Are you looking for a museum near Manila that you can visit for the weekend? Try QCX Museum, a newly-opened interactive museum, the first of its kind in Quezon City.
If you’re expecting a gallery filled with endless paragraphs and long footnotes, you’re in for a delightful surprise. The QCX Museum likes to tell a story not with words, but with audience interaction.
The Quezon City Experience, also called QCX Museum, has only been opened in 2015. Each gallery is designed to not just to be read but also to familiarize with the city firsthand. You can sit right at Manuel L. Quezon’s office, pull out cyber postcards, hear Pinoy jeepney tunes, play trivia games, and pose for a virtual photobooth.
Here’s more of what the Quezon City Experience has to offer:
You’ll imagine the 360 degree view of the city
The most notable landmark of QC is the Quezon Memorial Shrine, the three-pronged structure with angels perched on top of each side. It’s that majestic structure viewable from the Elliptical Road where highways from Commonwealth, North Ave., Visayas Ave., East Ave. and Quezon Ave. converge.
Drawn on the walls around the first gallery are landmarks seen at vantage point. Spotted from here are Iglesia ni Cristo’s headquarters, the Big Dome, the oblation sculpture of University of the Philippines, the Mabuhay Rotonda and more!
…and find what’s up with the tripod-looking design
The Quezon Memorial Shrine stands 66-meters high, the age when President Manuel L. Quezon died of tuberculosis. No two angels are also the same, as each represents the three main islands of the Philippines. How do you tell them apart?
Luzon wears a Balintawak dress characterized by bell-shaped sleeves. Visayas wears a cross-pendant to symbolize the birthplace of Catholicism. Meanwhile, Mindanao is clad in malong, typically worn in the region and by Muslims.
You’ll theorize about the Babae sa Balete Drive
The Babae sa Balete Drive is a horror story that gained popularity in the 1950s about a white lady lurking at Balete Drive in New Manila. Our tour guide relates us two stories — one more interesting than the other:
The first theory is that it was about a hit-and-run victim who died beneath the tree. This white lady is now held responsible for car accidents by nightfall and ghastly apparitions inside taxi cabs. The second story was that Babae sa Balete Drive was merely a made-up tale by a journalist looking for a headline. It probably was a slow news day. Pfft!
…and sing Mike Manopol’s song, Laki Sa Layaw to a new tune
In Mike Manopol’s song entitled Laki Sa Layaw, “jeproks” is actually a slang term for “projects”! Those refer to the housing programs developed in Quezon City we now know as Projects 1-8.
Laki Sa Layaw narrates an easygoing and vice-ridden lifestyle, as it was common among middle-class hippies living within the housing projects. In this gallery, QCX Museum recreates a stereotypical Filipino home. It’s complete with large beaded rosaries, a Last Supper painting and giant wooden spoon and forks. Sounds familiar?
You’ll discover your barangay’s origin stories at the QCX Museum
Wherever you live in the city, you can find the interesting backstory to your barangay’s name. As for me, an adoptive QC resident, I’ve lived in Barangay Teachers Village, Paligsahan and Krus na Ligas.
Teachers Village, known for Maginhawa Street, was a housing project for Manila public school teachers. Paligsahan (in English, “competition”) was named after a former mayor of QC, Norberto Amoranto, to whom the barangay’s Amoranto Sports Complex was named after. Meanwhile, Krus na Ligas came from a poison ivy tree (ligas) that’s shaped like a cross. It’s actually the oldest barangay in the city!
…and saunter on a typical QC street
Did you know the origin of the word jeepney? According to the QCX Museum, the Jeep was the military vehicle from the World War. The –ney literally stands for “knee”. Since jeeps are heavily packed, you’ll be rubbing knees with the other passengers! This unique public transportation permeates the city.
Another gallery depicts a typical street scene in QC. The hallway is livened up with ice cream carts, sari-sari stores, newsstands, wayside barber shops and karinderia. You’d think you’re in a Home along da Riles set. Don’t forget to check out what’s cooking in the fish ball stand!
You’ll time-travel to the glory days of Philippine Cinema
Because the major local networks that are stationed in QC, it’s not surprising to encounter celebrities inside malls and restaurants. No wonder it’s been dubbed as the “City of the Stars”!
An entertainment gallery is dedicated to just these — old-school weather news reporting, black n’ white films, and showbiz items. Donated by renowned celebrities are Comedy King, Dolphy’s Famas Awards trophies and the Master Showman, Kuya Germs’ suits, are now displayed here. Even vintage movie posters from Sampaguita Pictures hung on the walls. Talk about a throwback.
…and watch MLQ’s dreams come true
How did President Manuel L. Quezon envision the city that is to be named after himself? From a nameless rock to a seat of power, the museum portrayed a Quezon’s “I Had a Dream” reverie.
You can sit on a rock overlooking the imagined terrains of QC. It’s where the young President once sat to rest, as he imagined urban developments in the vast and empty area. The adjacent gallery, Malacanan, is a dramatic representation of how he made things happen. You can now sit at his new throne, a replica of his office in Malacanan, and find what being the first President to stay in the Palace feels like.
It’s #RealTalk with the non-Utopian approach
What I love about the QCX Museum is that doesn’t glorify the Quezon City as if it was paradise. An entire gallery about the real issues being faced by the local government. With art, no less!
Education is depicted as a can of sardines, primarily because of the overpopulation of classrooms in the metro. Healthcare, a burnt seat from the long waiting time to get a doctor’s appointment. Poverty alleviation was a haphazard wooden ladder, as many would fall on the wayside before making it to the top. While environment is shown as a destroyed tree, as humans pollute the air, land and the sea.
For all museum junkies out there, mark your calendars! QCX Museum is giving free passes to the first 138 guests on August 19, QC Day! This is in honor of MLQ’s 138th birthday. Bring your friends here and discover more about what this city has to offer.
QCX Museum Rates:
Open daily from 9AM t o 5PM except on Mondays. The museum also has special discounts for families and larger groups, and prioritize QC residents.
- Students with ID pay PHP 80.
- QC residents pay PHP 100, just bring a valid ID indicating your address.
- Non-Quezon City residents pay PHP 150.
How to go to QCX Museum:
If you plan to commute, there are two underpasses to go to QC Memorial Circle. One is located near Philippine Coconut Authority, and the other at QC Hall. Vehicles can enter in the gates along the Elliptical Road.
This article was later published at the Manila Bulletin‘s Lifestyle Section on August 22