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Ayala Museum

Ayala Museum
Established 1967
Location Makati Avenue,corner Dela Rosa Street, Metro Manila, Philippines
Type Art and Historical Museum

The Ayala Museum is run privately by Ayala Foundation, Inc. This six-storey edifice houses ethnographic and archaeological exhibits on Filipino culture, art, and history. Since its establishment in 1967,[1] the museum has been committed to showcasing overseas collections and situating contemporary Philippine art in the global arena in a two-way highway of mutual cooperation and exchange with local and international associates.[2]


  • History 1
  • Permanent exhibitions 2
  • Changing Exhibitions 3
    • Ground Floor Gallery 3.1
    • Third Floor Gallery 3.2
  • Special attractions 4
    • Filipino Heritage Library 4.1
    • Ceramics Study Center 4.2
    • Museum Café 4.3
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Literature 7
  • External links 8


Envisioned during the 1950s by Philippine abstract painter Fernando Zóbel de Ayala y Montojo, as a museum of Philippine history and iconography, the Ayala Museum was built in 1967 as a project of the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (then known as the Filipinas Foundation, Inc). The museum moved to its new building designed by Leandro V. Locsin and partners, led by Leandro Y. Locsin, Jr. It was formally dedicated as the Ayala Corporation’s gift to the Filipino people on its 170th anniversary on September 28, 2004.[3]

Permanent exhibitions

  • The Diorama Experience — Sixty handcrafted dioramas form the core of Ayala Museum’s historical collections and chronicle Philippine history. The exhibition highlights major events and themes from prehistoric times to the recognition of Philippine independence by the United States in 1946. The exhibition culminates with People Power, a multimedia presentation that chronicles the events that led to the First EDSA People Power Revolution in 1986, including the tumultuous 1950s, the riotous martial law years, and the restoration of Philippine democracy by a new kind of uprising.[4]
  • Maritime Vessels — The museum also houses several models of the different watercrafts that plied the Philippine seas and contributed to the development of Philippine maritime trade and colonial economy.[5]
  • Pioneers of Philippine Art - Philippine art from the late 19th to the 20th century, in the works of Luna, Amorsolo, and Zobel.[6]
  • Gold of Ancestors — An exhibition of more than one thousand gold objects from cultures that existed in the Philippines before colonization in the 16th century. Many of the precious objects here were recovered in association with 10th- to 13th-century Chinese export ceramics. Similarities in form and iconography with artifacts of other Southeast Asian cultures affirm regional affinities and interests. Adornments of elite individuals and their deities include an array of golden sashes, necklaces, earrings and finger rings, bracelets, and anklets.[7]
  • Embroidered Multiples — The exhibition features selections from the Leiden National Museum of Ethnology’s collection of Philippine garments acquired from the French diplomat Bréjard, who served in Manila from 1881 to 1886. The collection includes rare, embroidered silk trousers or sayasaya worn by Philippine elite men, formerly known only through 19th-century watercolor images. Multiple examples of delicately embroidered nipis blouses provide a lexicon of decorative techniques including relief embroidery, calado openwork, and supplementary weft or suksuk, as well as the changing silhouette of women’s fashion.[8]
  • A Millennium of Contact — A display of more than 500 Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics found in the Philippines, telling the story of how the country forged social and commercial ties with China and its neighbors.[9]

Changing Exhibitions

Ground Floor Gallery

Contemporary exhibitions such as retrospectives of Filipino artists and contemporary international art are housed at the ground floor of the museum.

Recent exhibition features the "Beyond Tobacco" exhibit which is in time with Ayala Corporation’s 180th anniversary. Beyond Tobacco presents the rich economic history of the Philippines and its deep relationship with Spain during and after the Tobacco Monopoly in the 19th century by its large collection of artifacts, memorabilia, maps, and photographs of the Compañia General de Tobacos de Filipinas (also known as Tabacalera). Artifacts such as tobaccos, cigar holders, and other paraphernalia are shown in the exhibit. Maps of huge tobacco plantations chiefly in Luzon are also displayed, including photos of the factory before and after being bombed during the Japanese occupation. Furthermore, paintings by Fernando Amorsolo and books written by Jaime Gil de Biedma and other biographers are on display.[10] The exhibit was curated by Professor Martin Rodrigo of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (also known as Pompeu Fabra University) in Barcelona, Spain.[11]

Third Floor Gallery

The museum’s third floor galleries and the Zobel multipurpose hall are designed to house the changing displays showing Pioneers of Philippine Art, Images of Nation, New Frontiers, and Collector Series- from the 18th century to the contemporary period of Philippine art.[12] Pioneers of Philippine Art showcases the 100 years of Philippine art from the late 19th century to the 20th century in the works of three famous Filipino artists namely Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo and Fernando Zobel.[13] Paintings of Amorsolo includes Palay Maiden (1920), Maiden with Lanzones (1924), Maiden in a Flower Garden (1948), Portrait of Victoria Zobel de Ayala (1948), and Open Market Scene (1957-1958) to name a few. All works of Zobel highlights pure non-objectivism and abstract art. Some of these include Vasata (1960), Portrait of Ep (1961), El Balcon II (1964), Pausa Clara (1966), and Las Soledades de Lope de Vega (1968).

Images of Nation shows the works of the national artists for visual arts of the Philippines while, New Frontiers features the work of contemporary artists. Launched in 2010, Images of Nation presents each exhibition with corresponding educational components and publications, such as introduction to the exhibition, captions of each artwork, exhibition guides, and exhibition catalogues that provide an effective learning experience for the visitors of the museum. In the past years, Images of Nation has featured a collection of works by Vicente Manansala (May–July 2010), Jose Joya (September 2011-January 2012), and Victorio Edades (March- July 2012).[14]

The Collector Series presents selections from private collections of art in curated thematic exhibitions.[15]

Special attractions

Filipino Heritage Library

The Filipino Heritage Library (or Filipinas Heritage Library) is located at the sixth floor of the museum. It is known to be one of the electronic research centers in the Philippines. It houses more than 13,000 contemporary volumes on Philippine history, art, language, religion, and the social sciences, and more than 2,000 uncommon titles, maps, and photographs. Additional features of this library include the digitization of its collection, CD-ROM publishing, development of web pages, and electronic databases.[16] Moreover, through its numerous Library Link initiatives in the past, the library has set up an online search engine that provides access to more than 357,000 Filipiniana database records from over a hundred partner libraries nationwide.[17]

Listed below are the varieties of collections that can be accessed within the library.[18]

Core collections

  • Rare books
  • Main library holdings

Non-book collections

  • Retrato
  • Serials
  • Elpidio Quirino Papers
  • Multimedia Collection
  • Himig Collection

Special collections

Ceramics Study Center

Aside from the pieces of tradeware vessels from the Roberto T. Villanueva collection, one section of the museum provides researchers with study collections including books and several publications on art and history of ceramics courtesy of John D. Forbes.[19] The Ceramics Study Center is available to researchers from Monday to Friday, 10:00 AM to 12:00 NN and is located at the fourth floor of the museum building.

Museum Café

Museum Café (also called M Café) opened in 2004 and is located opposite the entrance of the museum and adjacent to Greenbelt complex. In 2012, the owners of M Café- local restaurant group Raintree Restaurants, closed the café for a renovation and re-opened in October 2012 with an expanded and new dining concept- Kabila Filipino Bistro.[20]

M Café provides its guests with contemporary Asian and Western, café style cuisine. Broad selections of dishes are put under categories such as Snacks & Bites, M Dim Sum, Salad, Pizza Rustica, Noodles & Pasta, and Asian Inspirations. Kabila Filipino Bistro features mostly traditional Filipino cuisines such as Pork Bagnet, Sinuglaw, and Dinuguan.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Estrella, Nadine (2010). "Museum Hopping". The Makati Science Vision 13 (2): 24–25. 
  2. ^ "Ayala Museum Mission|Vision". Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ Estrella, Nadine (2010). "Museum Hopping". The Makati Science Vision 13 (2): 24–25. 
  4. ^ "Ayala Museum Collections, Historical". Ayala Foundation Inc. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Ayala Museum Collections, Historical". Ayala Foundation Inc. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Ayala Museum Pioneers of Philippine Art". Ayala Foundation Inc. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Ayala Museum Crossroads of Civilizations". Ayala Foundation Inc. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Ayala Museum Crossroads of Civilizations". Ayala Foundation Inc. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Ayala Museum Crossroads of Civilizations". Ayala Foundation Inc. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ Sorilla, Franz (2014). [. "Bridge to the Past"] . Philippine Tatler. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ Beyond Tobacco Exhibition Catalogue. Ayala Foundation Inc. 
  12. ^ Changing Exhibitions Museum Catalogue. Ayala Foundation Inc. 
  13. ^ Changing Exhibitions Museum Catalogue. Ayala Foundation Inc. 
  14. ^ "Ayala Museum Exhibitions". Ayala Foundation Inc. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  15. ^ Changing Exhibitions Museum Catalogue. Ayala Foundation Inc. 
  16. ^ "Filipinas Heritage Library| About Us". Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  17. ^ Ente, Jei (2010). "The Filipinas Heritage Library finds a new home at Ayala Museum". Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Filipinas Heritage Library| Filipinana". Ayala Foundation Inc. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ Ayala Museum Ceramics Study Center, Museum Catalogue. Ayala Foundation Inc. 
  20. ^ "Museum Cafe & Kabila Filipino Bistro- Manila". Asia Bars & Restaurants. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Museum Cafe & Kabila Filipino Bistro- Manila". Asia Bars & Restaurants. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 


  • Lenzi, Iola (2004). Museums of Southeast Asia. Singapore: Archipelago Press. p. 200 pages.  

External links

  • Ayala Museum
  • Filipinas Heritage Library

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