Museums for the Mind and Spirit

We were fortunate enough that our mommy blogger event with Philippine Science Centrum included three more museums. Yay! The Spirit of Bethlehem, Museum of Miniatures, and Joey Velasco Gallery are at the second level of E-Com Building in Marikina Riverbanks Center, just across Figaro Coffee.

The Spirit of Bethlehem

Everyday is Christmas here.

The museum is a private collection of more than 500 nativity sets, posters, paintings, and sculptures from different countries around the world. The owner, Gigi Abaya-Carlos started her collection in 1952 when she bought her first belen (nativity) in Tayuman.

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80% of their collection are Philippine-made.

My favorite. Mama Mary and Papa Joseph were holding hands. Sweet!

Museum of Miniatures

We were all amazed in this collection of mini real-looking replicas. The miniatures were part of the collection of the late Aleli Vangua an artist who handcrafted most of the pieces herself. Aleli is a very close friend of Gigi, the owner of The Spirit of Bethlehem. 

The curator told us that the materials Aleli used were mostly from scrap. Well, they don't look like scrap to me. They were beautiful!

Room replicas

You will find different rooms from a European mansion displayed on the walls. And looking at each would make you smile with awe because of the intricate details and the love put into it. How'd they do that? Astig!

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Christmas Room

Little V's happy to see this little room. He thought he could play with those "toys" LOL

Doll house

This is a miniature bathroom from the doll house. Nice eh?

marikina museum

Joey Velasco Gallery

Joey Velasco is a "heartist" who passed on at the age of 43 because of kidney disease. He is best known for his work Hapag ng Pag-asa (Table of Hope), which described the last supper - with Jesus and the street children as His disciples. The children painted here are real children that Joey met on the streets of Metro Manila. 

hapag ng pag-asa
Hapag ng Pag-asa (The Table of Hope) Oil on Canvas 

The children from the Hapag ng Pag-asa painting are no longer in the areas where Joey found them. Through the help of Joey and Gawad Kalinga, they and their families now have homes.

The gallery reflects our day to day living and sparks social awareness. Joey's works show that we can find Jesus everywhere. And we have a moral obligation to act on what we see.

We watched short films about Joey and I was surprised that he only started painting after he found out about his disease. He did not have any formal training in fine arts. 

marikina musem

It was not only a gallery but a place of reflection. If it was not for my overly active preschooler, I would have cried while watching the film and when I saw the paintings. I was moved with what Joey said when he was still alive. 

"Actually I see them everyday, but I
failed to notice them because they have
become so ordinary in my sight.
I also thought it's nothing for them to be poor
because they have been used to it already.
No. Not really.
It is I who am used to their POVERTY. "
- Joey Velasco

The Spirit of Bethlehem and Museum of Miniatures
General Admission: Php75/pax
Teachers with ID: Free

Museum Hours:
Friday-Sunday, 8:00AM to 5:00PM
Open to walk-ins and group tours

Monday-Thursday, closed
Open to group tours of at least 50 people

Joey Velasco Gallery
General Admission: Php100/head
Teachers with ID: Free

Museum Hours:
Friday-Sunday, 8:00AM to 5:00PM
Open to walk-ins and group tours
Advanced booking and reservation for a group of 50 persons or more