There’s something about museums that makes them more special than any other place you’d visit in your free time. It’s deep, dramatic, meaningful, and… not for everyone! It is enclosed in walls but somehow has the ability to take you somewhere else. It is able to take you back in time. The museum is home to the old souls.

If you suddenly feel tired of the usual loud, crowded commercial places you go to relax, think of the many underrated museums in Manila you can visit. This is especially a good idea in this rainy season when going to the beach seems like the least option for the weekend. You also wouldn’t have to spend a lot of money. To add, you don’t even need to go with someone, as coming by yourself can even be more exciting!

Here are 7 suggestions to put on your list: 

Sining Kamalig

Something for those who live in the North. Sining Kamalig is located in Ali Mall, General Romulo Ave, Cubao, Quezon City. From being a gallery space, it has transformed into pop-ups. These exhibits aim to help people of every age discover art by collaborating with other commercial spaces. Be inspired and discover both recognized and upcoming artists in Sining Kamalig.

Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum

While everybody is at the mall and watching some mainstream movies, take a trip to Pasay and visit the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Aerospace Museum. Originally founded as Marcos Museum in 1974, this military museum of the AFP is a world-class facility. It combines heritage, science and technology to honor the PAF airmen. You’ll find it beside Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3. It’s open for visitors until 5 PM.

Me at the Upside Down Museum entrance

Upside Down Museum

This one is a 1,700-square feet illusion museum the features upside down, floating, leaning, giant exhibits. Also located in Pasay, you’ll find it at the Boom Na Boom Grounds CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd. It is now improved with new and more exciting attractions for all ages. Get ready to be amazed with the power of art illusion, unique images, and sculptures. Check sites like Metrodeal for discounts.

Bahay-Nakpil Bautista

Let’s go back in time–like way back in time–to 1914. Located at 432 A. Bautista, Quiapo in Manila, Bahay-Nakpil Bautista is one of the oldest houses in the city by Arcadio Arellano. The two-house occupies two lots with a total land area of 500 square meters. Also known as “Tahanan ng mga Katipunero,” this well-preserved 18th century structure is a gateway to years past.

Museo Sansó

Now for the fourth suggestion, let’s go to the city of San Juan. This museum is found in the same building as Cafe Sanso. ‘Museo Sanso is for those who collect paintings. This private museum preserves and promotes the legacy of Juvenal Sansó, an internationally acclaimed master artist. You’ll find here a few dozen pieces on display that belong to the artist’s personal collection. Fundacion Sansó issues Certificates of Authenticity to the buyers of his artworks.

Museum of Contemporary Art and Design

Most museums open around 10 in the morning, like the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. It is located at the ground floor of Benilde School of Design and Arts Campus, Dominga Street in Malate, Manila. It offers the experience of and exposure to contemporary art and its various publics, focusing on Manila as context. Interestingly, MCAD seeks to develop an innovative and inclusionary paradigm where “free access for all” addresses more than a cross-section of social classes. Although parking space is limited, admission is free.

Marikina Shoe Museum

Last but not least is this entry from the east. The Marikina City Footwear Museum is an intimate space that features some of the footwear worn by political figures, like Imelda Marcos. The “Shoe Capital of the Country” is definitely a happy place for the shoe nuts. Open daily, entrance fee to the Marikina Shoe Museum costs only 50 pesos for people who visit from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Parting Words

Going to a museum is a great way to feed your mind. It’s also a humbling experience where you realize there are a lot of things you don’t know. For this weekend, let yourself relax, be deep, and be artsy. Take time to discover and appreciate things that are out of your league. There are many hidden gems in Manila like the underrated museums on this list – you just have to be curious enough.

Have you ever been to any of these museums? Do you want to visit them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!