Fun Friday: Dioramas on Philippine History at Ayala Museum

Third Friday of the month:  Recreation / Leisure / Art

We've only been to a few museums around the city, and this is our first time to visit the famed Ayala Museum in Makati City.  I initially intended for this field trip to coincide with the boy's current lesson on Philippine history. It was a perfect showcase of vignettes from our past, presented in meticulously crafted dioramas, hand-carved in Paete, Laguna -- all 60 of them.

The Ayala Museum is imposing, impressive, and world-class. It is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, with 6 floors showcasing several galleries and permanent exhibits, plus housing the Filipinas Heritage Library.  More info on tours and fees at the end of this post.

Given our limited time at the museum, we prioritized viewing the fantastic display at Gold of Ancestors on the 3rd floor, and the Dioramas on the 2nd floor.

Guests are only allowed to take photos on the 1st and 2nd floor galleries, so we were not able to take pictures of the secure, vault-like entrance to the precious gold exhibit. After an educational and jaw-dropping tour of the Gold of Ancestors gallery, we went straight to the dioramas. We were blown away by the scale and attention to details of each display, maritime vessels included. The other galleries were well-curated with unique artifacts -- our time there was clearly not enough to fully take in and enjoy everything on display.

I did take pictures of all 60 dioramas, but I'll only share some familiar parts of history here.  I encourage you to bring the family to the museum, see for yourself and be amazed by the attractions.


Early Filipinos have constant contact with the sea and became excellent navigators and builders of boats.  Through the years, our shores welcomed several foreign vessels like the Chinese Junk used for trade and fishing, and Spanish galleons carrying treasures (scale model below). 


60 dioramas transported us back in time -- starting with this encounter with the early settlers, the Aetas (Negritos)

"Mommy, I'm taller than the Negritos!" 
There were several life-sized standees of historical figures, from early settlers to Philippine presidents mounted on the walls of the hallways.  See how tall or short you are standing beside each one! =)

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ingenious rice terraces in the Cordilleras were built by native Ifugaos around 1150 AD

Circa 1000 AD, Chinese traders arrived in junks with ceramics, tea, and silk to exchange with local products like pearls, wax, tortoiseshell. 

"Where's the blood?"
The boy was looking for a "re-enactment" of a blood compact, like the one he saw in his book.

The catalyst of Filipino nationalism - one of the most important periods in history during the Spanish era.

Death of the hero.  1896, Rizal was executed by firing squad in Manila.

Emilio Aguinaldo's historical proclamation of independence from Spain in Kawit, Cavite on
June 12, 1898.

November 1935, inauguration of the president of the new Commonwealth of the Philippines,
Manuel L. Quezon.

Filipino and American soldiers surrendered to the Japanese in 1942. Their Death March, from
Bataan to Tarlac.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur has returned in 1944.

I thought the boy was taking down notes of historical moments... instead, he was listing the height of the presidents! Asar!
Magsaysay was tall at 5"11".

Can't miss standing beside this well-loved couple.
Ninoy was 5'10" while president Cory was 5'4".  The boy is about 4'10.5" now.

 From this point, there were photo galleries depicting scenes from the 80s during the Marcos regime, with video footages of news clips during Martial Law and the People Power revolt.

Our visit was short and sweet, and we plan to go back with the girl next time. Hopefully the weather will be cooperative tomorrow so we can go and avail of the free admissions!

I learned that Ayala Museum will be open to the public for FREE tomorrow, July 19! They are launching Inspire Every Day! campaign. Guests can view the museum’s permanent and ongoing exhibitions from 9am - 6pm.  Register upon arrival.

Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Streets, Greenbelt Park, Makati City, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 759-8288
Email: hello@ayalamuseum.org
Facebook: http://facebook.com/theayalamuseum
Fees for Tours here: http://www.ayalamuseum.org/visit/

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