The Philippines is heralded for its pristine beaches and other natural wonders. What not many people are aware of—locals included—is that it also boasts a broad range of museums, where one can learn a treasure trove of stuff, from science and history to culture and heritage.
Before you yawn and think that these places of learning are boring—with their carefully arranged objects that are only to be viewed and appreciated from afar—think again. There are, in fact, a variety of museums in the Philippines that allow visitors to actually touch, handle, and interact with exhibits, making them ideal for families with kids as well as groups of friends. Learn something new while also having fun with these interactive museums in the Philippines.
Mind Museum, Taguig
Learning science can be enjoyable, too. That’s the message the Mind Museum in Taguig wants to deliver, and it successfully does so. Housing more than 250 amazing exhibits and showcasing a range of experiments, planetarium shows, and discussions on different scientific topics, there’s a lot to keep you and the rest of the family, especially the kids, occupied. Think a day of scientific exploration isn’t enough for a good nerdy fun? Why not sleep on it? Literally! Mind Museum offers a scheduled themed night wherein visitors can explore galleries after hours. After that, you can be down for the night at the Universe Gallery underneath its starry skies.
Location: JY Campos Park, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-6pm
Art in Island, Cubao
One of the common complaints people have over traditional art museums in the Philippines is that they are not allowed to touch and take photos of exhibits. These somehow affect the quality of experience for some museum-goers because they don’t have physical contact with the artworks nor mementos to remember their visit. These should not be a problem in Art in Island Museum in Cubao.
The museum is as interactive as it gets. All 200 masterpieces in this 3d art museum—some of which are reproduction of the work of renowned artists—are created to be touched and photographed. So get your phone’s camera ready, strike a pose, and take that insta-worthy, artsy shot!
Location: 175 5th Ave., Brgy. Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30am-9:30pm
Quezon City Experience (QCX), Quezon City
Quezon City may be one of the most progressive and populous cities in Metro Manila. Yet, it is also the place where major events that shaped the history of the Philippines itself transpired. Considering its rich past, the city deserves a place where locals and foreigners alike can ‘walk back in time’ and learn its socio-cultural history. This is where the Quezon City Experience comes into play.
The socio-cultural museum is housed in a green-compliant building and is regarded as one of the best family-friendly museums in the Philippines. It has a total of 16 interactive galleries where visitors can engage in experiential learning by interacting with the displays. Among the notable exhibits are the exact replicas of the sculptures found on top of Quezon Memorial shrine, the hill where former president Manuel L. Quezon stood to have a first look over the entirety of Quezon City, and the office that Manuel L. Quezon occupied in Malacañang. You will also enjoy learning about the city’s role during World War II at the war gallery; explore a typical Filipino home at the museum’s gallery on housing; and learn about the jeepney at the gallery dedicated to this iconic mode of transport.
Location: Quezon Memorial Circle, Elliptical Road, Quezon City
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm
Clark Museum and 4D Theater, Pampanga
Greater Manila area is not the only place where you can find quality interactive museums in the Philippines. In Clark, Pampanga, one of the most exciting things you and your family or friends can do is to drop by at the Clark Museum and 4D Theater. Although not as expansive as the previous museums mentioned in this list, this interactive learning spot is home to a large collection of items that are of great historical importance to Clark, which used to be a United States airbase, and its surrounding areas.
There are 4 galleries within the museum, all of which showcase the bravery and ingenuity of the Filipinos as well as the natural environment and industries that play a great role in Clark’s development. As you tour the area, you will see different artifacts and memorabilia during World War II and American occupation; learn about the life of the indigenous Aeta; and view photos of Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption back in 1991. The 4D Theater located beside Clark Museum is also a must-visit, as it shows “Risen from the Ashes,” a documentary about the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo that cause a downpour of ashes not just in the Philippines but the entire world. Through the theater’s high-tech effects, you will feel like you are actually there when this natural calamity occurred.
Location: Between S. Osmeña and E. Jacinto, Clark Freeport, Mabalacat, Pampanga
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-3:30pm
Motag Living Museum, Aklan
Boracay may be the most well-known destination in the province of Aklan, but look beyond the clear, blue waters, powdery white sand, and dreamy sunsets, and you will discover that it has another gem awaiting tourists—The Motag Living Museum.
Located in Barangay Motag, Aklan, the museum is all about showcasing and preserving the heritage and way of life of the Malaynons. What sets it apart from other museums in the Philippines is that it encourages visitors to understand the local tradition and culture through immersion. Visit here and you will experience how to farm and mill rice without advanced machineries, cook native dishes using traditional tools, and weave crafts. Once done immersing yourself in the traditional Filipino way of living, consider purchasing a souvenir available in the museum. Proceeds from sales go to the community and support the activities for empowering the elderly.
Location: Barngay Motag, Malay, Aklan
Operating Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-2pm
Malagos Chocolate Museum, Davao
If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a chocolatier or you are a chocoholic by heart, be sure to include Malagos Chocolate Museum in your next Davao trip. Opened last March 2017, this is the first of its kind in the country. It aims to help in uplifting the lives of cacao farmers by shining light on their work and contributions, their products, and the industry as a whole.
The museum has interactive cacao and chocolate installations that allow visitors to experience the tree-to-bar process of chocolate making. You can also enjoy all sorts of chocolate food and drinks in their Chocolate Bar and even learn how to make your own chocolate by spending time at the Malagos Chocolate Laboratory. Simply put, this is one sweet learning experience you definitely do not want to miss.
Location: Malagos Garden Resort, Malagos, Baguio District, Calinan – Baguio Rd, Davao
Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday, 6am-4pm
Whether you want to embrace Philippine art or learn about the country’s amazing history and culture, the interactive museums in the Philippines are the best places to do that. If you haven’t visited any of the destinations mentioned above, it’s about time you do so. Bring the rest of the family or barkada with you and learn something new while having the best time of your lives.