National Artist Benedicto Cabrera, popularly known as BenCab made another milestone landmark when he built a Museum in his beloved town of Baguio. The BenCab Museum recently opened early this year and I had the chance to see the place. Never did I expect that a museum along Asin road in Baguio could be one of the best museums in the country I’ve been. It’s simply an art and nature fusion haven.
We barely made it in time before the BenCab Museum closed but the gracious staff of the allowed us to linger awhile. This structure which sits atop the rice terraces of a mountain sports modern architecture. It’s large and spacious interiors have seven galleries or art, installations and permanent exhibits.
It was really surprising to find 3 descending floors all of which are holding the galleries of Contemporary, Cordillera, Erotica and BenCab’s Permanent Exhibit. All of the walls facing north are made out of glass which gives an unobstructed view of the surrounding mountains.
And get this, Mr BenCab himself bought the whole lot of mountain land opposite the museum. This is to make sure no other structure aside from what he would make could be seen on what he now considers as the museum’s garden. From the upper floors there are verandas to enjoy the whole vista.
Imagine rice terraces and Ifugao houses with ducks lingering the area. Cutting between the museum grounds and the mountain opposite is a creek. It was late afternoon when we got there and we chanced upon seeing the low sun setting among the clouds at the west. I never thought that I could see the South China Sea here behind the mountain gradients. I could see why BenCab could have chosen this spot. It was just perfect.
Too bad Café Isabel on the ground floor which has access to the Gardens was closed at time. I bet it would be great to just sit by there with a cup of coffee or hot choco while enjoying the breeze and the views. But the Museum closes at 5pm. I hope they could somehow extend the time for people to enjoy the sunset.
If I go back to Baguio, I’ll make sure I visit the place again. I could a lot more than half a day here just going through the gallery, having a snack at the café and also lingering along the garden. It’s great to see people such as BenCab who uses his money well like this. Building something that could enrich the culture of people as well as appreciate nature.
Km 6, Asin Road, Baguio
(15min drive from Baguio City proper, Jeeps from Market going through Asin Road also passes by the area)
Tuesdays to Sundays 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
(last entry at 4:30 pm). Closed on Mondays.
Students and senior citizens with valid ID: P80
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.