8 Museums In Manila You Probably Don’t Know About Yet

The thriving city of Manila has so many hidden gems that most do not know about but are definitely worth visiting. Take museums, for example. Museums in Manila are plentiful, housing Lunas, Hidalgos, and more. However, very few know that there are lesser-known museums tucked in different cities that hold just as much history and knowledge.

The next time you’re out to discover museums in Manila, you may want to recalibrate your route towards these historic halls. For sure, this charming city will surprise you yet again with what it has to offer.

1Museo ng Katipunan (Katipunan Museum)

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Image Credit: @museongkatipunanpms via Instagram

San Juan is known for great food and bargain shopping. But did you know that it has a museum that’s solely dedicated to the history of the Kataastaasang Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK, or simply Katipunan) led by one of the country’s heroes Andres Bonifacio? It is small but packed with artwork, memorabilia and informative pieces about the time when the Filipinos were at war against the Americans for our country’s liberation.

The museum is perfect for people looking into a quick but in-depth look into Philippine history during the time of Andres Bonifacio. School-age kids will have fun relating this to their history lessons in class.

While Museo ng Katipunan still has improvements and further projects still in the books, it is already worth the visit.

Museo ng Katipunan
29 Pinaglabanan, Cororazon de Jesus, San Juan, Metro Manila
Opening Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fee: Free, but you may consider making a small donation to help in its maintenance.

2Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum (PAFAM)

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Image Credit: @kennaduque via Instagram

Did you know that Philippines’ flying history is quite rich? Good thing too, it is actually very well-documented. This would have to be one of the coolest museums in the country, with actual planes to tell its visitors of the story of how long and far we have gone with the aerospace industry.

More importantly, PAFAM honors our countrymen who have given service to the country by being part of the Air Force. The museum memorializes Their efforts of giving time, training and courage to be alert in times of peace and danger. To see their story in museum is heart-warming and makes one proud.

The PAFAM can be enjoyable for both young and old. It has photos, replicas, memorabilia and actual planes spanning different time periods in history. You can experience the places not only by viewing them. You can view the interiors in some. We’re big fans of flying so this one is definitely a must-see for us!

Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum
Villamor Airbase, Pasay City
Opening Hours: Mondays-Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00p.m.
Fee: PHP20.00

3Armed Forces of the Philippines Museum

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Image Credit: @cwuzawvin via Instagram

Just like the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Museum memorializes the stories of bravery of the men and women of AFP. It does not only tell of recent events, but delves deep as far as the Philippines’ war period. It gives us a sneak peek of what it is and was like to be a soldier of this country giving us bits of information about AFP’s honorable traditions and philosophies.

The museum does not only include memorabilia and replica of uniforms and firearms. It also has actual hand-written letters and memos from our country’s heroes. It has artwork depicting AFP’s history, and it even has a vast collection of photographs from days of old. If that does not sound enough, the unique element of this museum has a series of tunnels and channels leading to different exits as if to let the visitors experience what it is like to be a soldier on the field. Definitely, one of the coolest museums in Manila to visit soon!

Armed Forces of the Philippines Museum
Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City
Opening Hours: Mondays – Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Fee: PHP 20 for students, PHP 25 for adults, PHP 10 for military dependents, free for veterans, retired and active military members

4Book Museum cum Ethnology Center

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Image Credit: @bookmuseumph via Instagram

This privately-owned museum is a reflection of owner Dominador Buhain’s love for books and country. Buhain serves as the chairman and president of REX Group of Companies, known for book publishing. How fitting!

The first part of the Book Museum cum Ethnology Center is filled with his collection of books in all genres, and literally in all shapes and sizes. This collection is even continuously growing, thanks to Buhain’s travels. Fun fact: Dominador Buhain is listed as one of the most travelled people in the world! Some books are free to peruse, while there are other rare volumes.

Don’t miss the exteriors of the museum, which tell the story of publishing of the Philippines and the world via murals. Inside, besides the books on display which you can read to your heart’s desire, don’t miss carefully preserved artifacts from all over the Philippines. This place particularly has interesting finds from the Cordillera region, more than any other museum in the country. You will also find various souvenirs and artifacts from north to south of the Philippines, some of which aren’t seen in other museums in Manila.

Imagine the kind of uniqueness each piece in this museum holds. Definitely, one of the museums in Manila you shouldn’t miss!

Book Museum cum Ethnology Center
127 Dao St. Marikina Heights, Marikina
Opening Hours: Everyday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fee: PHP 100

5Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines Museum)

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Image Credit: @waffyestwada via Instagram

The Philippines has gone through several evolutions with the changes and colonization the country has experienced over several hundreds of years. One characteristic that changes over time and influence is money and other modes of trade. Imagine, with all the cultures and influences that the Philippines has witnessed, how many currencies and monetary values has this country seen?

This is what Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas aims to impart to visitors both foreign and local. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts showcasing various trade currencies the country has seen in different time periods. It is designed to walk you through different periods of influences, each with its own collection of currencies and trade items.

Museo ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
Inside the BSP Main Complex A. Mabini st. cor. P. Ocampo st. Malate, Manila
Opening Hours: Non-holiday Mondays – Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

6Bahay Nakpil-Bautista (Nakpil-Bautista House)

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Image Credit: @nickhuelar via Instagram

Similar to Museo ng Katipunan, Bahay-Nakpil Bautista is a museum showcasing the history of the Katipunan. Although somewhat similar, what makes this unique is that this house was actually used by the Katipuneros during the revolution. While most old houses in the country get neglected or demolished, this hallmark of revolutionary history stands strong to tell the tales of war.

The living room is a gathering area that can be rented out for events. How classy this idea is, with the setting that seems to transport you back to the time of the Spaniards. The other parts of the house exhibit paintings and memorabilia of the men and women that brought forth the Katipunan. and the liberation of the Philippines from the Spanish.

Seeing a house that tells its own story alive to this day is undeniably honorable and definitely worth seeing. Keep this on your list when you visit museums in Manila!

Bahay Nakpil-Bautista
432 A. Bautista st. Quiapo, Manila
Opening Hours: Tuesdays – Sundays except for holidays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fee: PHP 80

7Museum of a History of Ideas at UP Manila

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Image Credit: @historyofideas via Instagram

University of the Philippines (UP), being the State University, rendered significant contributions to the country by producing some of the nation’s best and brightest graduates. The university has been a part of the country’s core in development and innovation in different fields of arts and sciences. The establishment of the Museum of a History of Ideas documents this.

This museum showcases the contributions of UP in a space that seems to inspire thought aesthetically. Check out various displays from each college, like vintage medicine tools, dental drills, books, and the like. It is a continuously growing museum, too. The administration constantly researches for new pieces, memorabilia, and ideas within the concept of the museum to be brought out for exhibition.

Museum of a History of Ideas
UP Manila, Philippine General Hospital Compound, Padre Faura St. Ermita, Manila
Opening Hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

8Presidential Museum and Library

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Image Credit: @emialday via Instagram

If you want a history refresher, and a look at how our country has developed throughout the years with very little disgust, maybe you should add this to your must-visit museums in Manila.

The Presidential Museum and Library exhibits the significant contributions of the Philippine presidents over the years. It also tells the story of the Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines. It is always good to see the core of our legislative system in a plain manner. This museum tells us more of our development as a democratic country.

Adjoined with the museum is the Malacanang Library. This library is a reference library open to all, not just officials of the government and Malacanang. In here, you can find records of laws and executive issuances available for viewing.

Malacanang offers group tours and appointments for visits in the museum.

Presidential Museum and Library
2/F Kalayaan Hall, Malacanang, J.P. Laurel st. San Miguel, Manila
Opening Hours: Mondays to Sundays, 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Fee: PHP 50 for adults, PHP 30 for students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.


Which of these lesser-known museums in Manila are already in your bucket list? Time to head on out and dig deeper into the soils of our country!

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