Oriental Museum

The Royal College of the Agustinian Fathers is the home of the Oriental Museum. This museum has the biggest collection of Far Eastern art in Spain. Andres de Urdaneta was born on Nov. 30, 1498 in the Basque province of Ordizia. He was one of the best sea navigators. Later he went to Mexico and became an Augustinian friar. King Philip II ordered an expedition to go from Mexico to the Philippines. Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was its head, and Urdaneta was the second in command and navigator. The aim was to establish the route taken by Ferdinand Magellan. Fray Urdaneta was accompanied by four other Augustinian friars.

When the expedition arrived in the Philippines, Fray Urdaneta and his companion priests were the first missionaries of the islands. Legazpi decided to stay and founded the city of Manila. He ordered Urdaneta to go back to Mexico. Urdaneta was the first man to travel east from the Philippines to Mexico, and his route became the basis of the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade. This year will be the 5th centenary of his birth, so the Philippine government has organized a big celebration in Manila.

The Agustinians established their base in the Philippines and later went to China and Japan, where they started Christianizing those people. The intense missionary work gave rise to the Oriental Museum, founded in 1874. The museum was inaugurated in 1980 and has 18 rooms full of Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese art. What is particularly interesting is that there are explanations of how the Chinese produced cloisonne. There are extraordinary costumes and furniture, as well as paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. This little museum is relatively unknown, but is a real treasure trove of Oriental art, the best in Spain.

Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 to 14:00H;  Sundays and Holidays: 10:00 to 14:00H