Arts & Culture

9 Museums and Exhibits You Can Visit For Free

Art may have a price, but you don't always have to pay to see it! Here's where to go this weekend, no tickets needed.

Photography: MCAD and Space Encounters Gallery

With the current Art Fair PH and the recently concluded Arts Month, which was packed with numerous tours and activities, we are all on an arts-and-culture high. Much of us, though, still consider art as an elitist subject reserved for the rich. But before you think of it as so, why not go on a tour of galleries and museums that you can visit for free? Here’s a comprehensive list of no-admission-fees places to hit this weekend or next week:

NCCA Gallery


This small, contemporary art gallery is in the offices of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and has changing exhibits of various Filipino visual artists, and holds open calls for artists to hold exhibits here. Their current exhibit is Buffet of Sounds: Sonic & Visual Feast, which features musical and interactive works from Lirio Salvador, Tad Ermitano, and Stanley Castelo. A tip: before you go home, drop by the Spanish-Colonial-inspired Starbucks for a hot cuppa next door.

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Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, 633 General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila



The ten-year-old Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) showcases examples of fresh, modern art as bold and as innovative as the Ed Calma-designed school building it is housed in. Each exhibit they launch is awe-inspiring and unexpected, such as The Surface of the World, which juxtaposed architecture and film, and the vibrant, giant floral murals of Michael Lin. They also hold scheduled talks and film showings, check out their Facebook page for announcements.

Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 10am to 2pm; De La Salle College of Saint Benilde-School of Design and the Arts, Dominga St., Malate, Manila; tel. (02) 230-5100

National Museum of the Philippines


Being one of the major museums to waive its admission fee a couple of years ago, the National Museum has been packed all day, every open day, since then. And with good reason—hundreds of the country’s most important artists such as Juan Luna, Tampinco, and Alcuaz are all exhibited here. The museum also launches different exhibits almost every month, and the most recent is National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s massive mural Filipino Struggles Through History, exhibited at the Old Senate Session Hall. 

Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 5pm; P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila

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Ortigas Art Festival


Real estate developers Ortigas and Co. recently launched its first ever Ortigas Art Festival in time for Arts Month. Mallgoers and visitors can freely view the festival’s exhibits, which include paintings, sculptures, and installations by more than 60 different artists such as Alfredo Esquilllo, Allison Wong-David, Peter Sutcliffe, Richard Buxani, Kalye Kolektib, and others. Most artworks are for sale.

Monday to Sunday until March 26, during mall hours; exhibits are on the 2/F Bridgeway and at the G/F of Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City

READ: This Art Festival In Pasig Is Free To The Public

Space Encounters Gallery


This gallery is a passion project and an offshoot of designer Wilmer Lopez and writer Thor Balanon’s Space Encounters furniture store. The art is mixed with furniture pieces, rare books, and other collectibles. The mood of the gallery changes with each show; their recently concluded exhibit was This Land is Your Land, which featured nostalgic portraits and pastoral landscapes by Cesar Buenaventura, Oscar Navarro, and Crispin Lopez. Watch out for their new collective exhibit No Assembly Required, which will be launched on March 9. Artworks and select furniture pieces are for sale.

Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 6pm; Unit 7D, 7th flr., Padilla Bldg., F. Ortigas Jr. Road (formerly Emerald Ave.), Ortigas Center, Pasig City; tel. (02) 655-6806

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Ateneo’s new, modern art hub is composed of different galleries dedicated to permanent exhibits of works by artists such as Fernando Zobel and Rodel Tapaya. The second floor features a retrospective of Elmer Borlongan’s works. Admission is free to groups below 20 people; otherwise, contact them for more information.

Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 7pm; Sunday, 9am to 5pm; University Road, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City; tel. (02) 426-6001 local 5392

READ: Here’s What You Can See Inside Arete, Ateneo’s New Art Hub

Museo ni Manuel Quezon


The joggers and Zumba participants in and around Quezon Memorial Circle may not realize they have an important museum in their midst, for underneath the towering pylons of the iconic Quezon Memorial is a museum dedicated to the life of the Commonwealth President. The museum features artifacts and important highlights from Manuel L. Quezon's life, reproductions of his office and Doña Aurora’s bedroom, and his actual sarcophagus at the end of the tour.

Tuesday to Sunday, 8am to 4pm; Quezon Memorial Circle, Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City; tel. (02) 225-1861

READ: 10 Family-Friendly Weekend Tours Recommended By A Travel Blogger

Quezon Heritage House


If you are already at Quezon Memorial Circle, don’t miss dropping by the Quezon Heritage House, an oft-overlooked landmark within the area. The bright-yellow, two-storey house of neoclassical-revival design is reconstructed from the original Quezon family house formerly located in New Manila, and is filled with the family’s furniture and memorabilia. An interesting note: the Philippine Red Cross was founded in the actual dining room on the ground floor of the house.

Open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 4pm (closed for lunchbreak 12nn to 1pm), Quezon Memorial Circle (near Max’s Restaurant area), Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City

READ: A Heritage House in Quezon Memorial Circle

Komikero Komiks Museum


Filipino comic book author and artist Gerry Alanguilan (in photo above) wanted to introduce comics as an art form to the public and he did it by opening his own museum in his hometown of San Pablo. Original panels by Pinoy comic book legends such as National Artist Francisco Coching, Larry Alcala, Tony Velasquez, and many others are exhibited on the walls, and vintage comic books are laid out on tables. The museum is located within a charming restaurant that you can have lunch or dinner at, afterwards.

Open 11am to 10pm, Tia Maria’s Sining at Kultura 29 Marasigan St., Lakeside Park Subdivision, San Pablo City, Laguna, tel. (049) 521-1810

READ: 7 Things To Do in Laguna and Quezon

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