Art of the Philippines

The art of the Philippines refers to the works of art that have developed and accumulated in the Philippines from the beginning of civilization in the country up to the present era. It reflects to its society and non-Filipinos the wide range of cultural influences on the country’s culture and how these influences honed the country’s arts. The art of the Philippines can be divided into two distinct branches, namely, traditional arts, and non-traditional arts. Each branch is further divided into various categories with subcategories.

Branches of art in the Philippines
(A) Traditional arts – bearers of traditional arts can be nominated as Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA), equal to National Artist.
Folk architecture – including, but not limited to, stilt houses, land houses, and aerial houses
Maritime transport – boat houses, boat-making, and maritime traditions
Weaving – including, but not limited to, basket weaving, back-strap loom weaving, headgear weaving, fishnet weaving, and other forms of weaving
Carving – including, but not limited to, woodcarving and folk non-clay sculpture
Folk performing arts – including, but not limited to, dances, plays, and dramas
Folk (oral) literature – including, but not limited to, epics, songs, and myths
Folk graphic and plastic arts – including, but not limited to, calligraphy, tattooing, folk writing, folk drawing, and folk painting
Ornament, textile, or fiber art – hat-making, mask-making, accessory-making, ornamental metal crafts
Pottery – including, but not limited to, ceramic making, clay pot-making, and folk clay sculpture
Other artistic expressions of traditional culture – including, but not limited to, non-ornamental metal crafts, martial arts, supernatural healing arts, medicinal arts, and constellation traditions
(B) Non-traditional arts – bearers of non-traditional arts can be nominated as National Artist, equal to Gawad Manlilika ng Bayan.
Dance – including, but not limited to, dance choreography, dance direction, and dance performance
Music – including, but not limited to, musical composition, musical direction, and musical performance
Theater – including, but not limited to, theatrical direction, theatrical performance, theatrical production design, theatrical light and sound design, and theatrical playwriting
Visual arts – including, but not limited to painting, non-folk sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation art, mixed media works, illustration, graphic arts, performance art, and imaging
Literature – including, but not limited to, poetry, fiction, essay, and literary/art criticism
Film and broadcast arts – including, but not limited to, film and broadcast direction, film and broadcast writing, film and broadcast production design, film and broadcast cinematography, film and broadcast editing, film and broadcast animation, film and broadcast performance, and film and broadcast new media
Architecture and allied arts – including, but not limited to, non-folk architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and urban design
Design – including, but not limited to, industrial design, and fashion design

Functional art

Hindu-Buddhist iconography
Many of historians believed that the various cultures of the Philippine archipelago first encountered Hindu and/or Buddhist beliefs as early as the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE, but some of recent scholarship suggests that these cultural influences mostly filtered in during the 10th through the early 14th centuries. Present-day scholarship believes these religious and cultural influences mostly came through trade with Southeast Asian thassalocratic empires such as the Srivijaya and Majapahit, which had in turn had trade relationships with India.

Scholars such as Milton Osborne emphasise that despite these beliefs being originally from India, they reached the Philippines through Southeast Asian cultures with Austronesian roots.

The artifacts reflect the iconography of the Vajrayana Buddhism and its influences on the Philippines’ early states.

The copper Buddha’s of Ma-i (metal relics) – “The gentleness of Tagalog customs that the first Spaniards found, very different from those of other provinces of the same race and in Luzon itself, can very well be the effect of Buddhism “There are copper Buddha’s” images. the people in Ma-i sound like newcomers [to this port] since they don’t know where those metal statues in the jungle come from.”

Archaeological findings show that before the settlement of the Spaniards in the country, the Tagalogs, especially the Batangueños, had attained a semblance of high civilization. This was shown by certain jewelry, made from a chambered nautilus’ shell, where tiny holes were created by a drill-like tool. The ancient Batangueños were influenced by India as shown in the origin of most languages from Sanskrit and certain ancient potteries. A Buddhist image was reproduced in mould on a clay medallion in bas-relief from the municipality of Calatagan. According to experts, the image in the pot strongly resembles the iconographic portrayal of Buddha in Siam, India, and Nepal. The pot shows Buddha Amithaba in the tribhanga pose inside an oval nimbus. Scholars also noted that there is a strong Mahayanic orientation in the image, since the Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara was also depicted.

The archipelagos of Southeast Asia were under the influence of Hindu Tamil, Gujarati and Indonesian traders through the ports of Malay-Indonesian islands. Indian religions, possibly an amalgamated version of Hindu-Buddhist arrived in the Philippine archipelago in the 1st millennium, through the Indonesian kingdom of Srivijaya, followed by Majapahit. Archaeological evidence suggesting exchange of ancient spiritual ideas from India to the Philippines includes the 1.79 kilogram, 21 carat gold Hindu goddess Agusan (sometimes referred to as Golden Tara), found in Mindanao in 1917 after a storm and flood exposed its location. The statue now sits in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and is dated from the period 13th to early 14th centuries.

A study of this image was made by Dr. F. D. K. Bosch, of Batavia, in 1920, who came to the conclusion that it was made by local workmen in Mindanao, copying a Ngandjuk image of the early Majapahit period – except that the local artist overlooked the distinguishing attributes held in the hand. It probably had some connection with the Javanese miners who are known to have been mining gold in the Agusan-Surigao area in the middle or late 14th century. The image is apparently that of a Sivaite goddess, and fits in well with the name “Butuan” (signifying “phallus”).

— H. Otley Beyer, 1947
Juan Francisco suggests that the golden Agusan statue may be a representation of goddess Sakti of the Siva-Buddha (Bhairava) tradition found in Java, in which the religious aspect of Shiva is integrated with those found in Buddhism of Java and Sumatra. The Rajahnate of Butuan, in present-day Agusan del Norte and Butuan City, used Hinduism as its main religion along with indigenous Lumad nature-worships. A Hindu Tamil King of the Rajahnate of Cebu was also recorded. Another gold artifact, from the Tabon Caves in the island of Palawan, is an image of Garuda, the bird who is the mount of Vishnu. The discovery of sophisticated Hindu imagery and gold artifacts in Tabon Caves has been linked to those found from Oc Eo, in the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam. These archaeological evidence suggests an active trade of many specialized goods and gold between India and Philippines and coastal regions of Vietnam and China. Golden jewelry found so far include rings, some surmounted by images of Nandi – the sacred bull, linked chains, inscribed gold sheets, gold plaques decorated with repoussé images of Hindu deities.

In 1989, a laborer working in a sand mine at the mouth of Lumbang River near Laguna de Bay found a copper plate in Barangay Wawa, Lumban. This discovery, is now known as the Laguna Copperplate Inscription by scholars. It is the earliest known written document found in the Philippines, dated to be from the late 9th century CE, and was deciphered in 1992 by Dutch anthropologist Antoon Postma. The copperplate inscription suggests economic and cultural links between the Tagalog people of Philippines with the Javanese Medang Kingdom, the Srivijaya empire, and the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms of India. Hinduism in the country declined when Islam was introduced by traders from Arabia which was then followed by Christianity from Spain. This is an active area of research as little is known about the scale and depth of Philippine history from the 1st millennium and before.


The Lingling-o (sometimes also spelled “ling-ling-o”) are an “omega shaped” type of pendant or amulet that has been associated with various indigenous cultures of the Philippines since the early metal age. The earliest surviving examples of lingling-o, dating back to the metal age, were made out of Nephrite jade, but many later examples were made of shell, gold, copper, and wood; the kind of material suggests differences in the social standing of its wearer. The term was first popularized by H. Otley Beyer, who adapted it from the Southern Ifugao name for such ornaments. The term has since also come to be used as a blanket term for various metal age ornaments found in the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Batanes workshop site
Earlier historians have posited that the earliest lingling-o artifacts found in the Philippines were created outside of the archipelago, but an expedition to the northern Philippine province of Batanes, led by archeologist Peter Bellwood in the early 2000s, led to the discovery of a lingling-o workshop, complete with construction tools and fragments. The find provides evidence of indigenous Philippine manufacture of lingling-o as early as 2,500 years ago.

The vernacular architecture of the Philippines is diverse and developed according to the traditions, history and influences exposure experienced by each culture or society. They ranged from simple Bahay Kubo which is the basis of all Filipino cultural architecture which gave way to houses like Bahay na bato, up to the palaces such as Torogans, fortifications like the Classical Kota’s and Idjangs, Colonial Forts and mega structure such as Banaue Rice Terraces which is built from carving of the mountain walls, and Mosques in Mindanao. Architectures like Baroque was adopted to the Filipino culture, making their own interpretation through the Filipino culture climate and environment. One of the product of Filipino Baroque is the Earthquake Baroque, which is especially designed to adapt to the earthquake prone environment of the Philippines.

Philippine weaving involves many threads being measured, cut, and mounted on a wooden platform. The threads are dyed and weaved on a loom.

Before Spanish colonization, native Filipinos weaved using fibers from abaca, pineapple, cotton, and bark cloth. Textiles, clothes, rugs, and hats were weaved. Baskets were also weaved and used as vessels of transport and storage, and for hunting. These baskets were used to transport grain, store food, and catching fish. They also used weaving to make just about all of the clothing that was worn. They weaved rugs that they used for quilts and bedding. The quality of the quilt/bedding was based on how soft, how tight together, and the clean pattern. The patterns were usually thick stripes with different colors and with a nice pattern.

However, during Spanish colonization, Filipinos used fabric called nipis to weave white clothing. These were weaved with decorative, flower designs.

Visual arts

Prehistoric cave drawings were discovered in numbers of sites in Philippines. The notable ones are those in Angono Petroglyphs is located in a shallow rock shelter. It measures 63 meters wide, 8 meters deep and a maximum height of 5 meters. It has been created due to faulting and formed in volcanic soil during the Quaternary period. There are 127 drawings in the form of animate and static figures of circular or dome-like head on top of a ‘V’ shaped torso distributed on a horizontal plane on the rock wall area measuring 25 meters by 3 meters. Only 51 of the total 127 drawings are distinct. Due to the complexity and plurality of the drawings, it is suggested that the drawings on the rock were not only created by a single individual. the figures engraved on the rockwall probably carved during the late Neolithic, or before 2000 BC. These inscriptions clearly show stylized human figures, frogs and lizards, along with other designs that may have depicted other interesting figures but erosion may have caused it to become indistinguishable. The engravings are mostly symbolic representations and are associated with healing and sympathetic magic.

Artistic paintings were introduced to Filipinos in the 16th century when the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. During this time, the Spaniards used paintings as visual aid for their religious propaganda to spread Catholicism throughout the Philippines. These paintings, appearing mostly on church walls, featured religious figures appearing in Catholic teachings. In short, due to the Spanish occupation of the Philippines and the Church’s supervision of Filipino art, the purpose of most paintings in the Philippines from the 16th to the 19th century were to aid the Catholic Church.

In the early 19th century, wealthier, educated Filipinos introduced more secular Filipino art, causing art in the Philippines to deviate from religious motifs. The use of watercolour paintings increased and the subject matter of paintings began to include landscapes, Filipino inhabitants, Philippine fashion, and government officials. Portrait paintings featured the painters themselves, Filipino jewelry, and native furniture. The subject of landscape paintings featured artists’ names painted ornately as well as day-to-day scenes of average Filipinos partaking in their daily tasks. These paintings were done on canvas, wood, and a variety of metals.

During World War II, some painters focused their artwork on the effects of war, including battle scenes, destruction, and the suffering of the Filipino people.

The Philippines has numerous indigenous scripts collectively called as suyat. Various ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century up to the independence era in the 21st century have used the scripts with various mediums. By the end of colonialism, only four of the suyat scripts survived and continue to be used by certain communities in everyday life. These four scripts are hanunó’o/hanunoo of the Hanuno’o Mangyan people, buhid/buid of the Buhid Mangyan people, apurahuano/tagbanwa of the Tagbanwa people, and palaw’an/pala’wan of the Palaw’an people. All four scripts were inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme, under the name Philippine Paleographs (Hanunoo, Buid, Tagbanua and Pala’wan), in 1999.

Due to dissent from colonialism, many artists and cultural experts have revived the usage of suyat scripts that went extinct due to Spanish persecution. These scripts being revived include the kulitan script of the Kapampangan people, the badlit script of various Visayan ethnic groups, the iniskaya script of the Eskaya people, the baybayin script of the Tagalog people, and the kur-itan script of the Ilocano people, among many others. Calligraphy using the Western alphabet and the Arabic alphabet are also prevalent in the Philippines due to its colonial past, but the Western alphabet and the Arabic alphabet are not considered as suyat, and therefore Western alphabet and Arabic calligraphy are not considered as suyat calligraphy.

Sealing and Papermaking
Like China, Japan and Korea, the Philippines also had a sealing culture prior to Spanish colonization. However, when the Spaniards succeeded in colonizing the islands, they abolished the practice and burned all documents they captured from the natives while forcefully establishing a Roman Catholic-based rule. Records on Philippine seals were forgotten until in the 1970s when actual ancient seals made of ivory were found in an archaeological site in Butuan. The seal, now known as the Butuan Ivory Seal, has been declared as a National Cultural Treasure. The seal is inscribed with the word “Butwan” through a native Suyat script. The discovery of the seal proved the theory that pre-colonial Filipinos, or at least in coastal areas, used seals on paper. Before the discovery of the seal, it was only thought that ancient Filipinos used bamboo, metal, bark, and palm leaves (lontar) for writing. The presence of paper documents in the classical era of the Philippines is also backed by a research of Dr. H. Otley Beyer, father of Philippine anthropology, stating that Spanish friars ‘boasted’ about burning ancient Philippine documents with suyat inscriptions, one of the reasons why ancient documents from the Philippines are almost non-existent in present time. The ivory seal is now housed at the National Museum of the Philippines. Nowadays, younger generations are trying to revive the usage of seals, notably in signing pieces of art such as drawings, paintings, calligraphy, and literary works. Additionally, traditional handmade paper-making practices using native fibers, such as abaca, cogon, and pina have been revived by numerous organizations throughout the country.

The religion of the Ifugao people is based on ancestor worship and the veneration of spirits and gods of nature. Rice deities are particularly revered. These bululs are activated through ritual, the bulol guardian figures are believed to contain spirits capable of ensuring abundant harvests, increasing rice yields and protecting against catastrophe. Shaped like a rice mortar, the distinctive base of the sculpture is a visual link to its spiritual purpose. The pairing of male with female is a fundamental feature of Cordilleras ancestral art. These Bulul guardians represent the harmonious union of opposing elements, the protection of communities from malevolent spirits and the promise of good fortune. Carved from auspicious red sandalwood, these sculptures are differentiated by their distinct genitalia, alluding to fertility and abundance. The figures have a rich patina of sacrificial blood and smoke resulting from their use in religious practice and life-cycle ceremonies. A Bulul is a carved wooden figure used to guard the rice crop by the Ifugao (and their sub-tribe Kalanguya) peoples of northern Luzon. The sculptures are highly stylized representations of ancestors, and are thought to gain power from the presence of the ancestral spirit. The Ifugao are particularly noted for their skill in carving bululs. Bul-uls are used in ceremonies associated with rice production and with healing. Creation of a bul-ul involves alwen bul-ul ritual by a priest to ensure that the statue gains power. The bul-ul is treated with care and respect to avoid the risk of the spirits of the ancestors bringing sickness. The figures are placed together with the rice in the house or granaries to bring a plentiful harvest. Bul-ul is important to Ifugaos because they believe they can protect and multiply the rice and help make the harvest abundant.

The Sarimanok is a legendary bird of the Maranao people who originate from Mindanao. It comes from the words sari and manok. Sari means cloth or garment, which is generally of assorted colors. Manok means “chicken”. The Sarimanok is the legendary bird that has become an ubiquitous symbol of Maranao art. It is depicted as a fowl with colorful wings and feathered tail, holding a fish on its beak or talons. The head is profusely decorated with scroll, leaf, and spiral motifs. It is said to be a symbol of good fortune. And another example of Maranao sculpture was in the Islamic tradition; the Buraq is often described as “a white animal, half-mule, half-donkey, with wings”. The Prophet Muhammad rode the Buraq to fly through the heavens in a single night, a journey known as Mir’aj. Only in certain regions, such as Mindanao, is the animal depicted with a human face. Although the Buraq is not uncommon in Islamic art, sculptures of the creature seem to be unique to the Philippines. It is possible that the flourishing carving industry of religious images for Catholic Filipinos may have encouraged the making of such sculptures.

Performing arts

There are numerous types of Filipino dances, varying in influence, from the country’s regions. Types of Filipino dance include Cordillera, Muslim, tribal, rural, and Spanish style dances. Jerrah is the most well known kind of dance in the cordillera region. Within the Cordilleras’ dances, there are the Banga, Bendayan, Lumagen/Tachok, Manmanok, Ragragsakan, Salisid, Talip, Tarektek, and Uyaoy/Uyauy. The Banga dance shows the grace and strength of women in the Kalinga tribe. Women performing the Banga balance heavy pots on their heads while dancing to beat of wind chimes. This mimics Kalinga women collecting and transporting water. Another dance, called Lumagen or Tachok, is performed to celebrate happy occasions. When Lumagen is performed, it is meant to symbolize flying birds and is musically paired to the beat of gongs. Another cordillera dance, Salisid, is the dance to show courtship. In the Salisid dance, a male and a female performer represent a rooster attempting to attract a hen.

Tribal dances include Malakas at Maganda, Kadal Blelah, Kadal Tahaw, Binaylan, Bagobo Rice Cycle, and Dugso. Malakas at Maganda is a national folklore dance. It tells the story of the origin of the Filipino people on the islands. Another dance, called the Binaylan dance, tells the story of a hen, the hen’s baby, and a hawk. In this dance, the hawk is said to control a tribe’s well-being, and is killed by hunters after attempting to harm the hen’s baby.

Two examples of traditional Filipino dances are Tinikling and Binasuan and many more. Filipinos have unique folk dances like tinikling where assistants take two long bamboo sticks rapidly and in rhythm, clap sticks for dancers to artistically and daringly try to avoid getting their feet caught between them. Also in the southern part of the Philippines, there is another dance called Singkil using long bamboo poles found in tinikling; however, it is primarily a dance showing off lavish Muslim royalty. In this dance, there are four bamboo sticks arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern in which the dancers exploit every position of these clashing sticks. Dancers can be found trying to avoid all 4 bamboo sticks all together in the middle. They can also try to dance an entire rotation around the middle avoiding all sticks. Usually these stick dances performed in teamwork fashion not solo. The Singkil dance is identifiable with the use of umbrellas and silk clothing.

Many towns have their own versions of the Senakulo, using traditional scripts that are decades or centuries old. A version is held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, sponsored by the Department of Tourism. Popular film and televisions stars often join the cast of the play. In Taguig, they popularize the modern version of Jesus Christ Superstar reshown at the Fort Santiago Amphitheater for the benefit of Manileños. In Mexico, Pampanga and Dinalupihan, Bataan, the actor portraying Jesus has been actually nailed to the cross to simulate Christ’s passion as best and as painfully possible. Similar shows are also held in Makati and in the Santa Ana district of Manila.

Martial arts
The Arnis, also known as Kali or Eskrima, is the national sport and martial art of the Philippines. The three are roughly interchangeable umbrella terms for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines (“Filipino Martial Arts”, or FMA) that emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, bladed weapons and various improvised weapons as well as “open hand” or techniques without weapons. It is also known as Estoque (Spanish for rapier), Estocada (Spanish for thrust or stab) and Garrote (Spanish for club). In Luzon they may go by the name of Arnis de Mano.The indigenous martial art that the Spanish encountered in 1610 was not yet called “Eskrima” at that time. During those times, this martial art was known as Paccalicali-t to the Ibanags, Didya (later changed to Kabaroan) to the Ilocanos, Sitbatan or Kalirongan to Pangasinenses, Sinawali (“to weave”) to the Kapampangans, Calis or Pananandata (use of weapons) to the Tagalogs, Pagaradman to the Ilonggos and Kaliradman to the Cebuanos. Kuntaw and Silat are separate martial arts that are also practiced in the Philippine archipelago.

Traditional pot-making in certain areas of the Philippines would use clay found near the Sibalom River. Molding the clay required the use of wooden paddles, and the clay had to be kept away from sunlight.

Native Filipinos created pottery since 3500 years ago. They used these ceramic jars to hold the deceased.

Other pottery used to hold remains of the deceased were decorated with anthropomorphic designs. These anthropomorphic earthenware pots date back to 5 BC. – 225 A.D and had pot covers shaped like human heads.

Filipino pottery had other uses as well. During the Neolithic period of the Philippines, pottery was made for water vessels, plates, cups, and for many other uses.

Culinary art
Filipino cuisine is composed of the cuisines of 144 distinct ethnolinguistic groups found within the Philippine archipelago. The majority of mainstream Filipino dishes that compose Filipino cuisine are from the cuisines of the Bikol, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Maranao, Pangasinan, Cebuano (or Bisaya), Tagalog, and Waray ethnolinguistic tribes. The style of cooking and the food associated with it have evolved over many centuries from their Austronesian origins to a mixed cuisine of Indian, Chinese, Spanish, and American influences, in line with the major waves of influence that had enriched the cultures of the archipelago, as well as others adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate. Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the complex paellas and cocidos created for fiestas of Spanish origin. Popular dishes include: lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), puchero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken or pork simmered in tomato sauce with vegetables), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), pinakbet (kabocha squash, eggplant, beans, okra, and tomato stew flavored with shrimp paste), crispy pata (deep-fried pig’s leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).

Other art forms
The term indigenous art is sometimes used to refer to the utility of indigenous materials as a medium for the creation of different kinds of artworks, as with the paintings by Elito Circa, a famous folk artist of Pantabangan and a pioneer in using indigenous materials as well as natural raw materials including human blood. Many Filipino painters and foreign artists were influenced by Filipino indigenous art and started using these indigenous materials, which include extracts from onion, tomato, tuba (palm wine), coffee, rust, molasses and other materials available anywhere to be used as paint.
Jewelry design. In 2015/16, the Asia Society in New York presented an exhibit called Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms. The exhibition presents spectacular works of gold primarily discovered over the past forty years on the Philippine islands of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. The regalia, jewelry, ceremonial weapons, and ritualistic and funerary objects attest to the recently uncovered evidence of prosperity and achievement of Philippine polities that flourished between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, long before the Spanish discovered and colonized the region. Although the forms and styles of the majority of these works developed locally, some indicate that Philippine craftsmen had been exposed to objects from beyond their borders through the robust cultural connections and maritime trade in Southeast Asia during what was an early Asian economic boom.
Kut-kut is a painting technique combining ancient Oriental and European art process. Considered lost art and highly collectible art form. Very few known art pieces existed today. The technique was practiced by the indigenous people of Samar Island between early 1600 and late 1800 AD. Kut-kut is an exotic Philippine art form based on early century techniques—sgraffito, encaustic and layering. The merging of these ancient styles produces a unique artwork characterized by delicate swirling interwoven lines, multi-layered texture and an illusion of three-dimensional space.

The tanaga is a type of Filipino poetry.
The batek or batok is a form of indigenous tattooing of the Kalinga people in the Cordilleras. The most prominent tattoo artist in the country is Whang-od, who has been known as the last mambabatok until has started mentoring her niece on the art so that the tattoo artistry of the Kalinga will continue. The art form has been critically acclaimed internationally in the United States, Germany, France, Canada, and many others.
Filipino art housed outside the Philippines
Various artifacts and art pieces have either been looted or directly bought from the Philippines by various foreign entities since the Spanish colonial period. The majority of stolen or bought Philippine artifacts and art pieces were shipped into foreign hands during the American period, World War II, and post-war era, where the economy was crippled. During the post-war era, Philippine artifacts and art pieces became easy pickings for foreigners as Filipinos were forced to sell the items in extremely low prices because of the immediate need for money during an era marred with high inflation and high cost of living. These pieces include the Golden Tara (in United States possession), the Balangiga bells (in United States possession), the two remaining copies of Doctrina Christiana (in United States and Spain’s possession), the Boxer Codex (in United States possession), and many others. Most pieces are currently under the possession of the United States and Spain. Various attempts to return stolen or looted Philippine artifacts and art pieces have been made by the Philippine government since the 1990s. The most recent is the national call to return the Balangiga bells in 2017 and the Golden Tara in 2018.

Notable Filipino artists
Past notable Filipino artists include Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, Augusto Arbizo, Félix Hidalgo, Ang Kiukok, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Lito Mayo, Mauro Malang Santos, Santiago Bosé, Rey Paz Contreras and David Cortés Medalla. Present-day Filipino artists featuring Filipino culture include Benedicto Cabrera, Elito Circa, Fred DeAsis, Daniel Coquilla, Francisco Viri, and Nunelucio Alvarado. The art or paintings by Zóbel, Amorsolo and many more could be seen in most of the art museums in the Philippines. Zobel’s paintings can be seen in the Ayala Museum.

Source from Wikipedia