The UP Asian Center launched—via Zoom—an exhibit titled Bulwagan ng mga Bayani: Alay, Alaala, at Pagpupugay sa mga Bayani ng Pilipinas on 21 March 2022, 3 pm.
This project aims to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of Philippines national heroes and the roles they played in Philippine and Asian history. It seeks to deepen and expand our understanding of the Filipino identity by featuring the busts of the three martyred priests, Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora and 13 other national heroes and an exhibit catalog.
The online launch will also feature a lecture on GomBurZa, Graciano Nepomuceno, and performances by guest singers and artists. Organized by the Asian Center Museum under the Assistant Dean for Cultural Affairs (Dr. MCM Santamaria), the event is being held in line with the University of the Philippines Diliman’s celebration of the 2022 Arts and Culture Festival with the theme, kaMALAYAn: Pamana ng GomBurZa @ 150.
Videos from the launch will be available on the UP Asian Center Youtube Channel.
In 1981, Apolinaria Masangkay, Soledad Borromeo-Buhler, and the other heirs of General Guillermo Masangkay, one of the original members of the Katipunan, donated to the Asian Center historical artifacts which previously belonged to General Masangkay. The items donated were 16 busts of Filipino national heroes made by the Graciano Nepomuceno, a renowned Filipino sculptor and santero (icon maker). Since then, the UP Asian Center became the home of these historical artifacts.
Recognizing and understanding the significance of these items in strengthening and solidifying Filipino heritage and identity, the Asian Center seeks to preserve, promote, and permanently exhibit these objects of artistic and cultural significance for public consumption.
Ambeth R. Ocampo, PhD
Ateneo de Manila University
Soledad Borromeo-Buhler, PhD
Retired professor and historian
Ariel C. Lopez, PhD
Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman
You may schedule an on-site visit via this appointment form, subject to certain conditions stated therein. Please wait for the confirmation email.
Available online and onsite, this exhibit showcases works that originate from, or were inspired by the arts of, Southeast Asia, India, Iran, East Asia, and the Philippines. All exemplify different styles and techniques: from Indonesian leaf art, Mughal-style painting and “temple rubbing” to Chinese ink painting, Okinawan rice-resist dyeing, palette-knife, and Persian calligraphy, nasta’liq style.
The collection includes two works by Leonilo Doloricon (“Mangingisda” and “Continuing Revolution”), a modernist Indian expressionist painting by M. Sivanesan; an oil painting, The Liberation of Manila (February 1945), by Vars Rosal; and a Chinese ink painting by Zeng Houxi.
Many of these works have not been seen for decades; others are unknown, and the Asian Center takes pride in showcasing them anew to the public. Held as part of the Asian Center’s 66th anniversary, the exhibit is a celebration of AC’s history, and represents the first effort to revive the Asian Center Museum.
The Asian Center, since its establishment in 1955 as the Institute of Asian Studies, is known as the Philippines’ premiere culture and research center on Asia. Back then, with its name as evidence of its colorful history after having been changed so many times (from IAS, to AC, to PCAS, and back to AC), it was the home of legendary and pioneering scholars and academicians such as F. Landa Jocano, Cesar Adib Majul, and Josefa Saniel.
With the wide-ranging expertise of the center, AC (as PCAS) also became the brains of Philippine Foreign Policy. True to its mandate, the Asian Center became the primary venue for the Philippines’ broadening and growing relationship with its Asian neighbors. It became known as UP’s “embassy,” its representative in international and Asian affairs and a symbol of the Philippines’ flourishing relations with Asia through academic and cultural exchange.
A testament to these strengthened relations is the Asian Center’s collection of art works, cultural artifacts, and materials. These were mostly given as gifts and donated by the institution’s friends from other Asian countries, as well as renowned colleagues in the academe. These were housed in the Asian Center Museum in the institution’s old building, the Romulo Hall, and later transferred and storage of its collection to the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center, a facility donated by Toyota Motor Philippines Foundation in support of the Asian Center’s mandate. The launch of the exhibit represents an initial effort to revive the Museum, and includes a tribute to former deans of the UP Asian Center.
The exhibit will open later for onsite visits from Mondays to Fridays during office hours. Protocols and health guideines for which will be announced in due course. Please fill out this appointment form to schedule your tour. Kindly wait for confirmation.
Other Exhibits in UP Diliman
To view other exhibits at the University of the Philippines Diliman, visit the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center. The UP Office for Initiatives for Culture and the Arts (OICA) also has a list of cultural events that are held in the university.
The Asian Center Museum
The Asian Center Museum started as a museum laboratory of the then Philippine Center for Advanced Studies (PCAS). Inaugurated in 1973 under the purview of renowned Filipino anthropologist F. Landa Jocano, it was envisioned to provide instruction to students of Philippine Studies in the fields of ethnography and archaeology. The laboratory was located in a prefabricated structure behind Romulo Hall and contained photography equipment and a darkroom, which played a key role in the documentation and reproduction of ethnological surveys supervised by Jocano in the 1970s. During this period up to the late 1980s, a substantial amount of ethnographic objects notably from Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras was acquired. This collection was put on a public display organized by the staff of the Asian Center with assistance from the National Museum.
Through the Memorandum of Agreement signed between the University of the Philippines and the Toyota Motors Philippines (TMP) Corporation in 2009, the Asian Center Museum is now housed at the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center (GTTACC). Composed of four galleries (Philippines Hall, China Hall, Japan Hall, and ASEAN Hall), a Collections Storage Room, Curator’s Office, and a proposed Conservation Room, the Museum continues to thrive as a repository of artifacts and images for visual education and as a center of culture and the arts. Its collection consists of a wide range of objects representing the various societies and cultures of the Philippines, from pottery, basketry, weaponry, farming and hunting implements, to clothing, textile, jewelry, body ornaments, and musical instruments. As a cultural center, the Museum hosts exhibitions of the traditional and contemporary art not only of the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region, but of the larger world as well. These exhibitions complement diverse events held within the premises of the Museum such as performances, recitals, and book launches that fulfill the cultural program of the Asian Center.
Junior Museum Specialist
Dr. Matthew Santamaria
Assistant Dean for Cultural Affairs