CELEBRATE Philippine Independence this year by taking a guided tour of the historical dioramas featured at the Ayala Museum in Glorietta.

Combining the principles of painting, sculpture, and architecture, these meticulously formed dioramas chronicle Philippine history from 150,000 B.C up to the late 1980’s.

The exhibit, which opened in 1974 in the former Ayala Museum building on Makati Avenue, was made possible through the efforts of Carlos Quirino, the museum’s first director.

A few years earlier, Quirino, with a group of historians, drew up a list of the country’s most significant historical events, after which researchers developed working plans by studying paintings, drawings, photographs, and other related source materials. Artists and craftsmen employed to create the backdrops and miniature architectural settings. The settings were constructed using a variety of materials from twigs to clay. Great attention to detail is manifested as the miniature jars, books, bonfires, and even a printing machine appear to be actually usable.

Carvers from Paete Laguna, using soft barkless wood, did not let the human figures be left behind. Figures of famous people such as Jose Rizal, Lapu-lapu, and Manuel Quezon, are lifelike copies of the real persons.

Remarkable also are the nameless figures, how their bodies and faces are so unique from one another considering that they are just “extras.”

The exhibit aims to foster awareness and a deep appreciation of the country’s history and culture among Filipinos and foreigners alike.

The 63 dioramas include Battle of Mactan, Chinese Uprising, Assassination of Bustamante, The Philippine Revolution Begins, The Philippine-American War Begins, Japanese Enter Manila, and the People Power at EDSA.

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