Celebrating Philippine National Heritage Month at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Philippine Gallery

Left to right: HoMA Director and CEO Halona Norton Westbrook, tour guide Catherine, Cultural Officer Elaine, HFC writer Carlota H. Ader, Deputy Consul Angelica, Consul Grace, KPHI radio host Allan Alvares and Vice Consul Andrea.

by Carlota Ader

On May 26, the Philippine Consulate in Honolulu staff and select members of the press were treated to a guided tour of the Philippine Gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA) in celebration of the Philippine National Heritage Month in May.

For this year’s PNHM theme of “VICTORY AND HUMANITY: Upholding Filipino Heritage and Identity,” Philippine Consulate Cultural Officer Elaine Justine Aldaya shared that the celebration also coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Victory of Mactan and the 500th anniversary of the Philippine part in the circumnavigation of the world.

“But more importantly, this year’s celebration aims to highlight the need to continually create avenues in which Filipinos, and former Filipinos alike, could connect with their roots – to create among the people a consciousness, respect, and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history,” she added.

HoMA is filled with both new and old iconic collections of art totaling over 55,000 pieces from around the world. The “Art of the Philippines” gallery at the museum, which opened in 2003, showcases the diverse and rich heritage of Filipino art, life and culture.

Aldaya was joined with fellow Consulate staff Vice Consul Andrea Christina Caymo, Deputy Consul Angelica Escalona and Consul Grace Anne Bulos. Alongside Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, TV show Balitang America was also present for the tour.

Tour guides Shawn Eichman, Catherine Whitney and Aaron Padilla discussed in detail the art pieces on display in the gallery such as the several private collections from the Philippines that varied from pots, jewelry, outfits, linen, sculptures, from gold copper and pina cloth.

The biggest highlight of the tour was the gallery dedicated solely to the art of the Philippines. HoMA is one of the few museums in the United States that honors the Filipino culture and art with its own gallery.

“The hosting of a guided tour of the Philippine Gallery at the HoMA is aimed at eliciting the support of the media as partners in creating and propagating a consciousness, respect, and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history,” Aldaya explained.

“The Consulate also hopes that the tour will re-introduce places, such as the Philippine gallery of the HoMA, as opportunities for learning and connecting with our Filipino roots.”

The guided tour also included works from nearby Asian countries such as an 11th century Chinese sculpture of the Guanyin Bodhisattva, the Great Wave of Kamagawa and the most comprehensive collection of works by Horoshige.

Atimonan Beach, Quezon Province by Fernando Amorsolo 1927
Mother of Pearl, necklaces and accessories from Kalinga, Ifugao and Bontoc, Baguio City
Camisa and Panuelo, A Pina cloth embroidery, 1990

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