Since I learned of BenCab Museum, I’ve always visited it every time I go to Baguio. The first time was in 2009, when our Baguio-based friend, Atty. Rio, brought us to this place. I remember that I felt like I was in some magical place, when I first looked outside from the balcony. Clouds covered part of the creek in between the mountains, as if there was a different world beyond that.
From their website, www.bencabmuseum.org:
“With its vision of bringing arts closer to the people, the museum houses the artist’s collections of his own works, as well as those of acknowledged Filipino masters and rising contemporary artists. The granary gods, lime containers, native implements, weapons and other outstanding examples of indigenous arts and crafts of the Cordilleras are also highlighted – a reminder of the rich material culture and traditions of the northern Philippine highlands that has fascinated BenCab since the 1960s, and part of the reason why he has made Baguio home since the mid-80s.
The Bencab Museum is committed to the promotion of the arts, and the preservation, conservation and protection of the environment, as well as the culture and traditions of the Cordilleras, as an expression of the artist’s gratitude to the country that nurtured and inspired an artistic career that continues to grow, mature and fascinate.”
Our particular visit was my cousin’s and my brother’s first to BenCab Museum. They weren’t particularly psyched to go there initially because it was quite far from where we were staying. But, because I think they acknowledged that I knew what I was getting them into, after how much they loved Peredo’s Lodging House, it wasn’t that difficult to sell the place to them. And, they weren’t disappointed. Yipee!!!
We visited all the open galleries, including the Cordillera Gallery, “the repository of the artist’s collection of tribal artifacts and indigenous crafts of the northern Philippine highlands – bulol rice granary gods, functional carved objects like furniture, spoons, bowls, and other utilitarian implements like baskets, as well as the weapons of the numerous tribes once known for their headhunting rituals.” (Source: BenCab Museum website)
And, the Erotica Gallery, which “contains paintings, drawings, sculpture and other artworks by various artists with an erotic subject or theme.” (Source: BenCab Museum website)
After visiting the galleries, we then proceeded to enjoy their magnificent garden and farm.
The entire place was a work of art. It was no wonder that it was so beautifully created since the design of the entire place was done by one of Philippine’s finest artists, Mr. Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, more famously known as BenCab. And, who we had the pleasure of meeting!
While we were loving experiencing the place, I noticed a tall guy wearing a shirt that says “BenCab Museum”. Then, I told my cousin and my brother, quite excitedly, “I think that’s BenCab. Maybe we can get a picture with him.” And, then, they both walked away. Wow. Haha!
But, because I knew that it was an opportunity that I couldn’t let pass, I went to him and asked, “Hi Sir! Are you, Mr. BenCab?” To which he replied, quite amused, “Yes!” “It’s so great to meet you, Sir! You have a very beautiful place!” My attempt at small talk. Haha! Then, I went on and asked the question, “Do you mind if we get a picture with you?” Yep, I am a fan. I think he’s used to people like me. So, he gamely said yes. :-)
A bit of information about Mr. Ben Cabrera, from their website, www.bencabmuseum.org:
“Benedicto Reyes Cabrera — or BenCab, as he is more popularly known is widely hailed as a master of contemporary Philippine art. He was born in Manila on April 10, 1942. BenCab began carving a niche for himself in Manila’s art circles shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines in 1963.
A painter and printmaker, he has exhibited widely in the Philippines and in Asia, Europe, and the United States. He has won several major art awards in a career spanning four decades. In 1992, he received the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining (Cultural Center of the Philippines Award for the Arts).
In 2006, he was conferred the Order of National Artist for Visual Arts by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacanan Palace.
His works have been the subject of three books, Ben Cabrera: Etchings (1970-1980) by Cid Reyes; Bencab’s Rock Sessions by Eric Caruncho; and BENCAB by Alfred Yuson and Cid Reyes.
The artist lives and works in Baguio City.
Has three children: Elisar (born in 1971), a filmmaker based in London; Mayumi (born in 1973), a model and actress currently living in Los Angeles; and Jasmine (born in 1977), a fashion stylist working in London.”
After the awesome experience of meeting Mr. BenCab and because we hadn’t eaten anything yet, we all decided to end our visit to the place by enjoying the food at their quite pricey Sabel: BenCab Museum Cafe.
The entire experience was super wonderful. We were just after enjoying art at BenCab Museum and what we got was way more than that. So, yes, at that point, I was sure that it’s one of my favorite places in Baguio and that that wouldn’t be my last visit to BenCab Museum. :-)
Address: Km. 6 Asin Road, Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet, Philippines
Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (last entry at 5:30 PM; closed on Mondays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
Entrance fee: Php 100.00 for adults and Php 80.00 for senior citizens and students (please don’t forget to bring your IDs)
Contact number: +63.74.442.7165
How to get there: Ride a jeepney to Asin from the terminal near Baguio market
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- I love Baguio: Fireplace
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Thank you! And, in whatever space you’re in now, I hope that you get something from reading my articles.