Add these shows and exhibits to your itinerary.
As events slowly begin to return to regular programming, museums and theaters are finally mounting in-person productions and exhibits. This is great news for the local arts scene, which was on an upward trajectory before the abrupt hiatus in the past couple of years. Manila has always had a focus on art, housing modern art schools since the first half of the 1800s and, since the ’40s, boasted a thriving gallery scene with roots in Mabini Street, Malate City. Art Basel even recently hailed the Philippines one of the strongest art markets in Southeast Asia.
Likewise, performing arts also have deep roots in Filipinos. Theater and drama were part of everyday life and ritual in pre-colonial Philippines. With our rich history and penchant for self-expression, arts and culture have never ceased to expand. Now that arts events are back, here are four must-sees worth venturing out this September for, from a Filipino-adapted opera to a reopened institution.
Ayala Museum Reopens Its Gold, Textiles, and Ceramics Exhibits
Having undergone a major refresh during the pandemic, the Ayala Museum is one not to miss. In early 2022, the Greenbelt locale reopened to the public, debuting a brand new lobby with warm and welcoming wooden screens done by Studio Taku Shimizu, while the rest of the museum’s interiors were executed by Leandro V. Locsin Partners.
The go-to museum for the breadth of gold jewelry in its chambers, Ayala Museum now features interactive digital exhibits as well. Visitors can access and learn about over 1,000 objects in detail through the lobby’s massive touchscreen displays and will find that their permanent classic exhibits have been given a major refresh.
This includes a display featuring a celebration of the circumnavigation of the world, an exhibit on various indigenous groups, and a showcase of Fernando Zobel’s work. The museum also reopened its 4th floor which houses its famous collection of Filipino textiles, gold, and ceramics.
For September 2022, Ayala Museum is holding a series of talks and workshops, which includes lectures on “Philippine History Revisited, Intertwined Conversations: Transoceanic Journey of Luxury Goods.” There’s also a workshop series open for kids and adults on watercolor painting Philippine landscapes—an activity fit for the entire family.
Samsung Theater’s Mula Sa Buwan
The newly opened Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Ayala Malls Circuit Makati offers a groundbreaking space that welcomes all talents, performances, and companies. Located on the mall’s fifth floor, it’s highly accessible to the public and offers a world-class experience for both audiences and performers alike.
Catch the theater’s debut musical production, Mula sa Buwan, which premiered on Aug. 26 and will run until Sep. 11, 2022. This musical, based on the classic Cyrano de Bergerac, has been reimagined to capture the Filipino story. What that looks like is a story set in the ’40s where dreamers and misfits alike fight for their place in the world.
Tropical Climate Forensics at The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design
The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, commonly referred to as MCAD, is a non-profit institution connected to the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde, School of Design and Arts. MCAD is known as a purveyor of contemporary and conceptual art and culture programs. The museum makes use of new media and technology to showcase innovative ideas and make art more accessible to different audiences.
MCAD has an ongoing exhibition called Tropical Climate Forensics, which is set to run until next year. The digital project, created by artist Derek Tumala, is the result of his residency with the Manila Observatory.
Viewers can access the project at MCAD or online, where they can explore the effects of climate change through a gameplay-like interface. On the 9th of September, MCAD is hosting a talk by Derek Tumala to elaborate on his work and hold a panel discussion with the audience.
Social Satire ANAK DATU at the Cultural Center of the Philippines
The Cultural Center of the Philippines, one of the primary platforms for preserving and showcasing Filipino culture and arts, just wrapped up the 18th iteration of the Cinemalaya Film Festival last month, which was its first physical event since the pandemic hit. But not to worry—the institution with the famed ethos that “art matters in the life of every Filipino” is housing Rody Vera’s ANAK DATU next, a production by the resident theater company Tanghalang Pilipino. The play discusses an intertwining conflict and social realism through the familiar guise of a family drama and will run from Sep. 16 to Oct. 9, 2022.