Museo Orlina


Geometry and art come alive
Tucked away in the misty hills and mountains of Tagaytay is the Museo Orlina, a new addition to the many sights that dot the roads of Tagaytay. Like the BenCab Museum in Tagaytay, the Museo Orlina houses the veritable works of renowned glass sculptor Ramon G. Orlina.


A cast of the Quattromondial, how I became familiar with the Ramon Orlina name
Ever since I started studying in UST, the name Ramon Orlina has been synonymous to the Quattromondialmonument in the alma mater’s quadricentennial park. The Quattromondial is a massive structure of bronze and glass paying homage to the roots and heritage of Asia’s oldest and largest catholic university. Unveiled to much fanfare Orlina’s sculpture was forever ingrained in my memory; massive and very striking, the monument is a sight to behold. Thanks to the university’s efforts it got me interested in Ramon Orlina and his works. When I visited the BenCab museum last December I got to spot some of his complex and abstract glass sculptures amidst the eclectic paintings of BenCab. Amazed and awed by the craftsmanship I would finally get to know the man and his works with a brief education of his own museum in Tagaytay.


The facade of the museum and its amphitheater with modernist sculptures. Watch out for Sabel, BenCab’s infamous model and inspiration


A sculpture made out from the materials from our eyeglasses

At first glance the Museo Orlina may not look like much, it could pass off as an ordinary rest house in Tagaytay. But stepping inside the museum is like stepping inside a glass store. Every book and cranny is stuffed with many of his works. Each floor (named after one of his children or family member) traces the development of his craft. From simple blocks of glass transformed into simple shapes and designs to the more complex and illusionary, Ramon Orlina’s work isn’t one to be glossed over.


Angles and geometry, the beautiful rice terraces
The most eye-catching and astonishing for me was his work titled “rice terraces”, rows of intricately carved angular pieces of glasses forming our country’s magnificent Banaue Rice Terraces. Using different colored lights, Orlina’s piece accentuated the beautiful geometry of the terraces. Along the way, our tour guide would often stress out the properties of glass and how Ramon Orlina would manipulate these properties to create optical illusions in his work. Making use of the female figure, we would see how the properties of refraction and reflection work to create an entirely new perspective.


Piet Mondrian’s famous painting reimagined. A modern Rubik’s cube
More than just presenting Ramon Orlina’s works, the guides in the museum gave us an education into the creation of his glass making. All the while I though that many of his works were done through the traditional glass blowing, but apparently, what the sculptor does is gather chunks of glass and grind these chunks into smaller pieces using diamond-tipped tools. The creation of a small piece would roughly take around 2-3 months, the bulk of the labor consisting of the sanding and polishing of the glass.


Metal and glass come together
The museum undoubtedly is a great place to have a quick break from the now-present traffic and congestion of Tagaytay. With its sweeping view of the hills and Taal Volcano, the museum is a good pit stop just before heading back down.


They may be made out of glass but these things aren’t fragile in any way
The Museo Orlina can be located at Hollywood St., Hollywood Subd. Tolentino East, Tagaytay City. It is just beside Tagaytay Econo Hotel if you are coming from Manila. 
They can be reached at (046) 413-2581
You can also visit their website here

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