Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

Collecting Histories

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 is open to the public for FREE from Monday to Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

For group tours, please contact Phoebe Danielle Pangilinan, Junior Museum Specialist, at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 981-8500 loc. 3580.

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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.