Announcement, Exhibit, Main Gallery (Kawilihan), Museum, South Wing Gallery, UP Vargas Museum

Vargas Museum Turns 25

The University of the Philippines Vargas Museum celebrates its 25th year through a series of exhibition and education programs in 2012.

Signing of the deed of donation in 1978. Image from the Vargas Archives

On March 1, 1978, the Philippines’s first Executive Secretary Jorge B. Vargas donated his collection of art, stamps and coins, library, and archives to his alma mater, the University of the Philippines. The Vargas Art Collection comprises works by Filipino artists from the late 19th century, the American and Japanese occupation, and the postwar years. The Vargas Museum in the University of the Philippines was formally opened on February 22, 1987. The museum has been exhibiting the permanent art collection of Vargas. It is committed to providing the public access to the collection in dynamic dialogue with contemporary art. Through exhibitions, research, educational activities, and museum development projects, publications and public programs, the Vargas advances awareness of Philippine history and art. The museum fulfills this aim in collaboration with academic disciplines in the university, specifically Art Studies.

Exhibition / Research / Curatorial Projects

The Vargas Museum building in 2012

The Vargas Museum will commence the commemoration of its silver year through the opening of the Art History Series. To encourage further study of the Vargas Collection, temporary exhibitions at the 3F South Wing gallery will be curated based on art historical methods. The series will begin in May 2012 with the thematic approach, which dwells on the notion of the ‘picturesque’ in visual culture. It will re-examine ideals of beauty and expressions of nostalgia in portraiture and landscape paintings, as well as images in popular culture. The second is the monographic approach, which will focus on the lives and works of artists. It will explore the careers in painting and the graphic arts of Pablo Amorsolo and Pedro Coniconde, whose works are well represented in the Vargas Collection. The series will be rounded out by the diachronic approach, focusing on the milieu of the Philippine Commonwealth government from 1934 to 1941. This series aims to bridge the gap between curatorship and art history. It is also part of the museum’s continuing efforts to reactivate the collection and place it within a broader social context.

Following the launch of the Art history series is the opening of the Visible Storage in June 2012. The Vargas Art Collection consists of over 500 works of art, and a fraction of it can be viewed as permanent exhibition at the second floor Main Gallery of the museum. To echo important periods and themes covered by the permanent exhibition, the visible storage provides opportunities for qualified researchers and specialists to undertake an in-depth study of the collection.

Another program Track Changes is a para-site exhibition program at the Main Gallery that aims to link the art collection and the archives. This places the art collection and the archives in relation to a larger matrix of relationships. The initial exhibition is titled The Native Strain: Guillermo Tolentino and Aurelio Alvero. This exhibition probes the nativist disposition of the sculptor Tolentino and the curator-poet Alvero who went by the nom de plume Magtanggul Asa and helped Vargas form his collection. It is scheduled to open in June 2012.


In addition to the exhibition programs, the museum also endeavors to develop its education mandate through the publication of the The Vargas Collection Study Guide. The guide addresses school students in grade school, high school, and college levels. It links discussion topics and activities on The Vargas Collection exhibit to the national curriculum prescribed by the Department of Education. Last year, a discussion among art educators and specialists was held at the Vargas Museum to assess the potential of the program. Participants of this forum included representatives from Museo Pambata, Philippine Art Educators Association (PAEA), UP Integrated School, Ateneo de Manila High School, Balara Elementary School, to name a few. The study guide will be launched in September 2012.

Throughout the year, the Vargas Museum will be hosting exhibitions on contemporary art at the ground floor and third floor galleries and the basement. Study guides for temporary exhibitions will be accessible online through the official website of the Vargas Museum.


About Jorge B. Vargas Museum

It aims to preserve its collection donated by Jorge B. Vargas and conducts research, exhibitions, publications, and educational programs. The Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center houses a museum, archives, and library devoted to the Philippine history, art, and culture from the late 19th century until the post-war era. Its main beneficiaries are students, faculty, researchers and scholars of the Philippines and Asia.


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We open Tumba Tumba Children's Museum of Philippine Art by CANVAS on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 at 4pm. The reception is open to the public. For details, go to our Facebook event page of the project.
Bridges: Mariano Ponce & Jorge Vargas In cooperation with Pambayang Museo ng Baliwag 3F Sensorium, UP Vargas Museum Exhibition Run: 20 June to 27 July 2018 Public Reception: 26 June, Tuesday at 4pm "Bridges: Mariano Ponce & Jorge Vargas" looks into the lives of #MarianoPonce and #JorgeVargas, who both served as representatives of the #Philippinegovernment to Japan in times of uncertainty and turmoil. Ponce was sent as an emissary to Japan in 1898 to explore the #Japanese government’s position in the #UnitedStatesofAmerica’s colonization of the Philippines and impending political power over Asia in the late 19th century, while Vargas, whose position as the Executive Secretary of the #Commonwealth Period made it imperative for him to stay in the country, was sent to Japan as an ambassador in 1943 when the first Philippine Embassy in Japan was established. The exhibition explores the political roles of these two #diplomats during tumultuous times as the Philippines built its sense of nationhood, and sought its independence in light of different forces amidst newly-established governments. "Bridges: Mariano Ponce & Jorge Vargas" will engage the younger audience through its interactive and tactile activities in order to draw the youth to the relevance of history and the creation of a collective identity. This exhibition is part of the year-long programs of the Municipality of #Baliwag and Museo ng Baliwag for the 100th Death Anniversary of Mariano Ponce. Museo ng Baliwag was established in 2017 by the Municipality of Baliwag through the efforts of Mayor Ferdinand V. Estrella to promote and preserve the history, arts, and culture of Baliwag. It serves as the Arts, Culture and Heritage Office of the Municipality that creates and implements programs relating to the promotion, conservation, and cultivation of Baliwag’s historic, artistic, and cultural traditions. For more information, please contact Vargas Museum at (+632) 981-8500 loc. 4024 (UP trunkline), (+632) 928-1925 (fax) or send an email to
First LAWAS Public Art collateral event at the UP Vargas Museum Grounds and CAL Lawn on Wednesday, 13 June: Encounters: Performance by Ea Torrado Open to the public | Info:, 981-8500 loc. 2659/2660 Developed around Agnes Arellano’s suite of goddess sculptures Dakini, Innana, Kali and Magdalene, "Encounters" explores dualities of human existence and is rooted in Ea Torrado’s exploration of dance as emancipatory ritual. In it, dancers descend into the depths of being with the body as channel for the divine. The encounter is coming together of corporal flesh and greater divinity. Agnes Arellano’s goddesses remind us to be rooted - perhaps, that which we frantically seek is in all of us. Choreographer Ea Torrado is the recipient of Alvin Erasga Tolentino Koryograpiya Award in 2014, Remedios De Oteyza Choreography Award in 2016 and Asian Cultural Council Grant in 2017. Her creations manifest in choreographies, film, installation, site-specific work, and improvisational performance. She is the Artistic Director of Daloy Dance Company. Daloy Dance Company interweaves dance, theatre and improvisation to create daring and evocative contemporary dance. Since its establishment in 2014, Daloy has made waves in the Manila art scene with critically acclaimed and exceptionally varied body of work. With its strong collaborative thrust, the company has worked with notable visual artists in various museums and galleries in the Philippines, and has enjoyed diverse audiences and performed in a range of dance and art festivals locally and abroad in Japan, Thailand, Korea and USA. LAWAS Public Art runs until August 2018.
The first session of the 2018 Art Workshops by Fernando B. Sena at the UP Vargas Museum Basement resumes on 23 June. Registration is ongoing. The workshops are for kids (8+), teens, and adults. Mr. Sena teaches painting, drawing, still life, portraiture, landscape, and figures. Schedule: 9-11:30am, eight Saturdays For details, please contact Mr. Sena at 376-2196 or 0918-951-9989 or Vargas Museum (Glenn/Linda) at 928-1927 during office hours.
Tumba Tumba Children’s Museum of Philippine Art A Proof of Concept Exhibit CANVAS - Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development 19 June to 27 July 2018 1F and 3F Galleries UP Vargas Museum UP Vargas Museum, in cooperation with The Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) and with support from Panta Rhea Foundation and Blanc Gallery, presents Tumba Tumba Children’s Museum of Philippine Art on 19 June, Tuesday, 4pm at the 1F and 3F Galleries of the museum. Tumba Tumba Children’s Museum of Philippine Art is CANVAS’ proof of concept exhibit that transforms the Vargas Museum into a study of an actual operating children’s museum complete with a museum shop. Three new books that will also be launching during the exhibition reception (Ipapasyal Namin si Lolo written by Genaro Gojo Cruz and illustrated by Arvi Fetalvero, Ang Aklatang Pusa written by Eugene Evasco and illustrated by Jared Yokte, and Renato Barja’s Children’s Stories, a catalogue based on painter-sculptor Jojo Barja’s art and notes from the stories he gathered from children during his trips) will have dedicated sections that cater to interactive spaces for children. Abubot, a special show made possible with partnership with Resurrection Furniture, will be part of the exhibition. It will feature art works made out of found objects by participating artists such as Aze Ong, Sergio Bumatay III, Art Sanchez, Renz Baluyot, Liza Flores, and more. Interactive installations by Elmer Borlongan, Pam Yan Santos, and Daniel dela Cruz, two murals by Archie Oclos, and a rainbow installation and a scale model presentation of the future site of CANVAS’ Children’s Museum of Philippine Art by the architectural firm Arkisens will also be showcased in the exhibition.
SCHEDULE ADVISORY: The galleries will be closed next week for ingress and renovation. Our offices and library will also be closed on Tuesday, 12 June (Philippine Independence Day) and Friday, 15 June (Eid'l Fitr: Feast of Ramadan). For information, please call 981-8500 local 4024 during office hours.

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