The SPOT.ph Guide to Art Galleries in Manila and Pasay
Because you can never run out of things to do in the country's capital.
(SPOT.ph) Manila, one of the oldest cities in the country, has had its share of long periods of colonization, political turmoil, and even modern-day crime. But hidden in its Art Deco buildings and small alleys are galleries and museums that may allow you to escape into a different world and time or give you a different perspective through some amazing works of art.
We round up 10 artistic spaces in Manila and Pasay that you should check out. Who knows? You may fall in love with these cities once again.
1335 A. Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila
Open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Tuesday to Saturday)
If you’re looking for an artist’s workspace, a performance stage, a lecture hall, and a visual arts exhibition, then 1335 Mabini is your spot! Housed in a 1902 colonial building, it crams all the things you need into its 700-square meter space so you can get a full artistic experience. It focuses on building "a forum for cultural exchange," especially since it's located in the heart of Manila where foreigners and locals frequently meet for meaningful conversations and whatnot. It also hosts an artist-in-residence program, AiRPManila, to encourage discursive collaboration with artists from different parts of the globe.
Galeria De Las Islas
744 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila
Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (daily including holidays)
Galeria de las Islas or Gallery of the Islands has been exhibiting paintings, sculptures, and other works of art since 1967. Formally established in 1985 as a gallery, it also opens its doors to up-and-coming artists as well as foreigners who portray the Philippine landscape in their own works of art. Exhibits generally run for three to four weeks and may include group shows or solo exhibits in various media. Permanent exhibits include works by National Artists like Napoleon Abueva, Jose Joya, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, and H.R. Ocampo. Galeria de las Islas shares space with Tradewinds Books, Chang Rong Antique Gallery, Ang Kayamanang Asya Ink., and Silahis Arts and Artifacts at the Silahis Center in Intramuros.
Kalye Art Gallery
1220 Estrada Street, Singalong, Manila
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
You could easily mistake Kalye Art Gallery for a trashy and messy street corner. But that's what makes it different from the more high-brow galleries and museums in Manila. This alternative space features street art (thus Kalye Art), from spray paint to stickers, as well as skateboard and bike culture. Exhibition openings often present live performances and DJ sets.
413 Escolta Street, Mezzanine Level, First United Building, Manila
Open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Tuesday to Sunday)
98B COLLABoratory is another no-frills alternative art space in Manila. This artist-run initiative makes use of its small office in a 1928 Art Deco building to convene artists from other genres. Though it can only accommodate a maximum of 20 people, its location at the mezzanine floor sometimes doubles as a studio, office, library, shop, or even a discussion hall (with food).
Museum of Contemporary Art and Design
College of Saint Benilde’s School of Design and Art, Dominga Street, Malate, Manila
Contact: 230-5100 local 3897
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Tuesday to Saturday); 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Sunday)
The College of Saint Benilde’s School of Design and Art is one of the few art colleges in the Philippines. It is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, which is housed within the unique architecture of the school. It displays solo shows and collaborations by professional artists, both local and international, to facilitate and enhance its global education platform. In the past, the Museum has hosted Taiwanese artist Michael Lin, Dumaguete-born Maria Taniguchi, and Manileño Roderico Jose Daroy.
Metropolitan Museum of Manila
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila
Open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
More of a gallery than a museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila features changing and traveling exhibitions of modern and contemporary visual arts in the Philippines. True to its motto of "Art For All," it launched the program Touch the Artist's Vision in 2009, making it the first visual arts facility in the country to offer services for the visually impaired such as bilingual Braille captions (Filipino and English), bilingual audio guides, and tactile diagrams. Metropolitan Museum previously hosted the touring exhibition Japanese Design Today, a retrospective show of National Artist Benedicto Cabrera, and Peruvian performance artist Antonio Paucar.
National Commission for Culture and the Arts
633 General Luna Street Intramuros, Manila
Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday to Friday)
As part of its mission to preserve, develop, and promote Philippine arts and culture, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts also has its own gallery inside its headquarters in Intramuros. Most of the exhibits it houses are about the country's history, from the Spanish colonization to the Marcos regime; regional works such as those from the Tam-awan Village Artists in the Cordilleras and mixed media artists from Dumaguete; and local and foreign artists.
Cultural Center of the Philippines
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Contact: 832-1125 local 1504 or 1505
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Tuesday to Sunday)
The Cultural Center of the Philippines is your one-stop shop for everything...well, cultural. It is the home of companies for every art genre as well as theaters in all sizes. The fourth floor houses the Bulwagang Fernando Amorsolo (a.k.a. Small Gallery), which is often used for individual exhibitions and installations. On the third floor is the Bulwagang Juan Luna (a.k.a. Main Gallery) which offers a year-round program of large curations and retrospective exhibitions in its floor area of 440 square meters. The Cultural Center of the Philippines also makes use of its hallways to display more pieces from up-and-coming-artists. The Bulwagang Carlos V. Francisco (a.k.a. Little Theater Lobby) on the first floor often features murals and large-scale paintings. Pasilyo Victorio Edades on the fourth floor is used to exhibit panoramic works, photographs, drawings, and prints. Pasilyo Gullermo Tolentino on the third floor and Pasilyo Vicente Manansala on the second floor are both used for regional art exhibits.
Avellana Art Gallery
2680 F.B. Harrison, Pasay City
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
Avellana Art Gallery, located in the Pasay City compound of the Cheng family, is a post-war property and house-turned-gallery that features antiques, paintings, and sculptures. Artworks of every size are curated and displayed as if they're really part of a home. The first floor, which is the main exhibit area, is divided into two sitting areas and a small room. It also has a hallway which leads to a garden area often used for cocktail events. The second floor has more space for art, an office, and a balcony.
210 Loring Street, Pasay City
Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Monday to Saturday)
Galleria Duemila was established in 1975 by Italian-born Silvana Ancellotti-Diaz. If you're on the lookout for rare works by early 20th Century maestros like Fernando Amorsolo, Vicente Manansala, and Jose Joya, then Duemila should be your go-to place. Aside from specializing in contemporary paintings and sculptures, the gallery also devotes much of its resources to the advocacy of art historical research. It has previously published books on Julie Lluch, Diosdado Magno Lorenzo, and Duddley Diaz.
Photos from the Facebook pages of 1335 Mabini, Galeria De Las Islas, Kalye Art Gallery, 98B, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, NCCA Gallery, Cultural Center of the Philippines, and Galleria Duemila; and SPOT.ph archives.