6 Best Museums in Manila


Manila, the bustling capital of the Philippines, is not only known for its vibrant culture and historical landmarks. It’s also home to some of the best museums in the country. From historical paintings to thrilling scientific exhibitions, you can find a gallery that will satisfy your curious mind. If you want recommendations, here’s our list of the six best museums in Manila.

Must-Visit Museums in Manila

You don’t have to be on a school trip to go to a museum. These popular destinations prove that visitors of all ages can enjoy a day of appreciating culture, art, and history. 

National Museum of Fine Arts

If you have an eye for art, you must visit the National Museum of Fine Arts. Situated in Padre Burgos Avenue, Manila, it’s home to 29 galleries featuring the works of local historical and modern artists. One of the notable artworks in the museum is Juan Luna’s “Spoliarium,” which won a gold medal at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884 in Madrid, Spain.

Another piece you can look forward to seeing is National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s “Filipino Struggles Through History.” It depicts the Filipinos’ resilience through challenges during the Spanish colonial period. The artworks in the museum have plaques beside them, so you can read the story and inspiration behind them. Guided tours are also available if you want a more interactive experience. The best thing about this museum is that the entrance is free, so you can bring your family or friends for an exciting day dedicated to culture and history.  

National Museum of Natural History

If you’re interested in learning about the diverse flora and fauna of the Philippines, the National Museum of Natural History is one of the best museums in Manila to experience. It contains 12 exhibits of biological, zoological, and geological specimens that you can find in the country.

Located at Teodoro F. Valencia Circle, Manila, you’ll identify the building by the geodesic dome. Inside, you’ll be in awe of the “Tree of Life,” which encases a glass elevator that lets you access the upper floors of the building. Architectural design aside, one of the highlights in the museum is a taxidermy display of Lolong, the largest crocodile in captivity. You can also find interactive displays, such as videos, diagrams, and guides highlighting the beauty of the country’s landscape.  

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The Mind Museum

If you have a penchant for science, you must visit The Mind Museum. It’s the first major science and art museum in the Philippines, conveniently located in the business district of Bonifacio Global City, Manila. You can look forward to seeing 250 interactive exhibits that are divided into five galleries: atom, life, Earth, universe, and technology. In addition, the museum has a 3D theater and a planetarium for a fully immersive experience. If you’re bringing kids along, make sure to guide them around the set-ups so they can maximize their experience at the museum.

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Metropolitan Museum of Manila

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is the best place to be for contemporary and modern art. Established in 1976, the gallery aims to expose the unique works of local and international artists. The museum’s exhibits change according to schedule, so make sure to check out its official website to stay updated on what it’s displaying next.

They currently have the Wild exhibition on display. Curated by Kathy Huang, it features the works of women abstract artists who draw inspiration from nature.   

National Museum of Anthropology

Take a trip down the history of the Philippines in the National Museum of Anthropology. Located at the Teodoro F. Valencia Circle, Manila, it features over 10,000 ethnographic and archaeological artifacts, like textiles, weapons, household items, and musical instruments used by early Filipinos. One of the highlights is the San Diego exhibit, which features a real warship dating back to the 1600s. It’s one of the museums in Manila with the largest displays, so make sure to take your time exploring so you can savor each item.

Museo Pambata

The Museo Pamabata is one of the best museums in Manila for kids and kids at heart. Located at Roxas Boulevard, Manila, the museum features interactive exhibits that encourage children to engage and learn. Their displays tackle various topics, including nature, music, anatomy, and the history of the Philippines. The museum also hosts art workshops, storytelling sessions, and games to help kids cultivate their creativity.

Outdoors, you can find their “Bahay Pukyutan,” a playground designed by National Artist for Architecture Francisco T. Mañosa to help children learn valuable life lessons such as sharing and cooperating.

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Closing Thoughts

Beneath the hustle and bustle of the city lies the best museums in Manila. Whether you’re looking to learn more about the history of the Philippines, cultivate your love for science, or freshen your perspective through modern art, Manila has a gallery that can satisfy your hunger for culture and art. Thanks to interactive museums, kids can cultivate their creativity and wonder at a young age. If you’re looking for recommendations on where to start, you can use this article as a quick guide! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are answers to frequently asked questions to help you plan your museum excursions better:

What are the most visited museums in the Philippines?

Aside from the museums on our list, other popular destinations that people visit include the Ayala Museum, Museo Sugbo, and D’Bone Collector Museum.

What are the three national museums in Manila?

Manila now has four national museums: the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Planetarium.

Can I take pictures inside the National Museum?

You’re allowed to take pictures inside the National Museum. But you have to turn the flash off to help preserve the art since they can degrade the pigments in paintings.

Related: What To See in Ayala Museum

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