Galleries and Noodles Do Mix

Yesterday, 3 friends and I spent Sunday afternoon walking around Ermita, Manila. Most of us Manileños know Ermita as the red-light district of the city. Ermita also depicts a clash of opposites: on one side of the street there’s a Robinsons and an SM, then on the other there are the poorest of the poor lying on stale sheets of cardboard. No wonder one of my friends was quite emotional during the whole afternoon, hahah. Anyway, the points of the walking trip were the National Museum, Rizal Park, and Qian Do Lami, a small noodle joint. I wanted us to catch the Baywalk sunset, except a friend was (yet again) late!

Old Congress Building or Legislative Building, 1918

Admission in The National Museum and Museum of the Filipino People is FREE for October since it’s Museums and Galleries Month. Admin has just restored some of the galleries and rooms (a lot are still under renovation, and drills were echoing somewhere behind the building) and they’ve also increased their collections. Some of the stalls have reserved plaques in them. I read somewhere that Luna’s The Parisian Life will be exhibited sometime later this month, so do take the opportunity to visit if you have the time! The entrance is along Padre Burgos Street, within walking distance from LRT UN Avenue Station. You won’t find a good shot of the masterpieces in this post because I’d like you to experience the museum yourself.

Ginormous paintings! The first gallery houses Luna’s Spolarium and Hidalgo’s La Tradegia

I felt I could just sit there and look at Spolarium the whole day. Luna must have been crazy — but then all artists are kind of that! I didn’t know where to begin with the piece — my head only managed to spin How?How?HOW?? the whole time.

The curator of this gallery was a firm hothead; understandable, since she had to deal with people and pesky little kids hahaha. Although museum policy says SLRs are not allowed without a special permit, I wasn’t called out when I brought mine out.

The museum has around 10 galleries (I stopped counting after the 6th) housing paintings, sketches and sculptures, plus a Natural History collection (bones and botany) as well as a Textiles collection (my fave of all the galleries!).

wooden church columns, unmarked and undated, but the gallery generally houses 17-19th century religious art

by Felix Hidalgo, 1886

child Jesus wooden sculpture with gilt by Tampinco

detail of Rizal’s sculpture, 1894

a Fernando Amorsolo study

Carabao skull in the Natural History collection. Felt weird there — part of me wanted to eat chicken to the bone, part of me felt like I was prey to some nasty creature.

sessions were held from 1926 until World War 2

baro (blouse) made from abaca fiber, saya (skirt) from piña fiber

i thought this would make a nice office wear with a twist!

detail of the painting, contemporary gallery

We spent 2 hours in the museum. At that rate we already flew by a few of the galleries. We missed the Museum of the Filipino People since it was closing time by then.

Seat of local government plus a good view of another of Manila’s famous sights: traffic jam!

So, we walked to Rizal Park (via Finance Road) and rested our aching feet before heading on to A. Mabini Street for Qian Do Lami. A. Mabini is a pungent, narrow one-way road full of antique shops, bars, and hotel and casino behind-the-scenes ehem*ehem. There are also lots of shabu-shabu restaurants around the Pedro Gil intersection. As for the restaurant itself, I got the tip through Carlos Celdran’s Facebook Page. It’s a small place one can easily pass by in a vehicle without so much as a second glance.

affordable at Php129. wouldn’t mind going back for another round (and I’m rather curious of that Jellyfish dish!)

i ordered the house specialty. beef was stringy but tasty, the soup a tad spicy (just right for those who aren’t into spicy food), the noodles firm. goodah!

dong bei dumpling

was uber stuffed!

Surprised myself by finishing my bowl ahead of the others. I rushed through it, and was utterly satisfied! I had to loosen my belt afterwards hahahha. Big servings, and Php129 is sooo worth it. I planned to order fried dumplings on the side, good thing I didn’t.

This trip was a lot of firsts for us. It was my first time to walk A. Mabini — now I have a better map of Manila in my head. For 2 of my friends, it was their first time to visit Rizal Park and truly see the city. We still have a lot to cover before seeing the whole picture, that’s why I can’t wait for the next one! We had lots of hahas along the way, and the afternoon was solid proof that good company always makes aching feet feel like nothing.

Qian Do Lami’s chef in action! all lami orders served with fresh, hand-pulled noodles

How to commute to Ermita:

* Take a Quiapo bus along Commonwealth or Quezon Avenue, get down in Taft Avenue. Fare is Php20+ from Quezon City.

* Take the MRT or a bus going to MOA until Taft MRT Station (Php14 from farthest station, Php20+ by bus from QC). Switch to LRT Yellow Line (or take a jeep to TM Kalaw Street, haven’t tried yet) and get off UN Avenue Station (Php15).

* As much as possible, don’t take a taxi. Traffic along Taft IS HELL, and you don’t want to get lost in Manila.

Walking directions to Qian Do Lami:

1727 A. Mabini Street, Malate, Manila. Directly in front of Tune Hotel.

If you’re coming from either TM Kalaw or Quirino, look to the skies for the Hyatt Hotel and walk towards it along A. Mabini.

Via Pedro Gil (MRT), The Hyatt can’t be seen until you pass Robinsons. Once you hit A. Mabini, turn left.

Tune Hotel is just a few blocks south of Hyatt. It’s also within walking distance of Malate Church.

Happy hunting!


10 thoughts on “Galleries and Noodles Do Mix

  1. Wow crisp capture of Rizal’s sculpture! I could only manage fuzzy shots from my point-and-shoot. Your shots are amazing, though I still think we should follow rules. :p

    • Hi AJ! Thanks for the compliment! I’m not sure which rules you’re pertaining to specifically (copyright? touching the pieces?), but yes we should all follow them!

      If you meant the former, I actually thought about taking these photos down when the National Museum posted this on their FB page. But I thought it unnecessary since this blog isn’t for commercial use. Here’s a PDF copy of the Indigenous Rights Act or RA 8371. Sections 29, 32 and 34 cover rights to cultural properties.

      If you meant the latter, then I must say I did get very close to the pieces on two occasions to get a good shot (the terno and the skull). But not so close as to touch them even with the lens of the camera.

      Thanks for your concern! I believe blogging about the National Museum and including a picture or two (provided we didn’t go overboard getting the shot!) is a good way to encourage more people to visit :D

      • I meant the no-dslr rule. But I guess if you didn’t use flash photography, it’s ok. It’s said that one exposure to flash is equivalent to 3 days of sunlight. Dunno how true that is.

      • Ah, I see :) I expected they wouldn’t allow me in when we visited, but then they were conducting an experiment of sorts last October and allowed the use of DSLRs. I don’t know if that’s still in effect, but as a general rule DSLRs are allowed only with a permit.

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