Metro Manila · University of Santo Tomas Museum
The UST Museum is like a gateway to an older world. Established in the year 1682, the university museum is the oldest existing museum in the country. It started as an observation room for the sciences, specifically for pharmaceutical science and medicine, and later became a repository for all kinds of artistic and scientific objects.
The museum's vast collection ranging from items classified under natural history to visual arts to Philippine religious images, and there are some rather interesting fossils and artifacts that visitors should look for while at the museum.
Natural History & Ethnology
The Natural History section is the most popular among museum visitors. Aside from snakes, tamarraws, and crocodiles, visitors will also find a carabao with two heads. The museum also has a collection of old school Philippine weaponry. Dominican missionaries made it a point to gather implements of life of the people they were evangelizing. The Ethnology section of the museum features weaponry such as the arrows and axes of headhunters, the native Kris of Muslims in the south, and the inventive arrowheads used by the Aetas.
If you are fond of music, you will find ancient musical instruments at the museum. According to historians, people from the northern part of the country used wind instruments in pre-colonial Philippines while gongs typified the south. This explanation doesn’t give justice to the collection though because once you see old musical instruments from the islands the likes of the Maranao Zither, you will immediately be transported to another world and in a different time. The beauty of these instruments is not the only attraction though because they also tell stories about victory, death, and love.
Burial Jars and Earthenware
Burial jars can also be found at the museum inside the old university. In some parts of pre-colonial Philippines, burial jars were made for the dead to represent the journey of his soul to the after life. This gives one an insight on it was like in the Philippines before the start of the 333-year-long Spanish colonial era.
Wares from China, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam are also showcased in the museum’s collections. Before the Spanish conquered the islands, the place they later on called Las Islas Filipinas, already had trade relations with its Asian neighbors. That’s why earthenware from other parts of Asia were found in the islands when the Spanish docked on its shores. Some of these items date back to 10, 000 BC.
By 1941, the museum acquired works of Philippine painters the likes of Pablo and Fernando Amorsolo, Vicente Manansala, Carlos Francisco, and Galo Ocampo.
Location & How To Get There
University of Santo Tomas Museum, Main Gallery
Mezzanine Level, Main Building, University of Santo Tomas, Manila City
Tel: (63) 2 781 1815
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
Closed on Public Holidays and University Holidays.
Thomasians: Free of charge upon presentation of UST I. D. or Alumni Card.
Non-Thomasian Professionals: PHP 50.00
Non-Thomasian Students: PHP 30.00