GBR Museum showcases country’s rich and vibrant national heritage

Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario

The GBR Museum is a relatively small, privately funded establishment that showcases Philippine archival images, aviation model units, and Chinese ceramics, as well as historical print materials such as rare books, maps, and war documents.

Located at the Gateway Business Park in General Trias, Cavite, the GBR Museum does not make as much noise as similar establishments nor is it as popular. But the museum has managed to turn this quiet and simple demeanor to one of its strengths—as many people almost always gawk in surprise (never having heard of the place before) when they do stumble upon the place. More so when they get to see the museum’s expansive collection.

The GBR Museum’s primary goal isn’t to make money, but instead to help preserve and make accessible the country’s rich and vibrant national heritage for this and future generations. To this end, the GBR Museum is doing a fantastic job.

Photo from Gateway Business Park website

The museum is run by the Geronimo Berenguer de los Reyes Jr. Foundation, named after the Filipino entrepreneur, philanthropist, and art collector. It opened its doors to the public in September 1996.

The items at the museum spreads over five galleries. It owns a book collection and some 2,000 woodcut prints including a 15th-century illustration of Jerusalem. It also houses an antique map collection housed in a pavilion, which includes maps drawn by historic cartographers. The first map of the Philippines, made by Petrus Kaerius in 1598, is displayed alongside the most famous Philippine map, that of Pedro Murillo Velardo.

One of the more interesting items displayed in the museum is a detailed account of the Cavite Mutiny of 1872 at the museum entrance. Outside the museum, 154 names are engraved on stone, a homage to the bravery and heroism of Filipinos. One of these patriots is Crisanto Mendoza de los Reyes, the great grandfather of GBR himself.

Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario

The aviation section of the museum—the World Aviation History Exhibit, “traces the evolution of air and space transportation from the Wright Brothers’ ‘Flying Machine’ to commercial and combat aircrafts, to NASA’s Lunar Roving Vehicle.” The aircraft models and paintings would make any aviation lover’s heart flutter with joy.

Just a half hour away from Tagaytay, a visit to the GBR Museum is a worthwhile endeavor—a way to celebrate the country’s glorious past of different places and times. A true gateway to many little known facts of this country’s history.

Kenneth M. del Rosario
Kenneth has been writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer for more than 17 years, covering travel, food, motoring, technology, real estate, and business, among others.