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Ka Andres inciting the crowd to revolt. Welcome to the land of dioramas
Growing up in a very traditional schooling system some of my early projects were dioramas. Shoe boxes were transformed into creative set pieces. Some of my early dioramas were always related to the geography of the Philippines, presentations of some of the country’s land and water forms. The entire activity was very interesting and quite an enjoyable experience. As I grew up, the dioramas faded away into memory and were replaced by papers and presentations. Last Saturday, with nothing else to do, Tricia and I decided it was time to visit the Ayala Museum.

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The detail and the attention to historical facts aren’t lost
Known for helping out children who hate history and the monotony of Philippine history, the Ayala Museum sets itself apart from all of the other museums in the country by showcasing history through the art of dioramas. An entire floor of the museum is dedicated to this art, over 60 dioramas are in exhibit starting with the early settlers of the Philippines and ending just after the declaration of Philippine independence in 1948. The martial law and EDSA People Power years were covered by an audio-visual presentation covering the Marcos years and the events leading to the peaceful restoration of democracy.

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Up close and personal with the Japanese

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The hall of presidents and heroes, Pareng Jose (not shown) was a really short guy
Rich in information, the dioramas excite and capture the imagination of those who don’t bother or don’t remember much about their lessons. With finely made figurines and very detailed scenes, it is easy for many to get a glimpse of the life and times of the typical Juan and his every day struggles. Along the way, I got to read some of the descriptions depicting the displays, these little texts were of great help and weren’t wordy to the point of being boring. As I moved along, the walls of the museum had standees of some of our presidents and national heroes, no doubt to awe us with their stature and for me to finally know my own height (5 feet and 8 inches, the height of an American GI/Chinese Mestizo).

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Galleons and junks

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All aboard
Among the many figures in the museum, the one that model that really caught my attention was the collection of model boats, from the grandeur of the Spanish Galleons to the primitive Chinese junks of old. The models were expertly done and finely detailed that I got a kick taking pictures and videos of the ship models.

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It has been said that we Filipinos love to make a lot of noise
Spending the afternoon in the Ayala Museum was a good choice, with most of the museums in the city having been covered, I am glad that I got to revisit this old-new place to relearn what I haven’t taught in over 2 years (long story). As a teacher it is always a challenge to provide a picture or even a glimpse of our ancestors, oftentimes our museums would just have artifacts and nothing else, but the dioramas was a great way to tickle and excite one’s imagination. This is especially true for students who no longer see the relevance of studying our nation’s culture, heritage and history. I am also especially thankful that the museum provides free year-round access to teachers, no doubt to entice us to bring our students and maybe spend one entire afternoon teaching a year’s or semester’s worth of content in a very engaging way.

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The museum covers all of the important bits of Philippine history as well as those not-taught in the classroom
The Ayala Museum is located at Dela Rosa Street. Makati City. 
The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9am to 6pm. 
They can be contacted at (02) 757-3000
Or you can visit their website here and also like them on Facebook here
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