BenCab Museum: Not Your Ordinary and Boring Museum

Did you know that the Order of the National Artists Award is the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts? I got intrigued by this BenCab Museum in Baguio City owned by National Artist Benedicto Cabrera. It started as a studio when he settled in this city during the late 1980s. BenCab is a contraction of the artist's first and last name, a signature that he puts in his work, which then became the name of the museum.

BenCab Museum Facade
BenCab Museum Facade

After a weekend climb in Mt Pulag early last year, I opted to stay another night in Baguio City with my climb buddy so we can visit BenCab Museum and Tam-awan Village the following day. We were shocked to find out that the museum is closed every Monday (yes, we did not do our research). I finally had the chance to visit the place this year when I joined the Baguio Food Tour 2014.

Reception
Reception

The reception and lobby itself already have several artwork. A guide is provide to tour visitors around the building while giving information about the artwork. The museum has four levels and no elevators so guests have to take the stairs to get to the next floor (it was a good way to burn some of the calories we had for lunch). The following images show the layout of each floor.

First Level
First Level

Second Level
Second Level

Third Level

Cafe Sabel
Cafe Sabel

Each gallery showcases the different artworks of BenCab and his personal collection of "bulul" or rice Gods, other artist's craft, and other examples of indigenous art and crafts of the northern Philippine highlands that feature the rich culture and traditions of the Cordillera region. The Erotica Gallery is very popular among adults and is a must see. The last level houses Cafe Sabel which also leads to the farm and garden.

Garden
Garden

All floors also have a terrace that gives a good and refreshing view of the farm, garden, duck pond and the forest. BenCab bought the forest at the back of the museum to keep the natural surrounding and to prevent anyone from building any structure.

BFT2014 Bloggers
Baguio Food Tour 2014 Group Picture

A quick group picture with some of the different "Bulul" installations in the background located at the third level .

32 Variations of Sabel
32 Variations on Sabel

BenCab was a struggling artist in the early 1960s who got engrossed in depicting a homeless lady who walked the streets of Tondo, Manila. He created the "Sabel" series, which became a big part of his rise to international success. Sabel is a real-life vagrant and scavenger. This wall illustrates 32 variations of Sabel painted on Mariwasa tiles.

Different Variations of Bulol
Different Variations of Bulul

A "Bulul" or Ifugao Rice God is a carved wooden figure used to guard the rice crop by the Igorot peoples of northern Luzon. The sculptures are highly stylized representations of ancestors, and are thought to gain power from the presence of the ancestral spirit. The Ifugao are particularly noted for their skill in carving bululs.

Bululs are used in ceremonies associated with rice production and with healing. Creation of a bulul involves alwen bulul ritual by a priest to ensure that the statue gains power. The bulul is treated with care and respect to avoid the risk of the spirits of the ancestors bringing sickness. The figures are placed in rice granaries to bring a plentiful harvest. A large granary may need two bululs, and a wealthy noble may also have one or more bululs in his house. (Information taken from WikiPedia)

Wood Carving
Wood Carving

This dining table would be a good fit to our ancestral house.


BenCab Gallery

A sneak peek of one of the galleries inside the museum just to give you an idea.







The pictures above are some of the artwork that got my attention.

Baguio has lost its charm with the influx of residents and structures sprouting everywhere. It is so much different from the vivid memories I have of this city when I lived here during my childhood days. It was comforting to know that there are other places to go to when one is in Baguio aside from the usual tourist spots. I certainly enjoyed my visit here. This was one of the places that I took more pictures with my mind rather than click my camera. I will leave it to you to discover what can be found here.

BENCAB MUSEUM
Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan,
Tuba, Benguet, Philippines
Telephone: +63 (74) 442.7165
Mobile: +63 920.530.1954

Operating hours:
Open daily except Mondays, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day
9:00am to 6:00pm (last entry is at 5:30pm)

Rates:
General: PHP 100.00
Students and senior citizens with valid ID: PHP 80.00
Special rates for student groups with prior arrangement.


This is part of Baguio Food Tour 2014 that happened on March 1-2, 2014. #BFT2014 is a gastronomic adventure in the Summer Capital of the Philippines participated by 10 bloggers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Beyond the usual tourist attractions, this event aims to promote Baguio City as a food destination in Northern Luzon.






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4 comments:

  1. Want to visit here pag napunta ako ng Baguio! Thanks, sir!

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    1. you are welcome sir. thanks for visiting my blog!

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  2. Na istruck ako nung makita natin sj BenCab! As an art enthusiast, nkakaoverwhelm makakita ng isang national artist. This is one of my favorite trip in our BFT2014.

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    Replies
    1. I did not expect to see BenCab anymore, pero nung paalis na tayo, bigla syang dumating...

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