Went to Manila to Look at a Jar – 05/29/09

BEING a history buff, I’m a huge fan of Philippine history and pre-history.  It is for this reason that last Sunday’s trip to the National Museum was something I earnestly looked forward to around three weeks previously.

Imagine this: a couple walks into a trendy ladies’ shoe store.  The woman promptly begins to ogle and heap praises on particularly beautiful designs, while her boyfriend/husband is reduced to a mixture of boredom and disinterestedness.  Well, that’s exactly what Tine and I looked like.  Except that I was the giddy one, and instead of a shoe store, we found ourselves in a gallery of archaeological artifacts hundreds of years old.

This particular artifact almost made me jump up and down:

Yup, that’s the Manunggul Jar.  It’s a Philippine national treasure.  It’s actually a burial jar used to store the remains of a deceased person in the early days of Philippine prehistory.  What makes it so important is its remarkable state of preservation, itself being around 2800 years old.  The top portion shows a boat boarded by two people: a rower at the back and a passenger (the deceased) in front symbolizing a transition to the afterlife.

(I actually embarrassed myself when I got all excited seeing what I believed was this artifact in another more prominent gallery.  That one was apparently a replica that was created for the purpose of decorating that gallery with a specific theme.)

Never mind that I didn’t have time to visit the Spoliarium in the original building, never mind if I wasn’t able to give due attention to the equally-important Laguna Copperplate., and never mind that I was not allowed to bring Olga (my DSLR) into the museum.  Seeing this jar was worth the Sunday visit.  I’ll probably just return one of these days and sign up for one of John Silva’s walking tours.



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