3 Underrated Museums Around Manila You Should Visit


For those days when you’re looking for a good dose of art and culture in Manila, museums like the National Museum Of The Philippines or the Ayala Museum usually come to mind. But there are other often overlooked and underrated museums that are also worth a visit. Make sure you haven’t missed these little-known gems.

But there are other often overlooked and underrated museums that are also worth a visit. Make sure you haven’t missed these little-known gems.

Make sure you haven’t missed these little-known gems.

Pinto Art Museum

You might feel as if you’ve seen this museum from just about every angle via your Instagram feed, but rest assured, this could not be further from the truth.

Pinto Art Museum has more than its fair share of photogenic nooks and crannies. The Spanish-influenced structure that houses the art is strikingly beautiful. A picturesque courtyard and a bell tower are framed by graceful archways, terracotta tiles, and wrought iron ornaments.

Pinto Art Gallery Garden, Antipolo, Philippines

The Pinto Art Gallery Garden by Mabel David-Pilar

Behind the wooden doors and white stucco walls are exquisite interiors and spacious halls where impressive paintings, masterfully-crafted sculptures, and thought-provoking installations can only serve to inspire a deeper appreciation for the level of artistic prowess our local talents possess.

Pinto Art Museum Sculpture

An Alab Pagarigan sculpture created from wire and resin | Photo from The Travelling Dork

Outside, you can take a leisurely walk around the lush gardens where more pieces of art are sprinkled about, along with a few siesta-friendly day beds.

Day Beds at Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo, Philippines

Pillows and mattresses at the garden by Kristine Danos

The roof deck is perfect for viewing sunsets and if it were not for the Ortigas skyline visible from a distance, you’d almost forget where you are – not unusual for a place that has managed to achieve an impeccable medley of art, culture and nature.

Pinto Art Museum
No. 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights, Antipolo City, Philippines
Open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Admission fee is ₱150 for adults.
+63 2 697 1015
Pinto Art Museum’s Facebook Page

The Money Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila

Together, the Money Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila make up the Museo ng Bangko ng Pilipinas. This title may not sound interesting to most people but those willing to see past its title will find that both museums are, in fact, deserving of an audience.

The Money Museum holds an extensive collection of currency used throughout our country’s history. With everything from ancient coins to notes from various periods of occupation and resistance on display, it’s a haven for coin buffs and history junkies alike. You can even score a lesson in spotting counterfeit bills. Ironically, despite its name, the Money Museum is one of the few museums that are still free of charge, though in exchange, you will have to go through some pretty heavy security.

Just a few steps away stands the Metropolitan Museum, which is popular for the gallery of gold it keeps hidden in the basement. Some of the gold kept here date all the way back to the 8th century, but for those who don’t take a fancy to bright shiny things, the section dedicated to Philippine contemporary art might be the place to satisfy your modern artistic cravings. A Picasso piece has also been known to grace the Met so it would be wise to keep an eye out for when you can catch temporary, traveling exhibits that feature renowned art from around the world.

Museo ng Bangko ng Pilipinas
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Security Plant Complex, Roxas Blvd. cor. Pablo Ocampo St., Manila, Philippines
Open Monday to Friday between 9:00AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Admission fee is ₱100 for adults.
+63 2 708 7829

The Shoe Museum

Art appreciation is a time-consuming business so if you’ve got less than an hour to spare, it may be best to opt for a smaller, more specialized museum like this one.

The Shoe Museum is home to the Guinness record holder for the largest shoe in the world, an interesting assortment of shoe-shaped objects, traditional footwear from different countries, and a life-sized diorama depicting the art of shoe making in Marikina.

What people usually find most fascinating though is the footwear that used to belong to some really famous feet, now encased in glass. These were once part of the personal wardrobes of everyone from local celebrities including well-loved actors, popular singers, and renowned dancers to notable personalities like media heavyweights, industry magnates, and political figures.

About 800 pairs, some made locally while others by the likes of Coco Chanel or Christian Dior, represent only a part of the collection amassed by former first lady Imelda Marcos. It occupies major floor space and comes with a huge portrait of her on the wall. Whether this eerie resemblance to a pseudo-shrine is appropriate or not depends on the discerning visitor but none can argue its lack of variety as it includes pumps, heels, flats, boots (surprising, no?) and even some rare, country-fleeing espadrilles.

The Shoe Museum
J.P. Rizal Street, Barangay San Roque, Marikina City, Philippines
Open from Monday to Sunday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Admission fee is ₱50.
+63 2 646 2368
Share your vote!

How this post make you feel?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

About Author

Paule Santos

Paule enjoys warm cuddles after a day of body slamming with the sea. She smiles every time she takes a bite of really good food, especially if it’s accompanied with even better conversation. She often sings along to songs, sometimes making up the lyrics as she goes. It’s her life’s dream to set foot on every continent of the world, but most importantly, she still someday hopes to make it a better place for all humans to live in.