"...everywhere is a learning realm. Everywhere is an answer if you have questions. Everywhere is a definition if you look for meanings."

[TUBA, BENGUET, PHILIPPINES] ▬ I'm losing the words I want to say. It's been four months since I visited the BenCab Museum in Tuba town of Benguet province and the memories are creeping away from the neuro-database somewhere inside my skull. I'll try to retrieve them. Yet, deymn! I did some research online about the history of this museum so that I can have an idea what to write but it didn't help. I realized rewriting the history based on the information I read online doesn't satisfy me this time so I will choose the trail to spontaneity. However, I will still include a little history taken from the official BenCab Museum website.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ A MAN STANDS BEHIND THE GLASS WALLS.


I've been hearing this so-called BenCab Museum many times and my impression is that it is a modern  museum that features contemporary art. Well I was partially right, actually.


▬ En Route to BenCab Museum ▬


#TUBA


I'M STILL A VIP TOURIST THIS TIME as this big hotel in Baguio playing well in the tourist market organized a tour for us guests. It's our third day in Metro Baguio and the fun never stops. I boarded in the tourist van thinking we're going to a place called La Presa made popular by a hit soap opera in the Philippines called Forevermore. I was so excited but I later found out that the latter is not our destination.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ THE ROAD TO BENCAB MUSEUM


So the road going to that museum is not a super highway. It was a humble road leading to a destination that you can be proud of. I am not just referring to the museum but by just seeing the beautiful view of the mountains of Tuba, the simple yet fruitful life around and a #BAGUIO

#BAGUIO


suburb you may think didn't exist, you can be proud to have lived or visited the wonderful Philippine archipelago.

Well, who cares a super highway when all you see is the filth of unregulated urbanization? I will still choose the humble road of love.


▬ The First Glimpse ▬


THEN AFTER WINDING ON THE ROAD THAT is obviously made to fit the terrain, we reached a very quiet place. The mountainous backdrop is still there but there is this one eye-catchy building that really stands out—the BenCab Museum.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ MY FIRST GLIMPSE OF BENCAB MUSEUM


It was just so unusual—me seeing a museum in a unique location. How cool is that! The architectural beauty is incongruous from the rest—really eye-catchy.

Tourist vehicles and cabs carrying tourists paying 300 an hour dominated the parking lot, still, they cannot take away the overt aesthetics.


▬ The Man Behind the Legend and a Little History ▬


THE MOST POPULAR ARTISTS WE KNOW TODAY came from the colonial period. We have Juan Luna and Fernando Amorsolo to name a few. For these modern ages, there are enormous number of great artists but only a few can naturally form its fandom because it is not easy to stand out due to the list of high-caliber artists sprouting everywhere. For the man behind the BenCab Museum, he made it in the cut. He was able to create a niche that can be called his own making him earn the title "Master of Contemporary Philippine Art."

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ ONE OF THE PAINTINGS DISPLAYED INSIDE THE MUSEUM


BenCab is a contraction of Benedicto Reyes Cabrera born in Manila on April 10, 1942. He received his bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of the Philippines in 1963. From there, the rest is history. He received many awards in his field—the most notable is an award elevating his status as a national artist in 2006 under the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

This artist lives and works in Benguet and has three successful children.


▬ All About Sabel ▬


ACCORDING TO THE BENCAB MUSEUM WEBSITE, "SABEL is a major subject that recurs through BenCab’s works through the decades, inspired by a real-life scavenger, he photographed and sketched in 1965, the Sabel image has become the artist's vehicle for the transmission of intensely emotional moods. When pushed to the limits of abstraction, the Sabel image serves as a fertile ground for the investigation of shape and structure."

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ SABEL SERIES INSIDE THE MUSEUM

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ SABEL SERIES ON A WALL


A Sabel painting garnered the highest bid during the León Gallery yearender Kingly Treasures Auction and it was sold in a price amounting to 20 million pesos in December, 2014.

On April 30, 2015, BenCab sketched Iza Calzado during the Sabel musical that was staged in Solaire theater. Such musical was inspired by BenCab's artworks. 


▬ Location, Contact Number, Entrance Fee, Opening/Closing  Time ▬

BENCAB MUSEUM IS LOCATED AT KM 6, Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet. General admission fee is 100 pesos while it's 80 pesos for students with valid ID and senior citizens. You can contact them via landline: (074) 442-7165; via mobile phone: 09205301954.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday. They are close every Monday. Operating hours start at 9 AM. The last entry for guests is 5:30 PM then closes at 6 PM.


▬ What to See and Expect Inside? (A Sort of Review) ▬


FOR ARTS AND CULTURE LOVERS, BENCAB MUSEUM is a piece of gold in a bronze age. This is a testament that the Philippine contemporary art is never dead since some artists from Manila showcase their works here.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ A VISITOR LOOKS UP THE ARTWORKS


INTERIOR The interior is very pleasant. Painted with white, the space appears wider and neat. The museum is a 4-storey structure. No elevator. However, walking through the stairs to go up and down is another experience since it enables you to view the interior and the artworks in different perspectives.

The windows and doors are wide enough to allow the cool mountain breeze to lower down the temperature inside the building as well as allowing natural light to enter.

GALLERIES The museum is divided into different galleries although every nook of the museum is decorated with artworks and sculpture.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ MUSEUM TOUR GUIDE LEADS THE VISITORS

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ A HUGE GALLERY WITH WIDE SPACE

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ GALLERY FOR SABEL PAINTINGS

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ OTHER CONTEMPORARY ARTS

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ ONE OF THE GALLERIES DISPLAYS THIS BLACK AND WHITE PAINTING


Bulol Collection ▬


ALTHOUGH THIS MUSEUM IS AN OVERT MANIFESTATION of a living Philippine contemporary art, the old also finds its space here. BenCab has a huge collection of bulol, an iconic sculpture representing the rich culture and tradition of the Cordilleras. Bulol is a rice god for many Cordilleran tribesmen especially in Ifugao.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ MINIATURE SCULPTURE

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ ROW OF BULOL

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ BULOL'S HEAD UP CLOSE

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ A BIG COLLECTION OF SCULPTURE ARE DISPLAYED IN THIS SECTION.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ ALL NAKED

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ BULOL COLLECTION SHOWING IT ALL

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ THIS BULOL COLLECTION STANDS OUT WITH THE WHITE BACKGROUND

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ MY FAILED ATTEMPT TO APPEAR CANDID: SO OBVIOUSLY STAGED.


As of this posting, this is the biggest bulol collection I have seen ever. It is said that BenCab is fascinated in Cordilleran culture, hence, he chose to live in Benguet with these collections.


▬ Other Artworks ▬


BELOW ARE SOME OF THE ARTWORKS THAT caught my attention and I can say that they have world class qualities.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ BRONZE SOLDIERS SCULPTURE

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ THIS VISITOR CLOSELY CHECKS OUT THE DETAILS OF THE ARTWORK.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ VISITORS TAKE A PHOTO OF THE ARTWORK DETAILS.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ SHE FINDS TIME TO CAPTURE THE DETAILS.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ THE FLOOR IS ALSO VERY DETAILED WITH A LOT OF SYMBOLISM.


▬ Farm and Garden ▬


BENCAB MUSEUM IS MORE THAN JUST SHOWCASING Philippine contemporary arts and bulol collections. It also has its own farm and garden.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ THE FARMS AND GARDEN AS SEEN FROM THE MUSEUM BUILDING

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ THE DUCK POND

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ REFRESHING VIEW AT THE MUSEUM'S BACKYARD

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ TOURISTS ENDURE THE HOT SUN TO TAKE PHOTOS.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ THE MOUNTAIN BACKDROP

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ A HUT STANDS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE POND.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ SOME ORGANIC FARMS SURROUND THE POND.


At the back of the museum is a huge wonderland with a refreshing view of the verdant surroundings and mountains. This area hosts a pond and organic farms.

Harvests from the organic farms are actually cooked and served in Café Sabel, a restaurant also located in BenCab museum featuring fresh and organic food.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ CAFÉ CEILING

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ CAFÉ INTERIOR

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ CAFÉ SABEL


▬ Bonus: From Tuba, Benguet and Beyond... ▬


INDEED, WHEN YOUR WORK CAPTURES THE WORLD, it's a good sign that your output is gaining popularity and community value. For BenCab, he has proven his supremacy in his niche. On this section, I will feature some of his works I've personally seen that has crossed borders from his base in Tuba, Benguet.

HOTEL

[VIGAN] ▬ BENCAB'S WORK DISPLAYED IN HOTEL LUNA MUSEUM


#VIGAN


[VIGAN] ▬ Hotel Luna Museum ► The HOTEL LUNA MUSEUM

[VIGAN] ▬ 14 Things to See and Expect at Hotel Luna Museum Tour


TEASER ► I can't believe when the museum-tour guide told me that the painting I am seeing is an original work of Juan Luna, one of the greatest Filipino artists in history.

in Vigan is where I first saw a BenCab creation. His Sabel paintings are displayed on prominent parts of this museum-hotel. In the grand sala, the main part of the museum, a BenCab creation called "conversation" serves as a centerpiece of other artworks including an original multi-million dollar painting of Juan Luna and an original sketch of Fernando Amorsolo.

Note: I will feature more BenCab works in this section (if I will encounter more in the future) that has gone far from its home in Benguet.

BENCAB MUSEUM

[TUBA] ▬ HELLO FROM BENCAB MUSEUM!


▬ Ending Words ▬


ALL OF THE FOREGOING ARE THE THINGS I learned in BenCab Museum. Truly, everywhere is a learning realm. Everywhere is an answer if you have questions. Everywhere is a definition if you look for meanings. BenCab Museum is just one of those 'everywheres' that make our existence worthwhile and exciting. ▬ to be continued...

INDEX: INSIDE THIS BLOG SERIES

AZALEA RESIDENCES HOTEL BAGUIO

[UP NEXT] ▬ HANG ON FOR THE NEXT DESTINATION. THIS IS AN IGOROT VILLAGE.


► BLOG SERIES: AZALEA SUMMER GETAWAY

Up Next: Arts and culture turned to canvasses and colors in BenCab Museum that made me feel amazed. After visiting this museum, we'll be going to a destination where culture and heritage turn to a village. I hiked. The village is secluded by trees; the mountain slope holds it right. Watch out for Part 11.

Part 1

[BAGUIO] ▬ VIP Treatment Vacation the Azalea Way


TEASER ► Inside the room, I felt like I'm a VIP again. This is probably one of the best rooms in Azalea. I felt privileged. This staycation kicks ass.

| Part 2

[BAGUIO] ▬ Ilocano Food Reigns at Kalapaw Restaurant


TEASER ► This restaurant highlights the Ilocos heritage and culture in spite of the fact that it's located in Baguio City.

| Part 3

[BAGUIO] ▬ Night Market at Harrison Road: What to See and Expect?


TEASER ► The foot traffic is huge. Merchants shout to encourage passersby to purchase their products. But some are just hawkers.

| Part 4

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ 5 Interdependent Worlds in Strawberry Farm


TEASERI know they need something that's why they need to do something. You see great hope in their eyes.

| Part 5

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Bahong Flower Farm: Rose Capital of the Philippines


TEASER ► ...they will transform into beautiful, fully-bloomed flowers and that will be the end of their life because they will be cut and head straight to the flower shop.

| Part 6

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Jewel Igorot Restaurant: Non-Igorots Should Eat Here!


TEASER ► Say anything you want to say and this cool restaurant along the main road in La Trinidad will still find its way to become superior.

| Part 7

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Jewel Igorot Museum and the Maid-to-Millionaire Story


TEASER ► Greatness does not only come from huge quantities and fat funds. My conviction is something is already great when you are able to put up that something from scratch with a purpose to educate and inspire.

| Part 8

[BAGUIO] ▬ Discovering More of Baguio the Amazing Race Way


TEASER ► We've explored the city under time pressure yet we were awed by these destinations that are truly timeless.

| Part 9

[BAGUIO] ▬ 2600 Gastropub: When Zip Code Turns Into Night Life


TEASER ► Then, the playlist went on and it made me wild, almost shedding tears, remembering the good old days in favor of nostalgia.

| Part 10 |

Part 11

[BAGUIO] ▬ Tam-awan Village: Old-School Igorot Living of Today


TEASER ► The present has almost erased all the things of the past but some individuals have always been interested in bringing the old back to present.

| Part 12

[BAGUIO] ▬ Tree Top Adventure: What to Expect? + Things You Must Know


TEASER ► The facilities are well-engineered—truly a work of the experts. Pine trees are part of the activities and they claim that no tree was harmed.

| Part 13

[BAGUIO] ► Azalea Residences Hotel Review: My Experiences in Details


TEASER ▬ The room where I stayed is even bigger than our house—complete with a kitchen, a dining area, a sala (with a couch and a twin bed) and another two rooms within the room. Swanky!



► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This post is filed under the category "Museums." This category is a collection of stories about all the museums I've seen or visited. It doesn't matter if the museum is small, huge, old, new, private, public or whatever. To see more posts about museums, scroll down and look for the "More Posts from this Category" blog section.

[2] This experience was made possible through Azalea Residences Hotel in Baguio City. I was invited to experience the Azalea hospitality.

[3] For more information about this museum, check out the official website at bencabmuseum.org. Other helpful webpages I used as reference are the following: 1 | 2

[4] All maps I used on this post are the works of Eugene Alvin Villar and Mike Gonzalez published on Wikipedia. Source: 1 | 2 | 3

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EDMAR GUQUIB, Travel Blogger
EDMARATION #TownExplorer


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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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