Abode of Iloilo’s Contemporary Arts
ILOILO City is certainly one of the few destinations in the country that has its arts, culture and heritage well preserved whether in the form of chateau-like abodes of some important personalities in its colorful history, or in museums where artworks of the masters are displayed for the new generation to appreciate This metropolis of beautiful contradictions has never failed to surprise me. During my recent visit to Iloilo, I never thought that I would find a gorgeous museum made as the centerpiece of Megaworld’s bustling 72-hectare business park in Mandurriao. “ILOMOCA, which opened early last year, is devoted exclusively on the works of Filipino and foreign modern and contemporary artists,” said our guide as we started out tour to the galleries. A project of the Megaworld Foundation in collaboration with University of the Philippines Visayas, ILOMOCA occupies three stories of the imposing Casa Emperador Building. The musuem has 3,000 square meters of space with 5 exhibit rooms. Sharing the ground floor with the reception area and souvenir shop is The Hulot Exhibit, specially made for local and international guests artists. At the moment, it highlights Spanish artist Gines Serran Pagan with his collection that honors the life and legacy of military leader and first governor of Iloilo General Martin Delgado. His commanding bronze sculpture proudly general stands proudly in a plaza in front of the museum building. The Gallery on the second level, which can be reached via an escalator, is a changing art space with rotating shows. During my visit, it highlighted the artworks of various Ilonggo artists and a few Filipino influential international artists showcasing pop culture. It was also in this gallery where we found a couple of artworks by Tausug artist Abdulmari Imao and another piece by a Butuanon artist. Yep, Mindanao represent! Meanwhile, at the Adoracion Valencia Gallery on the 3rd level, the impressive personal art collection of the museum’s primary donor, Edwin Valencia, are on display. “The gallery was named after his mother who influenced his love for the arts,” our guide said. ILOMOCA has also allocated spaces for performance art, theater productions, workshops, and other events in a section called The Box. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 7 pm. Regular admission is PhP 100, PhP 80 for senior citizens and PHP 50 for students. Aside from batchoy, talaba and pancit Molo, ILOMOCA has added another reason to fly to Iloilo. Cebu Pacific flies direct Davao to Iloilo.