Marikina Riverbanks has been known to be a place for shopping, a park to hang out, a place to meet friends over a meal, or to see that gigantic pair of shoes on display inside Riverbanks Center. Now there's 4 more reasons to visit Riverbanks Center. And if you love museums, then you'll love all of these 4 reasons.
The spirit of Bethlehem is a private collection of over 500 belens/nativity sets/ posters/paintings and sculptures from all over the world. It boasts of numerous pieces from here and abroad, collected thru decades of devotion to the Infant Jesus, by its owner Gigi Abaya-Carlos. Among those on display is her very first belen set bought in 1952 at Catholic Trade School in Tayuman.
Belens/Nativity sets from different countries like the United States, Mexico, Spain, Israel, Africa, Guatemala, China, and from the different regions of the Philippines, will certainly catch your attention because they reflect the culture from where they originated. Some are made from different materials like paper mache, stones, glass, clay, resin and more. About 80% of these Belens are proudly Philippines made.
Right next to The Spirit of Bethlehem is the Joey Velacso Gallery, now home to the spiritually moving art pieces and legacy of the late Joey Velasco. The artist was only 43 years old when he passed away because of a life-threatening kidney disease. Best known for his works “Hapag ng Pag-asa”, or “Table of Hope”, which depicts the Last Supper with Jesus and street children instead of the disciples, Velasco has stirred the hearts of many with his paintings.
Those who have seen his paintings will certainly attest that it is not just a gallery. Though there is an appreciation of art, it is more of a place of reflection. It is a “living museum” where art reflects the spiritual dimension of day to day living and sparks social awareness. According to Ms. Queeny Velasco, wife of the late painter/writer, it is a museum of “faith and patriotism”.
The gallery is being supported by the Joey Velasco Foundation (JVF) whose current priority is to give support to the Hapag Kids and their families of Hapag Village in Amparo, Caloocan City. JVF created livelihood projects for them, gives training to enhance their skills and other activities for the value formation of the community.
Philippine Science Centrum (PSC) is a premier hands-on science center museum in the country recognized by the Department of Education, Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Tourism as an ideal venue for educational field trip destination where visitors are encouraged to touch, twist, play, hear, see the interactive exhibits displayed. PSC is open to pre-school to college students, families and the general public.
PSC showcases over hundred hands-on exhibits in eleven (11) exciting galleries (Lights, Bodyworks, Mathematics, Electricity & Magnetism, Water, Vision and Perception, Infectious Diseases, Earth Science, Space, Kids’ World and Mechanics) and various educational activities, outreach programs and trainings complementing the Department of Education ‘s K to 12 education curriculum and its goal of upgrading the level of science education in the country.
Other services offered: rental of exhibits for school and corporate events, venue for birthday parties, trainings and seminars and science-related events. The 2,500 sq meters facility can comfortably accommodate 3,000 visitors in a day or 500 visitors in any given timeslot.
After seeing all the Belens, one is awed by the collection of tiny but real-looking replicas of things you would find in all the different rooms of a European mansion. It is a collection of shadows boxes filled with Lilliputian pieces of 1:1 scale. The miniatures are part of the collection of the late Aleli Vengua, a passionate artist who handcrafted most of the pieces herself. A lot of the materials used were scrap from items in our day to day living, be it plastic, wood, aluminum, fabric, and glass.
Each room is designed with so much detail and attention that one will never want to look away.
So what are you waiting for? Come and visit the Marikina Riverbanks museums on display today!