Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Intramuros Administration chief Guiller Asido has been excited about sharing the newly opened Museo de Intramuros to the public. He says that the project has been 40 years in the making, practically ever since the Intramuros Administration began with then administrator Jaime Laya.
Esperanza Gatbonton, one of the curatorial consultants of the museum, wrote about the worth of the treasure trove housed in the museum in her book “Philippine Religious Imagery”:
“This collection of the Intramuros Administration is extremely valuable because it represents the first real attempt to collect and preserve within the Philippines an important aspect of the country’s cultural heritage.
“The collection affords the viewer a panorama of the various styles, and enables [the viewer] to compare them with the artifacts done abroad in the same medium. We Filipinos have always tended to accept that we were the passive receiver of artistic stimuli from abroad. This collection proves that the Philippines was as much a giver.”
The other curatorial consultants of the museum are Gino Gonzales, Cecilia Sta. Maria dela Paz, Santiago Pilar, and Martin Tinio Jr.
The exhibit, “The Indio Response to Evangelization,” is a showcase of how Filipino artists and craftsmen merged their indigenous roots with the introduction of Catholicism in the country. From Franciscan saints, to the evolution of the image of the Immaculate Concepcion to curious statues that mix the semblance of a bulul and Catholic iconography, Museo de Intramuros is more than just a collection of ecclesiastical art; it is a slingshot through the artistic processes of Filipinos as they transitioned into a new belief system.
The content of the three-story museum is only 30 percent of the Intramuros Administration’s collection, which has been acquired through antique and art dealers. This was the state’s response to preserve these valuable artefacts that were then being auctioned off abroad or to private collectors. Some of the artifacts come from as early as the 17th century.
The museum is housed in two reconstructed buildings: the San Ignacio Church and the Mission House of the Society of Jesus.
The Museo de Intramuros is open Tuesday to Friday. It is located at the corner of Arzobispo and Anda Streets, Intramuros, Manila (beside the Arzobispado de Manila). For more information visit the Intramuros Administration Facebook or Instagram.