Saturday, December 13, 2014

Some more places to visit at the Riverbanks Center

Aside from the new Science Centrum, the Riverbanks Center also boasts of three more museums. Here is the list of the other three:

The Spirit of Bethlehem
This hanging Christmas tree is part of the Spirit of Bethlehem collection.
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 through decades of devotion to the Infant Jesus, by its owner Gigi Abaya-Carlos.

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 papier mache, stones, glass, clay, resin and more. About 80% of these Belens are proudly Philippine-made.

Museum of Miniatures
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.

The Joey Velasco Gallery
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. The JVF created livelihood projects for them, gives training to enhance their skills and other activities for the value formation of the community.

To check out these places, go to the Riverbanks Center along A. Bonifacio Avenue in Marikina City. For more inquiries, visit Riverbanks' website.

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