BAGUIO CITY — As the country welcomed change in its leadership last June 30, change is also happening in the field of arts and culture.
Starting on July 1, 2016, admission to the National Museum and its regional museums in the country will be free of charge for all visitors, Filipinos or foreigners, the National Museum of the Philippines announced in its social media page.
This new policy of free general admission aims to build upon significant spikes in viewership especially among younger Filipinos.
The National Museum located in the City of Manila, has 14 branches and flagship museums which include the National Art Gallery, Museum of the Filipino People, and National Planetarium.
In the Cordillera Region, these include the Kabayan Museum in Benguet and the Kiangan Museum in Ifugao.
The other regional museums are located in Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs in Rizal; Tabaco, Albay; Tagbilaran, Bohol; Butuan; Zamboanga and Jolo, Sulu.
The Kabayan Museum was established to ensure the proper implementation a presidential decree that declares the Kabayan Mummy Caves of Kabayan, Benguet a National Cultural Treasure.
Aside from a real mummy as part of the exhibit, the Kabayan Museum houses Ibaloi, Ikalahan or Kalanguya and Kankana-ey material culture such as wooden bowls to contain food, baskets to store and contain agricultural produce, a bulbous pottery jar to store and contain a ritual rice wine called tapuy, and a ritual skull of a pig.
On the other hand, the Kiangan Museum serves as a showcase of priceless Ifugao artifacts and ancient traditions. It stands on the historic Philippine Veterans Affairs Office compound facing the Kiangan war memorial shrine.
It houses Ifugao carvings on wood; household items like spoons, bowls and dishes; ritual paraphernalia.
Wooden granary idols or binulloll in various positions; baskets of different forms and sizes; metal weapons such as spears and shields; musical instrument – wooden and bamboo clappers, bamboo nose and mouth flutes, brass gongs, wooden drums covered with animal hide; and personal adornments such as brass earrings and bracelets, armlets, neck ornaments, belts made of shells and Ifugao clothing.
The museums used to charge P50 for students, P120 for senior citizens, and P150 for adults, and implemented free admission during Sundays. These are open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
National Museum of the Philippines, the Board of Trustees of the National Museum noted that increase in viewership has been observed when general admission is made free of charge for various traditional reasons such as National Arts Month in February, National Heritage Month in May, and National Museums and Galleries Month in October.
“Enhancing universal access by all Filipinos to what we proudly exhibit as our national patrimony and heritage has always been a primary concern, and with this new policy we hope to reach more people than ever before, both by encouraging visits to our museums, and by bringing the National Museum’s programs and resources to communities throughout the national capital and all the regions of our archipelago”, the National Museum of the Philippines statement read.
Since May this year, the National Museum of the Philippines and its regional sites offered free entrance to all visitors. This was extended in June as part of the 118th Independence Day celebration./JDP/RMC- PIA CAR