I can go to.
First stops for my revitalized desire to explore are a museum and a gallery which are both walking distance from LRT-Pedro Gil Station – UP Manila’s Museum of a History of Ideas and 1335 Mabini Art Gallery.
After alighting from the Pedro Gil station, walk north towards the street between UP Manila and the Supreme Court, then walk straight. You would spot the Museum of a History of Ideas; it’s very hard to miss. Then, going forward, turn left to Mabini street and ask around for Casa Tesoro – the home of 1335 Mabini.
1335 Mabini is a gallery containing contemporary artworks. They feature both local and foreign artists. At that time of the visit they had “Cumulus Blimp: A Transnational Platform of Discourse” on display. It was a collaboration among Kristofer Ardeña, Micaela Benedicto, and Klaus Wanker.
I didn’t know what to make of the pieces on display (something I have long accepted as part of viewing art) but some sculptures stood out for me. My attitude towards contemporary and abstract art is not to bother so much whether I “get it” or not; this approach somewhat lessens my feeling of intimidation. Reading wall panels helps too.
To be honest, I was more excited to see 1335 Mabini’s interior; I was more drawn by their beautiful and expansive windows and the art pieces were just a bonus.
Museum of a History of Ideas
The museum provides the narrative of the Americans’ campaign on reforming education in the Philippines. They introduced the idea that modern means secular and that education need not be linked with religion. This idea was revolutionary at that time after centuries under the Spanish regime which used religion as a tool for their colonization. The Americans built hospitals and schools and thus the University of the Philippines was established. There are negative things to be said about the American occupation but history books do not vilify them that much because of their contribution in reforming education (and for fighting the Japanese colonizers). UP took in what the Americans had to offer and gradually “Philippinized” their system.
The museum is only one level but it took me almost two hours to explore its ground. The design of the building is simple but impressive – there are expansive windows which allows natural light to flood the entire floor, the museum installations are housed in a black geometric patterns, and; the area is painted white adding to the bare but sleek vibe of the place.
LRT fare – 30 php
1335 Mabini entrance fee – free
Museum of a History of Ideas – 25 php (75php if non-UP visitors)
food – none (I already had lunch before going)
TOTAL = 55 php 🙂
Bring a fan, both museums are not well ventilated.