April 12, 2008. For four years in UP, I never really bothered to visit the Vargas Museum near the College of Arts & Letters. Come to think of it, it’s not actually isolated, not as much as, say the Math Building, for example. In fact most of the jeepneys in UP ply past it all the time. But I never made the effort to go inside the building all these years. A few weeks ago, a friend, who volunteers to watch over the paintings at the second floor a few days a week, invited me to come on a Wednesday, which is the museum’s free-day when admission fees are waived (though the entrance fee is only 15 pesos anyway, for a UP student). It was a very pleasant museum visit. There was barely anyone else in the museum, so it was really quiet and peaceful.
I was staring at the paintings on display this month. Some of which were by Fernando Amorsolo, and other paintings depicting the Philippine countryside. It all seemed quite contrived and romanticized to me. Women and other peasants were in ornate clothes and all-smiles despite the tedious farm work they appear to be doing. What more if you place them in what was a predominantly feudal set-up back then. Beautiful works of art, nonetheless.
The guard at the entrance confiscates phones and cameras from visitors so you wouldn’t be able to take any picture, as I haven’t.
There is, also, a coffee shop right outside the museum. I was there a few days ago, sipping coffee while waiting for a friend to finish her museum shift before we went to the University Student Council’s special assembly. What a very fancy set-up, isn’t it?