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Areté: Ateneo's Wonderful Free Museum

Areté: Ateneo's Wonderful Free Museum

If you ever need a cure for monotony, visit one of the many museums Manila has to offer. Museums in Manila are plentiful. I recently found a new to me museum in the North at, Ateneo De Manila University. The last few months I found myself every Saturday at Ateneo campus for a workshop my eldest was attending. I used the Saturdays frequently for writing and on occasion spent sometime at Areté, the newly finished building for Ateneo Art Gallery. My first visit to the art gallery was by myself and it was delightful! I took my time, wandered where I wanted and soaked in as many exhibits as time allowed! While I enjoy my alone time at museums I also very much enjoying exposing my children to museums for a number of reasons. I think I may write a full post about that for another day. Until then, please read about my five favorite kid friendly museums in the metro. You can notice in the photo below the excitement on Wells face just about a large stair case! Ateneo Art Gallery is a wonderful place for anyone to spend time. 

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Widely recognized today as the first museum of Philippine modern art, the Ateneo Art Gallery was established in 1960 through Fernando Zóbel’s bequest to the Ateneo of his collection of works by key Filipino post war artists. Through the years other philanthropists and artists followed Zobel’s initiative, filling in the gaps so that the collection now surveys every Philippine art movement in the post war era: from neo-realism and abstract expressionism to today’s post-modern hybrid tendencies. Artists represented in the collection include Fernando Zóbel, Vicente Manansala, David Cortez Medalla, HR Ocampo, Galo Ocampo, Arturo Luz, Impy Pilapil and Jose Tence Ruiz.

The Ateneo Art Gallery hosts innovative exhibitions and public programs highlighting works from its permanent collection as well as works from other collections for special thematic shows. (credit AAG website)

*Before you continue I would like ot apologize that I am unable to credit each of the artists, their works and titles in the photos below. I forgot to note each of the artists during my visits and can't find the information on the Ateneo Art Gallery website. 


The first floor is a collection of bright and intriguing works titled, LOVE IT AND LEAVE IT: A Legacy of Gifts to the Ateneo Art Gallery. 

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This fun city scape actually spins on a axel and is broadcast at the entrance desk with a live feed

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If you circle around the back of the city scape instillation you will find a glow in the dark space nestled away


Located on the second floor is a more mature collection, Elmer Borlongan Draws the Line. 

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I was particularly fond of not only seeing the artists work but also his work space


The third floor has pops of cheer and a space for the kids to interact physically with the exhibit, The 70s: Objects, Photographs & Documents. 

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The museum attendants were all very helpful and kind during our visit. They actually enhanced our experience by showing us different exhibits and places the kids would like best. On the third floor you will find an exhibit that is a low tin roof and even invites you to walk on the roof. My son did cut his leg on the metal when he was zooming by a bit too fast, just take caution. Ingat po. :) 

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With my trusty saltwater sandals

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From what I understand in the 70's their was a group of artist how would do 'pop up' installations for a few hours only at undisclosed locations. It was all very elusive which added to the experience. These replicas are now located at the Ateneo Art Gallery. 

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We took advantage of the open green space and had our selves a picnic during my sons workshop and then headed over to the museum after. A highly recommend it! Near the Psychology Department and Rizal Library you will find benches, trees, bamboo and large patches of grass to enjoy on a sunny day. I love the pockets of happiness we are able to find in Manila.

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This bamboo installation was fun to hide and make music in.

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Open spaces make for happy faces

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WATER FOUNTAINS! That is right my friends, there are working water fountains that pump out fresh cold water! My children usually only see these when we visit The U.S. in the summer so today was quite the treat. 

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And that concludes our awesome Saturday. Now that I have conquered one part of Ateneo what am I missing? What other universities have free museums and wonderful picnic spaces? I'd love to visit!

Kita Kita,


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