Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Cab To BenCab

The highlight of our Baguio trip is fulfilling my 2 year-old dream of seeing the Bencab Museum. This is the Museum set up by National Artist Ben Cabreras in the mountains along Asin Road, Baguio. We took a 15minute taxi ride (main mode of transpo, all taxi drivers give the exact change! lol) and weeehew hello Bencab Museum! :D :D

Bencab museum

AMAZING IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. I felt like I was in a playground hahah. It's a simple three-story building, all painted in white, and with different rooms each having a different name: Erotica Gallery, Contemporary Gallery, Philippine Contemporary Art, Print, Patio Salvador, and the Bencab Gallery.

Daylight filled almost all corners of the place and made me feel like it tries to be one with the nature that it surrounds itself with. The white walls and simple cubic rooms provided the right backdrop to the different kinds of exhibits that the museum housed. The structure in itself is refreshing and awe-inspiring at the same time.

My favorite part of the museum is the Bulol Installation (see above). It's a whole wall filled with wooden images of people in a sitting position. Those are the Bulol's- gods of our Ilocano forefathers. Carved out from age old wood, these images are known to watch over crops and ensure abundant harvest and protection against natural calamities.

"Handcarved from hardwood abundant in the region, these primitive sculptures emphasize the male and female genitalia, representing fertility and abundance…"

 I kind of felt starstruck. This is actually an altar for the ancient gods, and couldn't stop myself from paying homage.

The museum has got a viewing terrace that provides a wonderful view of the mountains, that is if it isn't clouded with fog. The fog comes and goes almost every thirty minutes. Papa Ray LOVES the cold. And his eyes sparkle like a kid when he's surrounded with fog :p
Bencab also has an eco-trail. For 1 hour you get to tour the whole place (4 hectares!) and enjoy the scenic view up close. You have to pay Php100 for the tour guide though, but don't worry, they won't just tour you around because they also know the spots to take good photos (would even ask you to pose!LOL) and they know how to take good photos themselves hahah! They have organic vegetable and strawberry gardens, and their produce goes to CafĂ© Sabel, the Museum's cafeteria.

Papa Ray had fun taking shots eeeeeverywhere hahah! While me, I was busy getting chilled lol!

The whole tour took us almost half a day, and we really really LOVED the place. The museum alone was good enough. I loved how we were able to just hang out and discuss the paintings that we saw and how it made us feel. Each room had a different theme and genre to it.

The photo below is our favorite piece, Kusog Tawhanon by Israel Gonzales. If you people could only see this sculpture in person, maybe it would haunt your dreams like it did ours. A soundless scream is as terrifying as it gets, but this - this is chilling. And we were just amazed.

My second favorite is this graphic art by Lynyrd Paras "Huwag mong damdamin ang mga bagay dahil ang mga bagay ay walang damdamin". It’s a very modern and direct to the point piece but it reminds you of the simplest things that we tend to forget :p

Not a lot of people know about the Bencab Museum but this is a really great alternative to all the Baguio tourist spots that you may have already grown tired of.

You might enjoy browsing photo blogs or websites for the sense of fun, inspiration and amazement that good photos bring, but visiting an art museum brings all these and more. And I think, it can also help provide new perspectives to people pursuing any field of art, wether photography, sketching, painting and the like.

My favorite pieces are those that are able to fuse old and new ideas or concepts. Or maybe create statements on current events with a hint of humor and maybe even sarcasm. Or maybe a create a renewed respect and appreciation for the history that we have somehow forgotten. OR EVEN, a renewed appreciation of the things AROUND us, that we have somehow taken forgranted.
I don't always understand the paintings I see but sometimes I just stare at them and take in all the colors and images and somehow, they are able to inspire me. :D

I think the Bencab Museum is a great way to support the local art scene and I hope more dedicated museums like these come about. We've got some really great artists but they tend to flourish abroad or on high-end/ "elite" venues and malls. What the Bencab Museum succeeds in, is bringing art closer to people, by setting a venue that is simple and unintimidating, and open for all walks of life  (Entrance fee is only php100, and may I just note that their crew is very accomodating too :D ). 

And lastly, I think it's really beautiful idea to have an art house in the middle of nature at its finest, which in itself is the grandest work of art by that Guy above. ;)

For more info, you can visit http://bencabmuseum.org/ :D


  1. Hi Mars! Thanks for sharing this! I definitely want to visit it the next time I go to Baguio. :D

    p.s. ang cute ng mga pictures niyo! :D

    1. wee thanks alot jill! :D :D nagbblog ka din pala! hehe. ive also got one over at wordpress will follow u :D


    2. Hmnnn... I havent been in Baguio but I was told that
      it used to be nice, but not any longer. I was told the weather is like San Francisco, Calif since its often cold
      and foggy.

      Bencab. What a nice place. Very nice pictures and
      its seems a romantic place to visit. Are there many
      shops around? Lodging or other business nearby?

      Thanks for sharing it with us. This is an interesting place to visit and certainly would explore this area when I visit Phils again.

      From Cali,

    3. Hi leo! thanks for dropping by :D
      Well yes Baguio was better before and has been a victim of too much tourism. Nevertheless i still found it beautiful when i last visited, and there are still breathtaking spots like that in Bencab Museum (Km 6, Asin Road) :)
      Baguio has a mall and is also famous for its bazaars so yes there's a growing number of businesses and establishments in the area. There's also a hotel in the city and several other affordable lodging areas :D do drop by when you visit the Phils! :D


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