Friday, September 14, 2007


I accompanied my girls on their school field trip today. You can see the pictures here. All the children had so much fun! I sure had my fill of listening to the kids' giggles, belly laughs, and abandoned shouting today.

We went to several places, but the two I'd like to mention are the Manila Planetarium and the Central Bank of the Philippines Museum, also known as the Manila Metropolitan Museum. Too bad picture-taking is prohibited in those places; they were so cool.

It's been years and years since I've been to either place, and revisiting them was a most pleasant experience. It was a bit too pleasant at the Planetarium: sitting there in a cool, dark room, looking up at the domed ceiling that looked like the most deliciously black-velvet night sky with all stars twinkling, had me nodding off to dreamland in a few minutes. I think there was a presentation about the Hubble Telescope, it's all a blur now. But I did have a great (and much-needed) nap under the stars.

The Manila Metropolitan Museum was an entirely different matter. Since it's a popular field trip destination for schools, the guides are entirely used to handling and entertaining children of all ages. I, however, kept slipping out of the group -- only going back to it every now and then to check on my girls. Then I re-discovered a lovely surprise.

La Barca de Aqueron (The Boat of Charon) is a masterpiece by 18th-century Filipino artist Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. It (and some of his other paintings, e.g., Las Virgenes Cristianes Expuestas al Populache [The Christian Virgins Exposed to the Populace]) won him international acclaim. Those award-winning paintings hang in Spain, but I was told by a museum guide that the paintings in fromt of my eyes were smaller versions of the original ones, reproductions created by Hidalgo himself. And I found that the awe I felt when I first saw them years ago hadn't diminished. I was still drawn to them. I don't know how long I stood in front of those two paintings, entirely enthralled. What is it about art that makes it capable of eliciting different reactions from us, of touching us in a way that makes no sense?

I would've stayed rooted to the spot much longer, but I had to rejoin the group. Besides, if I stood and stared at those two pictures any more, I think I would've felt the need to run to the toilet and do a Number Two; so heavily did they weigh on me. But strangely, not in a bad way at all.


DaddyP said...

You were doing SOOO well - until the last paragraph.
I shall close my eyes now whenever I go anywhere just in case I get the same symptoms.

lizza said...

Well, it's true, DaddyP! I get The Urge when I'm in a library or a bookstore or an art museum or... never mind.

H said...

I would've echoed DaddyP's words, it's just that I totally loved the scat response. :-D It is exactly the sort of thing that I've learnt to expect from you -- A very endearing, outrageously Lizza response to the world.


DaddyP said...

Lizza our new art critic at the Times says
'If you want a really moving experience, this exhibition is a must.'

Kiyotoe said...

i passed art appreciation in high school even though i skipped it almost everyday to hang out with my teammates before practice.

Bad Dragon....

Turnbaby said...

Great art is great because of the universal response it garners. Don't know about the poo thing though;-)

Tammie Jean said...

Gorgeous paintings! The use of light in the second one is awesome.
And I love art museums... the way each work of art draws out a feeling or makes an impression. I'm overdue to visit one... you've inspired me!

Mimi Lenox said...

I'm with Tammie Jean. You've inspired me to take a walk through a museum. Those paintings are haunting. And you have such an artist's soul, Miss Lizza.

You paint so beautifully with your words.

kyels said...

Museums rock!

Really gorgeous paintings especially the second one because it looks like a photograph only that it's a painting. Love the way he painted the light; concentrating on the group of people ... Awesome!


houseband00 said...

What a great day you guys had, Liz. =)

A museum trip with the kids is really worth it.

Is Luna's "Spolarium" still there? I love the play of light and shadow in that one. Hidalgo's "Antigone" is, for me, his best.

Travis said...

When I was in NY, we so wanted to go to the Metropolitan Art Museum. But it was closed. We went to Natural History instead, which was really cool. But I regret that we missed the Met.

Christy said...

Lol. How could eliciting that feeling, NOT be a bad thing?

Scott from Oregon said...

So is there Toilert Paper handed out upon entering?

Sidney said...

Sounds like a nice day!
You remind me that I should spend more time in museums.

it's the little things... said...

So nice to 'visit' a museum in another country. Thanks!

Natalia said...

Every time I am at The National Gallery in London I stand in front of a few paintings for a long time. It amazes me.


eastcoastdweller said...

I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again: The Philippines is blessed to have You as a cultural ambassador.

I don't know too many of my neighbors who realize that such gorgeous art not only hangs in a Filipino museum, but was painted by Filipino artists.

tutubi said...

those 2 paintings are the treasures and main come-ons of that museum besides the gold items in their vault

such a lovely museum. wish to go back there one of these days

Lizza said...

EDC: Technology is amazing, isn't it? With just a few clicks you can learn about the wonderful art of another culture. Thank you so much for being so appreciative.

Tutubi: I saw the gold ornaments the ancient Filipinos wore: the belts, the facial ornaments, etc., dating to as far back as 500AD, I think. Amazing.

Lizza said...

H: Why, thank you, my dear. You always make me feel so appreciated.

DaddyP: And what exhibition is that? Forgive me, my brain cell is still half asleep.

Kiyotoe: Just goes to show you're naturally appreciative of art, I guess. :-)

Turnbaby: Yep, they just reach out and touch us. In ways stranger for some than others.

Tammie Jean: And I hope you tell us about it when you do.

Mimi: Thank you, Mims. So do you.

Kyels: Yes, they are. You should see them next time you come visit.

HB: Yes, it was a fun-filled day. No, Luna's Spoliarium isn't there anymore. I remember seeing that. It was a big one! I'm afraid I was too young/naive to appreciate it more back then.

Travis: Next time you go to NYC I hope the Met's open! So many great museums to visit.

Christy: Thank heavens for sphincter control. :-D

Scott: Sadly, no.

Sidney: Yes, me too. It's been ages since I've been to other museums.

Marlayna: You're welcome. Glad you liked it.

Natalia: I understand. Artistic talent is breathtaking sometimes.

Anonymous said...

these paintings are truly breathtaking.

*sigh.* =)

Patrick ^_^
..the one on credit: "Las Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho".