10 Fast Facts About the Manila Biennale: A Quick Guide


[Looking for something unique to do in Manila? The Art Report recommends a visit to Intramuros, the center of the Manila Biennale, for art installations, exhibitions, pop-up restaurants, shops, tours, and sightseeing. Read the contribution below by Mae Young, a volunteer docent for the Manila Biennale, for quick guide and some cool facts.–Ed.]

10 alphanumeric characters form the event hashtag, #mnlbnl2018.  Help drive online conversation on the Manila Biennale by including the hashtag on your social media post.

Carlos Celdran (foreground) with some of the members of the Manila Biennale 2018:OPEN CITY core during a December 2017 huddle. Photo by Rache Go, courtesy of the Manila Biennale.

9 months is how long it took the Manila Biennale from inception to implementation. The idea was hatched after a casual discussion about other famous international biennales one night between friends–one idea birthed another, eventually leading to buying the domain manilabiennale.ph on the spot and creating the FB, IG and gmail accounts thereafter.

8 institutional sponsors made the event possible: Goethe Institut Manila, Instituto Cervantes Manila, Japan Foundation, Embassy of Mexico, Embassy of Spain, Embassy of the United States of America, Ambassade de France Aux Philippines, Society of Filipino Archivists for Film.

Lady Liberty by Kawayan de Guia, one of the installations in the Manila Biennale. Photo by Rache Go, courtesy of Manila Biennale.

7 exhibit areas are set-up inside Fort Santiago, make sure you don’t miss any of them:

  • Visitor’s Centre and Tunnel
  • Media Baluarte de San Francisco
  • Baluartillo de San Francisco Javier
  • Almacenes
  • Bamboo Garden
  • Dungeons
  • Baluarte de Santa Barbara

 BONUS FACT: 7 days before the Don Papa Intramuros Artists Ball at 6:00 PM in Plaza San Luis featuring performances by:

#Vivamanila Pasyal and Creative Open Market | Henri Lamy | Third World Improv | Rhosam Prudenciado | Mia Cabalfin | Vic Co.Lab | Maylee Todd | Shigeki Fukuda | Atsuko Satori | Dex Fernandez

Artwork by Kiri Dalena. Neon lights. Photo by Rache Go, courtesy of Manila Biennale.

6 cultural institutions and art festivals collaborated on Manila Biennale:OPEN CITY 2018, namely: Intramuros Administration, Anthology Architecture and Design Festival, The Cultural Centre of the Philippines, Short + Sweet Theatre Festival, Manila Transitio, and Fringe Manila.

5 statements in the Manila Biennale: OPEN CITY 2018 Manifesto that make it awesome

  • is organized as a non-profit event
  • will be centered in Intramuros
  • advocates art which is site-specific and in dialogue with the histories of Intramuros
  • focuses on the issues and agenda of artists, art production, and art processes
  • shall be artist-curated, artist-run, and artist-centric

BONUS FACT: 5 days, from February 21-25, is dedicated to The Open City Performance Festival of the first Manila Biennale, the centerpiece of the celebrations. Participate in live artistic rituals, art interventions with local and international artists in the forms of music, dance, fashion, street art, installation, performance, sound, and film over five days, the likes of which have not been seen before in Old Manila.

4 curators of the art installations for the Manila Biennale:  Ringo Bunoan (Chief Curator), Alice Sarmiento, Con Cabrera, and Cocoy Lumbao.

Roberto Chabet, Onethingafteranother (2011). Photo by Rache Go, courtesy of Manila Biennale.

3 types of tickets and access:

Biennale Art Patron Passport (Highly Recommended) 

  • Access to MNLBNL lounge at the Plaza San Luis
  • Access to privately planned picnics and tours
  • Bespoke access to exhibitions
  • Unlimited access to all 3 Manila Biennale exhibition sites inside Intramuros
  • Transportation to exhibition sites via kalesa ride
  • Entrance to the OPENCITY Festival Performance Art Series February 21 to 25, 2018
  • Entrance to the Artists Ball on February 23, 2018, Friday
  • Entrance to Manila Transitio Memorial Concert February 25, 2018, Sunday
  • Priority reservations for all lectures, movies, programs, and performances of the OPENCITY FESTIVAL 21-25 February 2018
  • Discounts and special deals with Manila Biennale partners
  • Priority Reservations of the Manila Biennale Limited Series Art Book Catalogue.
  • Valid for one month (February 3, 2018 – March 5, 2018)
  • PHP 5,300

Day Pass

  • Entrance to all exhibition sites inside Intramuros Transportation via E-trike to exhibition sites
  • Valid for one day or until all exhibition sites have been covered
  • PHP 880

Student Pass

  • Entrance to all exhibition sites inside Intramuros Transportation via E-trike to exhibition sites
  • Valid for one day or until all exhibition sites have been covered
  • PHP 350

Zeus Bascon, Dead Masks, 2014-2018. Photo by Rache Go, courtesy of Manila Biennale.

2 cultural agency partners have given their full support to the Manila Biennale: Pinto Museum and Archivo 1984.

1 overarching theme: “OPEN CITY.” The theme refers to Intramuros as the origin of the capital’s culture. It is a tribute to the walled city’s beginnings as a port for the Galleon Trade, a time when Intramuros opened itself up to the world and welcomed new ideas, products, and people. – by Mae Young

For more information, visit www.manilabiennale.ph or download the app here (iOS and Android).

Mae Young is a writer by passion and a Branding and Communications practitioner by profession who declared 2018 as her “Year to Volunteer”.


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