Like any other country in the world, the Filipino way of life and the things surrounding them are in one way or another, shaped by art. And with the existence of art like music and paintings in the Philippines, the door to yet another world has been opened to allow visitors to enjoy a truly diversified experience of the country.
It wasn’t until recently that traditional Philippine music began picking up in popularity after being exclusively restricted to ethnic minorities for quite some time. With Western influence in their music, it is definitely not surprising to find that many Filipino bands all over Southeast Asia is well known for their ability to perform music from the west. Nonetheless, more and more local musicians are embarking on the journey of rediscovering their cultural heritage. With the return of the use of traditional instruments such as bamboo flutes, wooden drums and gongs, the Filipinos are slowly bringing old melodies back to life. Apart from that, Philippine folk songs in the original Tagalog have also made a comeback after Freddie Aguilar, the popular social critic sang Bayan Ko (My Country). This song eventually became an anthem of Marcos’ rivals during the revolution of 1986.
Visitors to the Philippines will be awed by the works of the country’s talented individuals in the art of painting. The country’s two most famous painters of the 19th century are Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo. The masterpiece ‘Spolarium’, which won a gold medal at the 1884 Madrid Exposition, is perhaps one of Luna’s best work. The mid-20th century gave way to other internationally acclaimed artists like Vicente Dizon, Fernando Amorsolo and Vicente Manansala. Those interested in contemporary art should give the Ateneo Art Gallery a visit. This art gallery showcases the permanent collection of selective contemporary works by contemporary Filipino artists and is located at Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. The Metropolitan Museum of the Philippines at Central Bank Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila is a must see for those with great interest in classical and contemporary paintings and prints from America and Europe. Besides the exhibitions, visitors will also have the chance to see slide shows and films almost daily at this art gallery.