I Visited the National Museum for Free! (And You Can, Too)

Now that we’re under Alert Level 1 in most of the country, people feel a little more free to travel around for leisure and recreation. One of my dearest friends Krissy celebrated her birthday on Wednesday, and she wanted to do it in style and culture at our National Museum complex in the city of Manila.

Not many people remember that museums under the National Museum of the Philippines all waived their entrance fees for good starting in 2016. Previously, admission was free only on Sundays; otherwise it was Php 150 for adults, Php 120 for senior citizens, and P50 for students. In fact, I made a mistake in the vlog below by saying it had happened only prior to the pandemic.

Anyway, yes: admission is free for the national museums situated in the Rizal Park area, and those are the National Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of Anthropology. (The National Planetarium is temporarily closed and will be relocated, since its old building has been decomissioned.)

On Wednesday, we visited the National Museum of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Natural History. Watch my vlog below for the attractions at each museum or scroll down for more info about how to enter these museums for free.

All you need to enter these museums are the following documents:

  • For adults: valid ID and vaccination card
  • For children: be accompanied by an adult with a valid ID and vaccination card

And that’s it! The National Museum complex is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9am to 4pm (will only accept entry until 3:30pm). Walk-in visitors are allowed for groups under 20 people. Please book in advance online for larger groups.

As you enjoy the art and exhibits at these national museums, please be mindful of the following rules that I can remember off the top of my head:

  • No flash photography
  • No videography (sorry folks, no Tiktoks allowed!)
  • No food and drinks
  • Keep your face mask on always
  • Do not touch the exhibits
  • Check your large bags at the baggage counter

If you’re driving directly to the Museum of Natural History, I suggest parking at the Museum of Anthropology which is the only parking lot available at Rizal Park. (You can also park on the driveway at the National Museum of Fine Arts, but you will have to cross the street to go to Rizal Park and the Museum of Natural History.) Public transport to the area is fairly easy as well.

I would definitely recommend the Museum of Natural History for kids, just because I found the exhibits more dynamic and can hold a rambunctious child’s attention far longer. Also, my nephew loves reading about animals and he would definitely have had a blast in the different installations in the museum.

The last time I visited the National Museum of Fine Arts was 30 years ago — yes, when I was a kid! But I found wonder in it then just because it was art by reknowned Filipino artists. On this visit I found new wonder in it, now that I can understand the significance of the history and context surrounding the creation of those works.

I can’t explain, but being around all that art and heritage fed my soul in ways I haven’t nourished it for a long time. It’s like sitting on a park bench on a mild day in warm sunshine. You don’t have anywhere to go, and you can just be and breathe. I highly recommend it.

About Noelle De Guzman

Noelle De Guzman is a freelance writer and recreational athlete with over 12 years of experience in fitness and endurance sport. She believes sport and an active healthy lifestyle changes lives.

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