We recently visited the Ayala Museum (P450 foreign adult, P225 local adult) during a quick stopover in Makati and found this to be a decent private museum. In general there were things we liked about our visit and others that we didn't care for so much.
What we liked
We very much enjoyed the 4th floor floor temporary exhibit called 'The Gold of our Ancestors' which was a well-organised, well-presented collection and made for an enjoyable hour of examining the various gold pieces on display, most from the 10th to 13th century. We found the opening video effective at setting the stage for the items which were shown and the pieces themselves very interesting (some being quite impressive). Overall this was a very nice gallery experience and the highlight of our visit to the Ayala Museum.
The 2nd floor - Diorama Experience: This offered around 60 displays, each offering a fairly good imagery of important moments in The Philippines history as well as synopsis style information that was not overly texty. The displays covered events from the pre-colonial period, the Spanish and American colonial periods as well as the post-colonial period namely under the Marcos and more recent administrations. We felt that visitors not too familiar with Philippines history would find this a good 'snapshot' introduction to the subject matter. You can do a quick walk through in 10-15minutes in this section or spend up to 1.5 hours if you care to read the captions.
There is a decent maritime (boat) gallery with some historic vessels that include Chinese Junk, Lorcha and some Spanish Ramada style ship models. These were nice to look over, particularly if you like sea vessels.
On the ground floor there were some works by the Philippine Artist, Juan Luna that we enjoyed, not sure if this part of the permanent or temporary exhibits in the Ayala Museum.
What we didn't like
Entry price discrimination: Charging foreigners almost twice the amount of locals is a tacky practice, not something you expect from well-financed institutions like the Ayala Foundation. This is something we are not big fans of seeing, particularly with credible private museums.
No photography allowed within the galleries, although this is a common practice at private museums so it is ok. It would be better though if the museum shop sold postcards of selected pieces from the "Gold of Ancestors" exhibit (in such cases, we normally buy these for souvenir) but there were none available for purchase.
3rd Floor - Pioneers of Philippine art galleries: This is a matter of personal taste of course, but the galleries featuring the works of Fernando Amorsolo and Fernando Zobel were underwhelming and left us uninspired. We much preferred a few of the works by Juan Luna on the ground floor.
Overall, we had mixed feelings about our visit in the Ayala Museum, finding the dual pricing a distasteful practice and somewhat disappointed with the limited art in the permanent exhibit. Additionally, without the temporary exhibit on the 4/F, the admission fee for G/F - 3/F collections (PHP350) do not seem worth it for foreign visitors. Still there were a few things worth seeing within the museum, particularly the temporary exhibit on pre-colonial/ancestral gold, making it still a good attraction to spend an hour or two if you are planning to spend time in the Greenbelt area of Makati.
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