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Manila to welcome natural history museum
Rosa Ocampo, Manila, April 2, 2013

WORK has begun on the National Museum of Natural History, which will come up in the neo-colonial Department of Tourism building in old Manila at Rizal Park.


Slated for a soft opening in October 2014, the new museum will feature national science collections and be home to permanent research programmes of the National Museum of the Philippines in the area of natural history.


Exhibitions include a gallery dedicated to the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as a 13.7m-long skeleton of a sperm whale recovered from Marinduque.


The National Museum of Natural history is the last part of the National Museum Complex comprising the National Museum of the Filipino People, the National Planetarium and the National Art Gallery, which was opened last year.


Ana Labrador, assistant director of the National Museum of the Philippines, the group that manages and develops the complex, said the natural history museum had been part of plans for the complex since 1998 but was not “aggressively pursued” until now.


Travel trade players such as Sharp Travel Services’ inbound tour supervisor, Marilyn Tungia, welcomed the new attraction, saying it would help boost tourism in the Philippine capital and beyond, since it is also meant to be “a hub and springboard for ecotourism around the country”.


“As Manila has limited attractions, the museum will have a big impact in attracting more tourists. Cruise passengers, especially the Europeans, prefer historical attractions. It will also be good for educational tours and for domestic tourists, especially for today’s youth who don’t know much about our history,” she said.


Earlier this year, it was reported that a project was underway to redevelop and conserve Manila's historical walled city of Intramuros, which would also see the development of museums (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 30, 2013). However, plans are for these museums to focus on religious and American colonial period history.

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