The Philippines is known for its natural beauty – lush jungles, pristine beaches, and rugged mountains. Exploring our country deepens our appreciation of its rich and diverse ecosystem. Did you know that the National Museum of Natural History in Manila stands as a testament to the remarkable biological and geological diversity that defines the Philippines?
A Journey Through Biodiversity
The National Museum of Natural History is a haven for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and curious minds. With 12 permanent galleries, it showcases a rich collection of botanical, zoological, and geological specimens.
As you step inside, you’re immediately drawn into a world of wonder and exploration. The museum’s creative curation presents these specimens in a way that breathes life into the past and present, allowing visitors to connect with the Philippines’ natural heritage.
At the heart of the museum stands the iconic “Tree of Life.” This structure serves as a symbolic and literal centerpiece that unites the Philippines’ diverse ecosystems, from the towering mountain ridges to the enchanting marine reefs. It’s a visual representation of the interconnectedness of all life, a reminder of the delicate balance that sustains our planet.
A Storied Past
Beyond its breathtaking exhibits, the National Museum of Natural History boasts a history that adds a layer of significance to its existence. The building itself was originally constructed as the Agriculture and Commerce Building in 1940, designed in neoclassical style by Filipino Architect Antonio Toledo in the late 1930s. This architectural gem bore witness to tumultuous times, surviving heavy artillery fire during World War II in February 1945.
The resilience of this building and its transformation into the National Museum of Natural History serve as a symbol of the Philippines’ ability to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. In 1949, the Philippine government embarked on a post-war rehabilitation work program, reconstructing the Department of Agriculture and Commerce building.
A Treasure Restored
The journey to transform this historical structure into the National Museum of Natural History began in 2013, using the concept of adaptive reuse architecture, which aims to repurpose old buildings into spaces that serve a different purpose than their original one. The Department of Tourism’s former quarters now house an astonishing array of botanical, zoological, and geological collections from across the country.
On May 18, 2018, a long-awaited dream came to fruition as the National Museum Complex celebrated the public opening of the National Museum of Natural History, coinciding with International Museum Day. This marked the beginning of a new chapter in the museum’s storied history, inviting visitors from around the world to immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring tapestry of the Philippines’ natural world.
National Museum of Natural History Galleries
Gallery I — Philippine Biodiversity
Gallery II — The Geology Of The Philippines
Gallery III — Minerals And Energy Resources
Gallery IV — Life Through Time
Gallery V — The Mossy, Motane And Pine Forests
Gallery VI — Tropical Lowland Evergreen Rainforest
Gallery VII — Ultramafic And Limestones Karst Forests
Gallery VIII — Freshwater Wetlands
Gallery IX — Mangroves, Beaches and Intertidal Zones
Gallery X — The Marine Realm
Gallery XI — Our Natural Inheritance
This is closed during our visit
Gallery XII — The Pioneering Naturalists In The Philippines
Godofredo Alcasid Function Hall
National Museum of Natural History FAQs
Who can visit the museum?
The museum is open for everyone.
What are the operating hours?
The National Museum of Natural History is open from Tuesdays to Sundays (except religious holidays) from 9AM to 6PM. Arrive at least 30 minutes before closing time.
How much is the entrance fee?
Admission is FREE!
How to book a visit?
Walk-in visitors are welcome. If you’re 20 pax and more, they’ll require you to book in advance online.
Where to reserve slots for big groups?
- You can make reservation here at least five (5) days prior to the day of the planned visit. – http://reservations.nationalmuseum.gov.ph/
- You can also send booking request via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Follow up your booking request on (02) 8298-1100 local 3000
Please observe proper museum behavior. Kindly take note of the following policies:
- Baggage Deposit — Baggage counters are available upon entry. Prohibited items must be deposited at the counters.
- Prohibited Items — The following items are NOT permitted inside the museum buildings:
- Big bags, luggage and other bulky items larger than 33 x 43 cm (13 x 17 in)
- Backpacks (except for baby backpack carrier should be carried in front)
- Food and beverage
- Tumbler, bottled water
- Hats and caps
- Video camera
- Selfie stick, and tripod
- Headphones and headsets
- Art materials and toys
- Shades and dark sunglasses
- Plant, flower or organic material
- Wrapped package, gift package
- Dress Code — Kindly dress appropriately. Extremely revealing clothes are prohibited.
- Photography — Taking pictures is allowed inside the museum premises. However, the use of camera flash is strictly prohibited. Commercial/Professional photography, photo shoot and media coverage should secure necessary permits.
- Videography — Personal videography is limited to specific areas and galleries. Commercial/Professional videography, live streaming, vlogging, video shoot, and media coverage should secure necessary permits.
- Strictly no touching of exhibits (paintings, sculptures, and other objects in display)
- Please keep your voices low while inside the galleries. No shouting allowed
- Do not lean on glass showcases and pedestals, and do not step on the platforms.
- DO NOT PLACE ANY ITEMS such as cellphones, cameras, and bags on the exhibits and pedestals.
- Running, dancing, and playing inside the museum are not allowed.
- Sitting and lying on floors are not allowed.
- Staircase should be free from obstruction. Staying and sitting along the staircase is prohibited.
National Museum of Natural History Contact Information
National Museum of Natural History
Opens Tuesday – Sunday 9AM to 6PM
Address: Teodoro F. Valencia Cir, Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila