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ruthdelacruz | Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Ruth dela Cruz is a travel and lifestyle blogger in the Philippines. She loves writing about her travels. Drop her a note at admin@ruthdelacruz.com. The internet knew her as @ruthilicious.

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April 18, 2014

Museo Orlina: More Than a Glass Museum

If someone asks me to go out on a museum date, I might say yes. I have come to appreciate museums when we started traveling. When I was younger, I found it such a bore to visit museums only to look at artifacts protected inside a glass case.

Recently, we went to an interesting museum where pieces are not protected by glasses, since the art pieces are made of glass itself. 

A 1.5 hour drive from Manila to Tagaytay was short and smooth. Smiling and grateful at our arrival, we were welcomed by Sir Ramon Orlina in his modern museum. The Orlina Museum which is a two-unit, five-level townhouse in Tagaytay with a great (different) view of the Taal Volcano and the lake. Sir Ramon Orlina is the pioneer and foremost practitioner of glass sculpture in the country. Glass, which is mostly used as drinking material, window panel and car windshields is transformed in an incredibly beautiful body of works. Sir Ramon who remained humble, fun and gregarious that afternoon is a well-known and internationally-honored artist. 

Before we started with the tour, we were first treated with an all-Filipino lunch. Food was great and superb (I love the Lechon Roll!) but what really caught me was the water goblet. Tell me how drinking water can be this elegant. I feel like Elsa.

The Orlina Museum which initially opened December last year is not your usual museum. It houses not just Sir Ramon's own glass collection, but also pieces from different artists which he and his wife have collected. The museum was built in his hometown, Taal, to promote tourism and art - as he felt that most of the people go South only for recreation and food. As we entered the first level of the Orlina Museum, it was like stepping inside his dream. 

Click Read More to see more of Orlina Museum..


The Museum Levels in Orlina Museum are named after Orlina's children. Level 1 Naesa is where the reception area is, and the Reflections Gallery is set up. It is a space devoted to changing exhibitions reflecting the vitality of contemporary Philippine Art. 


There is a staircase the leads to the LOWER LEVEL

An interesting sculpture that is called Pilita II which is a leaning body of a woman. We teased him that he should invite Pilita Corales to the museum for a photo opp. 

The museum reflects his work as a licensed architect. The LOWER LEVEL leads to a sculpture garden that displays art work in geometric abstracts. In front is the amphitheater stage for theatrical, dance and musical presentations. 

At the back of the theater stage is a staircase that leads to the car port which displays automotive vehicles. Sir Ramon Orlina is also a car enthusiast and he found a good canvass through the vintage cars. 

A Volvo called "Sabel sa Bettle", as handpainted by National Artist, Bencab.

1988 Volvo 780 "Homage to Mondrian"
One of Sir Ramon's favorite artists is Piet Mondrian who is famous
for his paintings of primary colors in black grid

We spent a little more time in the car port as everyone took a selfie with these cars on the background. We then went up the Level 2 Ningning which contains two galleries.


The first gallery showcases the earlier works of Orlina. I was able to talk to his wife, and I found out that some of the pieces that were earlier sold were re-acquired and bought back for the gallery. They had to pay for a higher price. His wife, who is a Malaysian National is as fun and accommodating as Sir Ramon. She shared how she tried to convince him to keep some of his works as a souvenir for each collection. Most of the pieces are very memorable and have a story to tell. 

1974 Painting on Glass
One of his first creations and paintings

The second gallery showcases his most recent works made of crystals and glass in different colors.  

He calls this chair a Love Seat and he showed us 
how comfortable and romantic this black and white chair is. 

This is my favorite piece from the collection. The "Virgin Maria"
which provides a direct eye-level gaze that seems to follow 

Different view

Another angle

Another one..

It is as if she's following me.. 

I have to say goodbye to that Virgin Maria sculpture and we went upstairs to the Level 3 Anna which serves as Orlina's office and gallery of his accomplishments. 


Sir Ramon invited us over to his office which can be mistaken as a bachelor's room. A collection of miniature cars are on display and the shelf can be turned around and transformed into a bed. . From his room, you can see the beautiful view of the Taal Lake. I could sense that everyone was envious with the kind of life that he has. 

We knew that getting to this state was not easy. On the same floor, the gallery showcases the scale models and photographs of his works here and abroad. There's bronze busts of late President Cory Aquino and Actor Piolo Pascual, PBA trophy, and scale models of stainless steel artworks displayed in different parts of the globe. 

What's endearing about a visit to the Orlina Museum is the collection of paintings and modernist chairs (Napoleon Abueva’s stainless-steel couch, Orlina’s love seat, Jasper Morrison’s Thinking Man’s Chair) that are also on display in the museum. These are personal collections of the couple which shows their support to other art warriors. For someone like me who doesn't know much about art, Museo Orlina is the perfect venue to start your journey to discovery of talented artists. 

An interactive TV where one can watch the documentary of Sabel sa Bettle artwork by Bencab. There is also a memory game that depicts Orlina's art work. 

Like any other artists, Sir Ramon found beauty in a woman's shape and body


The top level is named after the unico hijo, Michael, who is the only child to carry the Orlina last name. The terrace is the perfect place to relax as it offers a 180 degree view of Tagaytay and Taal Volcano. There is also a Greenbean Cafe on the deck, which serves organic coffee and brews.

Our visit to the Museo Orlina gave me a different light and view at contemporary art. The glass sculptures reflect a man's journey to the unknown and discovery that place him international appraisals for the art.

Museo Orlina is one of the places to visit in Tagaytay. Feel like Elsa, and be surrounded with glass sculptures that glisten like frozen water. By visiting, you are also supporting the Museo Orlina Foundation, Inc. 

Museo Orlina
Hollywood Subd, Brgy Tolentino East
Hollywood Subd, Tagaytay City

Opens Tuesdays to Sunday 10 AM to 6PM
General Admission: Php 100
Students and Senior Citizens: Php 80

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