Iconic Glass Art: Museo Orlina is a Must-Visit in Tagaytay
As far as we know, there are only two artist-owned museums in the Islands—the BenCab Museum in Baguio and the Museo Orlina in Tagaytay. The latter is owned by renowned sculptor Ramon Orlina, known for his iconic glass art pieces.
The museum formally opened in 2014, and has since become a popular destination in Tagaytay. The space is filled with the creations of the master, and one can see the evolution of his oeuvre from the ‘70s to the new millennium. Apart from the Orlina glass pieces, there are also various exhibits to look forward to year-round.
“I’ve always wanted to build a museum to promote art and tourism,” says Orlina. Luckily, a friend offered him a property with a fantastic view of Taal Lake. The artist then purchased the lot and created his dream museum.
The building is located directly at the end of the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road, just beyond the Tagaytay Econo Inn.
The initial aim of the museum was to present the artistry and skill of the Orlina glass sculptures, but beyond that, the museum also aims to feature the works of young and upcoming artists. “We wanted to give them a venue where they can show and promote their work. We need to support our young artists,” says Orlina.
The sculptor walks the talk since Museo Orlina is also the venue of Tagaytay Art Beat, now on its third iteration. The all-day music and art festival is a big hit, and drew in thousands of guests to the museum last May.
“It was my daughter Ningning’s idea actually. It was initially meant to draw in a more youthful crowd to the museum, and to feature new artwork. It became a huge success. My daughter Anna is an artist as well, and Ningning loves music, so it was a great combination. The festival also makes good use of the amphitheater here.”
Museo Orlina was originally planned to be in Taal, Batangas, the hometown of Orlina. But the artist thought better of it since the Filipiniana-esque design of his ancestral house is dissonant to the moderne aesthetic of his glass sculptures. “Besides, I see things there,” the artist playfully quips, alluding to the possible haunted nature of their house in Taal.
The main bulk of Orlina’s works are on the second and third floors. On the third level, one of Orlina’s most notable sculptures is found, the ARCANUM XIX, Paradise Gained. It is a recreation of his first major sculpture, which was commissioned by Trinidad Enriquez for Silahis Hotel. “It was 1976, and I felt like I was ready to create my first true sculpture,” says Orlina. “Initially, they wanted me to create a painted glass piece for the lobby, but I told Lor Calma that I wanted to do a glass and metal sculpture instead.” The rest, as they say, is history.
The Silahis Hotel lobby became famous for its Orlina glass sculpture, which measures a massive 1.20 x 3.20 meters. It needed a special frame in order for it to be attached to the lobby wall.
There are few large-scale contemporary glass works in the world, and Orlina is one of the firsts, anywhere, to create such a glass sculpture.
The original ARCANUM XIX, Paradise Gained is now on loan to the National Museum, but guests can marvel at the replica in Museo Orlina.
Apart from his own sculptures, museum guests will also find pieces from Orlina’s other illustrious friends: paintings by Arturo Luz, Raul Piedra, Jerry Navarro, and Alcuaz as well as sculptures by Abueva and Jasper Morrison.
This article was originally published on Metro Home & Entertaining Magazine
Photographs by Daniel Soriano