Homeschooling, Local Travel

Our Manila Tour Leg 1 – National Museum and Intramuros

Third time’s a charm for me and my kids for this tour. We have visited the National Museum’s Anthropology and Fine Arts twice before, when my kids were too young to appreciate the visit. Back then my main reason was personal because I didn’t get the chance to visit the museum when I was in college. The National Museum’s Natural History is fairly new and was not ready during our two visits before, thus we prioritized this building for our tour last Sunday, June 23, 2019. In the photos above: a.) the amirugumi version of me went with us to the tour; b.) my kids and hubby by the stairs of the building; c) the Natural History Building’s ceiling; and d) access ramp going to the upper floors.

The slideshow above shows some of the endangered and extinct species we saw at the 4th floor of the Natural History building including a taxidermic display of Lolong, one of the biggest crocodiles ever captured. The poor croc died a few years ago while in captivity. There was also a display of mastodon (or stegodon?) tusk, a complete skeleton of a sperm whale, replica of some dinosaur skulls, tortoise, eagles, and other birds.

Photo below shows a cored section of Laguna Lake’s subsurface rock. Here’s some fun facts for you:

Did you know that Laguna De Bay used to be connected to Manila Bay? The column of rock and soil on the left photo below shows the soil and rock profile underneath the bay. The flora and fauna from these layers were analyzed by scientists and based on this analysis, they observed a shift from marine to lacustrine (freshwater lake) environment of the bay. This is significant because it tells you how hundreds of years ago, there’s a possibly huge river connecting Laguna Lake and the bay.

Will you also believe me that Laguna lake is actually mostly a caldera lake formed by a colossal volcanic eruption about 2 million years ago? If you don’t believe me, the “adobe” rock outcrops you see along Kalayaan Ave., (Makati) and those in UP Diliman campus, and vicinity were formed from ash falls caused by eruptions of the volcano. Don’t believe me yet? The Seven Lakes of Laguna are maar lakes which were formed by low lying volcanic craters. 😉

What I love best about the museum is the display of my favourites – FOSSILS!!! The first photo in the slide show is of an ammonite fossil from Cretaceous  Period – which means its age is somewhere between 79 to 145 million years old. The other pictures are polished sections of ammonite fossils. Ammonites are extinct relatives of the squids.

Have you seen girls during a mega sale event of their favorite clothing brand? Or how girls lined up when MAC opened its doors for nude lip color endorsed by Maine Mendoza? Have you seen how kids’ eyes light up when you bring them to a toy store? Have you seen how pigs squeal with delight upon jumping into a mud pit? I’m all those when you put me in the Geology Section of the museum! I was literally squealing with delight when I saw all the minerals and rocks on display. I fleeted like a butterfly from one display to another. You get the picture.

Hubby captured this moment of me looking at minerals inside pull-out drawers. I’m in my turf!
My happy face. Haha! Kidding aside, I’m wearing my own earrings, the one I made using plastic bottle rings/seal as part of my contribution to preventing plastic from going into the ocean.

I highly recommend that you also bring your kids to the museum. It brings awareness on how much species had gone to extinction which is a sad fact for the next generations. Gallery above shows some of the species that had gone to extinction, or are critically endangered.

If you don’t know yet, a section of the National Museum Anthropology is dedicated to the evolution of our language. Baybayin is one of our earliest known language. If you an alumnus University of the Philippines, the “sablay” when you graduated has baybayin “u” and “pi” printed on it. The artifacts such the Laguna Copper Plate Inscription shows a language combination of old Javanese sanskrit and early Tagalog. It is said to be a receipt of a debt paid in gold by Namwran to a chief of Dewata. I am speculating that during this time, there is so much gold in our country that debts are paid in gold. It also tells that important document such as receipts were engraved in metals instead of paper which possibly are not existing at the time (and well because paper degrades).

The series of pictures above shows our ancestors’ clothes, jewelries, and well, their fashion sense. Majority of their clothes show vibrant colors, the textiles with which there were made came from plant and tree barks and vines. Most of the jewelries were made of beads, vines, metals such as gold and copper, and animal teeth and bones. I am amazed by how delicate most of the bead works and how intricate the patterns were, to be honest. Take note that there was no graphing paper to design the necklace on nor any color palettes. All these jewelries were designed in our ancestors’ heads and executed by their hands in daylight as there was no electricity then. Some of the beaded jewelries, I expect, must have taken days to complete! If the jewelry maker was a multi-tasking mom of 10 kids who helped her husband farm the lands, and only doing the beadwork as a sideline, the cost of each jewelry which took weeks to finish, must have cost a lot! (This is me thinking like an entrepreneur.)

The National Museum is also a venue for paying tribute to our artists and musician. Their pictures as shown in the gallery where their works are also displayed. I stayed long in this section of the museum because I may like music a lot but I know so little about our own musical instruments from a long time ago. When I was in college, I used to listen to a band, the Gamelan, play some of our indigenous instruments during their concerts. You know what’s sad though? Their music hasn’t penetrated this generation yet the way foreign music had. Grace Nono, where are you?

Let’s talk burial. Your visit to the National Museum is never complete until you’ve seen the Manunggul Jar and the other jars and wooden coffins used by our ancestors in burying their dead.

The Intramuros Tour

Okay, maybe this isn’t so much a tour but more of a hunt for food. Haha. We were so hungry after walking for hours inside the National Museum’s Anthropology and Natural History. We did have lunch in between but after all the hours of walking, with water and food not allowed inside the premise for good reasons, suffice it to say that we were famished by the time we exited the museum. We decided to hit two birds with one stone by going to Intramuros and looking for a place to have snacks and ice cold drinks (the day was hot, as usual). But first, a photo outside the museum with my kids. 🙂

We went to Barbara’s for some refreshments and then went to the park in front of Manila Cathedral to rest. We took photos along the way but decided to not post them here as I’d be doing Intramuros a disservice – I took most of them while in a hurry. Will take better photos at our next leg of Manila tour. 🙂

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