Art of the Philippines

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Artistic paintings were introduced to the Filipinos in the 16th century when the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. During this time, the Spaniards used paintings as religious propaganda to spread Catholicism throughout the Philippines. These paintings, appearing mostly on church walls, featured religious figures appearing in Catholic teachings. Due to the Church's supervision of Filipino art and Spanish occupation of the Philippines, the purpose of most paintings from the 16th-19th century were to aid the Catholic Church.[1]

In the early 19th century, wealthier, educated Filipinos introduced more secular Filipino art, causing art in the Philippines to deviate from religious motifs. The use of watercolor paintings increased and the subject matter of paintings began to include landscapes, Filipino inhabitants, Philippine fashion, and government officials. Portrait paintings featured the painters themselves, Filipino jewelry, and native furniture. The subject of landscape paintings featured artists' names painted ornately as well as day-to-day scenes of average Filipinos partaking in their daily tasks. These paintings were done on canvas, wood, and a variety of metals. [1]

During World War II, some painters focused their artwork on the effects of war, including battle scenes, destruction, and the suffering of the Filipino people.


There are many different types of Filipino dances varying in influence and region. Types of Filipino dance include Cordillera, Muslim, tribal, rural, and Spanish style dances.

Within the cordillera dances, there is Banga, Bendayan, Lumagen/Tachok, Manmanok, Ragragsakan, Salisid, Talip, Tarektek, and Uyaoy/Uyauy. The Banga dance illustrates the grace and strength of women in the Kalinga tribe. Women performing the Banga balance heavy pots on their heads while dancing to beat of wind chimes. This mimics Kalinga women collecting and transporting water. Another dance, called Lumagen or Tachok, is performed to celebrate happy occasions. When Lumagen is performed, it is meant to symbolize flying birds and is musically-paired to the beat of gongs. Another cordillera dance, Salisid, is the dance to show courtship. In the Salisid dance, a male and a female performer represent a rooster attempting to attract a hen.[2]

Tribal dances include Malakas at Maganda, Kadal Blelah, Kadal Tahaw, Binaylan, Bagobo Rice Cycle, and Dugso. Malakas at Maganda is a national folklore dance. It tells the story of the origin of the Filipino people on the islands. Another dance, called the Binaylan dance, tells the story of a hen, the hen's baby, and a hawk. In this dance, the hawk is said to control a tribe's well-being, and is killed by hunters after attempting to harm the hen's baby.[3]

Two examples of traditional Filipino dances are Tinikling and Binasuan and many more. Filipinos have unique folk dances like tinikling where assistants take two long bamboo sticks rapidly and in rhythm, clap sticks for dancers to artistically and daringly try to avoid getting their feet caught between them. Also in the southern part of the Philippines, there is another dance called singkil using long bamboo poles found in tinikling; however, it is primarily a dance showing off lavish Muslim royalty. In this dance, there are four bamboo sticks arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern in which the dancers exploit every position of these clashing sticks. Dancers can be found trying to avoid all 4 bamboo sticks all together in the middle. They can also try to dance an entire rotation around the middle avoiding all sticks. Usually these stick dances performed in teamwork fashion not solo. The Singkil dance is identifiable with the use of umbrellas and silk clothing.[4]


Philippine weaving involves many threads being measured, cut, and mounted on a wooden platform. The threads are dyed and weaved on a loom.[5]

Before Spanish colonization, native Filipinos weaved using fibers from abaca, pineapple, cotton, and bark cloth. Textiles, clothes, rugs, and hats were weaved. Baskets were also weaved and used as vessels of transport and storage, and for hunting. These baskets were used to transport grain, store food, and catching fish.[6] They also used weaving to make just about all of the clothing that was worn.

They weaved rugs that they used for quilts and bedding. The quality of the quilt/bedding was based on how soft, how tight together, and the clean pattern. The patterns were usually thick stripes with different colors and with a nice pattern.

However, during Spanish colonization, Filipinos used fabric called nipis to weave white clothing. These were weaved with decorative, flower designs.[6]


Traditional pot-making in certain areas of the Philippines would use clay found near the Sibalom River. Molding the clay required the use of wooden paddles, and the clay had to be kept away from sunlight.[7]

Native Filipinos created pottery since 3500 years ago.[7] They used these ceramic jars to hold the deceased.[8]

Other pottery used to hold remains of the deceased were decorated with anthropomorphic designs. These anthropomorphic earthenware pots date back to 5 BC. - 225 A.D and had pot covers shaped like human heads. [8]

Filipino pottery had other uses as well. During the Neolithic period of the Philippines, pottery was made for water vessels, plates, cups, and for many other uses.[9]

Other art forms[edit]

Tanaga is a type of Filipino poetry. Kut-kut is an art technique used between the 15th and 18th centuries. The technique was a combination of European and Oriental style and process mastered by indigenous tribes of Samar island.

Past Filipino artists[edit]

Past notable Filipino artists include Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, Augusto Arbizo, Félix Hidalgo, and David Cortés Medalla. Present-day Filipino artists featuring Filipino culture include Elito Circa, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Fred DeAsis, Daniel Coquilla, Ang Kiukok, Lito Mayo, Mauro Malang Santos, Santiago Bosé, Francisco Viri Rey Paz Contreras, and Nunelucio Alvarado.[10] The Arts or Paintings by Zóbel, Amorsolo and many more could be seen in most of the art museums in the Philippines. Zobel's paintings can be seen in the Ayala museum.


Place Museum Description Address
Manila Bahay putek Tsinoy A typical Chinese house in the Philippines Kaisa Heritage Center, 32 Anda corner Cabildo Streets, Intramuros, Manila
Casa Manila A typical Spanish colonial house in the Philippines General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila
San Agustín Museum A church museum with wide collections of catholic religious items San Agustín Monastery, General Luna Street Corner Real, Intramuros, Manila
National Museum of the Philippines The national museum which showcases Philippine Arts P. Burgos Avenue, Manila
Malacañang Museum A museum inside the Presidential Palace complex Malacañang Palace Complex, J.P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
Metropolitan Museum of Manila A museum of contemporary arts Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Manila
Museum of Contemporary Arts and Design A museum of contemporary Filipino arts College of Saint Benilde, 950 P. Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila
The Museum A museum of contemporary Filipino arts De La Salle University, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila
UST Museum The oldest existing museum in the Philippines. UST Museum has permanent display on natural history specimens, coins, medals, memorabilia, ethnographic materials and oriental arts objects. University of Santo Tomás Main Building, España Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila
Museo Pambata A museum for children Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive, Ermita, Manila
Pasay CCP Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino and Asian Traditional Musical Instruments A museum of performing arts. Tanghalang Pambansa CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay
GSIS Museo ng Sining A museum of Filipino Arts Macapagal Avenue, Financial Center, Pasay
Makati Ayala Museum A museum of Filipino Arts Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Street, Greenbelt Park, Makati
Yuchengco Museum A museum of Filipino and Filipino-Chinese Arts RCBC Plaza, Ayala corner Senator Gil Puyal Avenue, Makati
Pasig López Memorial Museum A museum of Filipino Contemporary Arts Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig
Quezón City Ateneo Art Gallery A museum of Filipino Contemporary Arts Special Collections Building, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezón City
Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center The only museum in the Philippines with wide range of Philippine Arts from 1880 to 1960 Roxas Avenue, University of the Philippines, Dilimán, Quezón City
Taguig Mind Museum A science museum J.Y. Campos Park, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Cebu Paulina Constancia Museum of Naive Art [MoNA] A museum of Naive Art, Poetry, & Sustainability 110 Gorordo Ave., Cebu City

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "History Of Philippine Painting". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  2. ^ "Philippine Dances Cordillera". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  3. ^ "tribal dances". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  4. ^ "Hot Spots Filipino Cultural Dance - Singkil". Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Banton Cloth : Age of Contact : Banton Is., Romblon". Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Trish Sotto. "Fa 28 weaving history". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  7. ^ a b "De La Salle University : University Library : Philippine Pottery". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  8. ^ a b "Anthropomorphic Pots : Metal Age : Ayub Cave, Saranggani Province". Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Philippines: Art for All". 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  10. ^ "Kulay-Diwa Gallery of Philippine Contemporary Art - Gallery of Philippine Contemporary Art". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 

External links[edit]