10 Great Small Museums to Visit in Metro Manila

Explore a little more beyond the National Museum or the Met.


(SPOT.ph) Toured the 10 Best Museums in Manila and still craving culture, art, and a tinge of the bizarre? We hear you. Lucky for us, there's an abundance of all that and more in Metro Manila—and you can enjoy them in manageable portions, too. The big museums can be trusted to dazzle us, but we're turning our attention to smaller, more niche spaces. Something along the lines of the Calvo Museum or the little venues in Intramuros like the Archdiocesan Museum of Manila, Rizal Shrine, and Casa Manila.


Use your spare time in a productively fun way and familiarize yourself with currency, footwear, art, and revolutions in these small museums!


Also read:

Top 10 Museums to Visit in Manila (2014 Edition)
Top 10 Art Galleries in Metro Manila (2014 Edition)



Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (The Money Museum)

Address: A. Mabini Street corner P. Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila


Museum hours: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Entrance fee: Free


Do you still remember when the P5 coin was a bill? If not, a trip to the Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or The Money Museum should refresh your memory. The Money Museum, housed in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, was inaugurated in 1999 and has since been a public repository for our country’s different currencies—from gold artifacts used for trading to the recent redesign in our modern paper bills. 



Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum

Address: Villamor Air Base, Pasay City

Museum hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday to Friday) and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Saturday)

Entrance fee: P20


Planes are and will always be a technological marvel, even if you have zero background in the intricacies of its engineering. However, if you want to amend that fact, the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum offers exhibits on military aviation history and aerospace science. The “hangar” in Pasay includes a Heritage, Science and Technology, and Art section, as well as an Aircraft Park. Take pictures with the planes!

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Bahay Nakpil-Bautista 

Address: 432 A. Bautista Street (formerly Barbosa Street), Quiapo, Manila

Museum hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Tuesday to Sunday)

Entrance fee: P80 for adults, P50 for senior citizens and students


It’s touted as “The Home of the Heroes of the 1896 Revolution” and its walls are full of history. The architecture alone requires careful inspection. Venture inside and you’ll find Katipunero memorabilia and even the chairs where Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, and Jose Rizal sat when they founded the Liga Filipina in 1892. Don’t forget to say hello to the paintings of the Ka Oryang, who married Julio Nakpil after her first husband, Andres Bonifacio, met his demise. Read more about Bahay Nakpil-Bautista in 10 Heritage Sites in Manila Worth Visiting.




Marikina Shoe Museum

Address: J.P. Rizal Street, San Roque, Marikina City

Museum hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday to Sunday)

Entrance fee: P50


The obvious reason to visit the Shoe Museum is to scrutinize the taste of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, as it houses 749 pairs of her shoes. It’s a tad extravagant and you might just find yourself doing a bit of arithmetic. (How much do these cost?) Of course, there’s more to the museum than that. You can also check out other “celebrity shoes” and even learn a thing or two about the art of shoemaking. Take a trip around Marikina without going over P800 while you're there!



Museo ng Katipunan (Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine)

Address: Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine, Pinaglabanan Street, San Juan City

Museum hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Tuesday to Sunday)

Entrance fee: Free


Inaugurated in 2013 to commemorate Andres Bonifacio’s sesquicentennial birth anniversary, Museo ng Katipunan could not be clearer about what it wants to promote. Inside are replicas (of anting-anting!) and relics (like the poem Andres Bonifacio wrote for his wife Gregoria de Jesus) that paint a more dynamic portrait of the Supremo—often depicted as brash and hotheaded. Aside from these and the dioramas, the museum also offers online courses, promoted as a more refreshing take on katipunero history. Log on to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines website and judge for yourself. 





Art in Island

Address: 175 15th Avenue, Barangay Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City

Museum hours: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Tuesday to Sunday)

Entrance fee: P500 for adults, P400 for students, free for children below three feet


It’s the largest 3D art museum in Asia and it’s hella fun for everyone, as you get to pose and take photos with everything on display. What more can the selfie generation ask for? In Art in Island, you’re part of the art, so go crazy and vogue…or twerk, if you must. 




Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD Manila)

Address: 950 Pablo Ocampo Sr. Street, Manila

Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Tuesday to Friday) and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Saturday)

Entrance fee: Free


Film screenings, performance art, and visuals that make you go WTF? MCAD Manila offers all of that and more. The large space of the museum offers artists a huge playground and when creativity runs amok, the audience should prepare to go “huh?” and “oooh.” There's always something new here, so visit frequently. 



Fundacion Sansó

Address: 32 V.Cruz Street, San Juan City

Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday to Friday)

Entrance fee: P100

If you're asking who Sansó is, this is all the more reason to visit the museum dedicated to his art. The Spanish-born Filipino artist is a prolific expressionist whose work has been exhibited in art hubs in Italy, Spain, France, and the United States. Pay the museum a visit and you'll get a quick survey of his art and his life, detaling the influences his experiences had on the various visual media he mastered. Fundacion Sansó is what Orlina is to Tagaytay or what BenCab is to Baguio. Check out the café named after him too!



UP Manila: Museum of a History Of Ideas

Address: PM-MHI Building, Philippine General Hospital Compound, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila

Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Tuesday to Friday) and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Saturday)

Entrance fee: Free


Do you ever wonder why the University of the Philippines is regarded with such prestige? The answer is so long that they were able to make a museum out of it. The Museum of a History of Ideas documents “the contributions of the State University in shaping the Philippines as a nation.” A quick visit might help you understand where the trademark yabang of UP graduates come from. 




Presidential Museum and Library

Address: 2/F Kalayaan Hall, Malacañang, Jose P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila

Museum hours: Tours are conducted hourly (except during lunch hour) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Reservations are required, preferably 14 days ahead.)

Entrance fee: P50 for adults, P30 for concessionary groups (students, senior citizens, and PWDs)


Why not pay the presidents, as in all of them, a visit? The Presidential Museum and Library will acquaint you with the men and women who made the tough decisions that birthed the nation we live in. The periodicals and other bound volumes encased in shelves may seem ordinary, but these documents shaped pretty much everything around us. You can also check out little trinkets, articles of clothing, and other presidential memorabilia. 


Money Museum photos from www.baktincorporation.com and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Airforce Museum photos from www.paf.mil.ph; Bahay Nakpil-Bautista photo from bahaynakpil.org; Marikina Shoe Museum photo from www.manilacitytour.com; Museo ng Katipunan from www.sanjuancity.gov.ph; Presidential Museum and Library photo from malacanang.gov.ph. Fundacion Sansó, Art in Island, MCAD Manila, and Museum of a History of Ideas photos from official Facebook pages. 


Also read:

Top 10 Museums to Visit in Manila (2014 Edition)
Top 10 Art Galleries in Metro Manila (2014 Edition)

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