Article and photos: Marianne Rabang | Topic: Bencab Museum
Been stressed out lately with studies or with work? Running out of innovative ideas for your next masterpiece? We know the perfect way to relax your mind and replenish your creative juices (plus you get to learn about our own culture)! Are you ready? Let’s take a tour at BenCab Museum–home to various artworks from different local artists and of course, National Artist Benedicto Cabrera’s works and collections. (Read more about him here).
Welcome to the Museum
Housing more than 8 permanent galleries with different themes, the museum has more than enough to satisfy your eyes and curiosity. The most popular ones are the BenCab Gallery, Erotica Gallery, and Cordillera Gallery. Side note: I won’t spoil the fun so you’ll have to visit the place yourself. Treat this article as a teaser for the main event.
National Artist BenCab doesn’t stick to one medium when producing his creations. Sketches – check, paintings – check, mixed media – check, sculptures – check, installation art – check. It’s definitely a visual feast.
Benedicto Cabrera – Tribal Masks
This lady here is really popular among young adults and students. Hmm, I wonder…
Filipino identity, indigenous culture, and colonial influence (from Japanese and American periods, to be more specific), are also common subjects for his works. I leave the interpretation to you.
From Local Artists
Aside from housing the master’s own works, the museum also showcases an assortment of art from homegrown rising and well-known talents. This is one way to support the local art community and promote it to the public at the same time.
See the contrast of the pieces above? (Oh, if you haven’t noticed yet, these two were made by a single artist). From neutrals to bright popping palettes as well as use of negative space and geometric shapes, we can see the masterful techniques employed. Inspiration is everywhere.
In addition, there is a separate gallery for special exhibits called Sepia Gallery. It is noteworthy to check this area because the schedule changes regularly. You don’t want to miss them!
Now that we’ve seen the contemporary pieces, it’s time to look back and appreciate our roots.
Christianity made it’s way to the Cordilleras during American colonization. Before this, our religious practices were based on nature and environmental phenomena. Since agriculture and hunting were essential to keep communities intact, there was a need to seek blessings from the supernatural and ancestral spirits.
These supernatural beings and ancestral spirits were manifested in the form of these wooden figures called bul-ul. Primarily, these were used to protect crops and bring forth good harvest.
Aside from this, it is no secret that headhunting formerly persisted in the mountainous regions. Different types of hunting and war implements are abundant in the place. Each spear has it’s specific purpose and the designs of the shields differ from one ethnic group to another.
This Museum is for Everyone
Who says that this place is only for those who like to immerse themselves and interpret the subliminal messages from artists? This art haven is also for those who want to enjoy peace and quiet while viewing the nice scenery surrounding the area. A nice walk at the pond will clear your mind from the stresses of city life.
Hungry? Tired? Cafe Sabel is your go-to place. Delight yourself with their natural and fresh dishes. If the weather is a bit chilly, try their vegetable soup! Add in some salad and pasta and you’re ready to fill your stomach.
I hope we didn’t spoil you too much about the place because there is much more to see. The regular rate for adults is 120 PHP for an adult. They have 20 PHP off for students and senior citizens so don’t forget to bring your valid ids.
See you in BenCab!