Here's How Much It Costs to Book Your Wedding at the National Museum
The National Museum of Natural History was closed down last Saturday, March 4th, because of the wedding of society figure Dominique Cojuangco, only daughter of Antonio "Tonyboy" Cojuangco and Gretchen Barretto, and businessman Michael Hearn. It sparked quite the conversation on social media, with some of us questioning how a state museum could allow this in the first place.
But apparently, public museums hosting private gatherings is common practice. As a matter of fact, these events prove to be instrumental to the institution's long-term conservation.
"It's interesting to see the conversations inspired by the recent high-profile wedding reception. It shows us that people are curious about how museums operate. All these events are opportunities for us to build audiences and relationships with different stakeholders," Jorell Legaspi, the National Museum of the Philippines' Deputy Director-General for Museums, tells Esquire Philippines.
He adds: "These things also help us imagine what museums can be. Museums are a place that inspire people to gather and celebrate with our national heritage. They provide a safe space for people to think creatively, as well."
Venues at the National Museum of the Philippines can fit about 50 to 100 people on average. Other function rooms can host up to 200 guests.
The National Museum hosts both public and private events regularly. Legaspi even says that the demand is so strong that they're fully booked for the next few weeks. One its most popular venues is the Central Complex at the National Museum of Natural History because of its architectural design, lighting, and aesthetic appeal, the deputy-director general points out. Apart from Cojuanco and Hearn's wedding, other events like the World Travel and Tourism Council's gala dinner and designer Michael Leyva's 10th-anniversary fashion show were held here, too.
"I think our venue is popular because of its competitive rates," he says. "Rental rates are approved by the Board of Trustees to ensure fairness. So that's how we host all these government requests and private events, ranging from seminars and launches to fashion shows and weddings."
Based on the application form on the National Museum’s website, these are the areas available for rent:
National Museum of Fine Arts
- Sergio Osmeña Function Hall
- Claro M. Recto Function Hall
National Museum of Anthropology
- Marble Hall
- Ayala Room
- Reception Hall
National Museum of Natural History
- The Shell Philippines Centennial Courtyard (Upper)
- The Shell Philippines Centennial Courtyard (Lower)
- Hyundai Philippines Entrance Hall (Marble Hall)
- North Function Hall
- BDO East Function Hall
- BDO South Function Hall
- The Statue of the Sentinel of Freedom (Lapulapu Monument)
- Binhi ng Kalayaan
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Michael Leyva celebrated his 10th anniversary in the fashion industry at the National Museum of Natural History back in October 2022.
According to Legaspi, we may rent any of these National Museum venues anywhere between P50,000 and P100,000. This, however, only covers ingress and egress charges. Clients are asked to shoulder any overhead costs, including fees for security and janitorial services, as well as additional operational expenses.
Items like chairs, tables, sound systems, ushers, and other logistical needs must be provided by the client. The technical equipment, such as light effects and sounds, wirings, and stage layout, among others, will be assessed by the Facilities Management and Conservation personnel.
Meanwhile, any National Museum equipment, furniture, and fixtures used for the event will be inventoried pre- and post-event. Food catering, on the other hand, is only allowed in designated areas.
How to Rent
The updated guidelines published in December 2022 are as follows:
- Submit a written request addressed to the Head of the Agency Director-General Jeremy R. Barns 30 days before the event.
- State the objective/s of your request and include a project brief, which will be subject to review, assessment, and approval of the Director-General.
- Once approved, submit the accomplished application and guidelines agreement forms to the Museum Services Division.
- Wait for a client coordination meeting to be set by the Museum Services Division (MSD).
- Upon meeting, an event floor plan shall be submitted to the Director-General for approval.
- Secure a notarized memorandum of the agreement two weeks before the event, subject to review and approval by the National Museum legal office.
- Fees shall be paid in full to the National Museum's cash section in cash or online bank transfer a week before the event.
- For bank transfer, payment shall be sent to the following details:
Account Name: National Museum Income Fund
Account Number: 0012-1184-30
Servicing Bank: Landbank of the Philippines – Intramuros Branch
- Issuance of Official Receipt is two (2) days upon submission of the original Deposit Slip or receipt of Transfer Confirmation Email from bank.
We may also pay using a manager's check, cashier's check, or money order payable to the National Museum Income Fun and Modified Disbursement System Check or LDDAP-ADA (for government transactions) payable after the event.
"These functions provide a revenue stream for the museum," he clarifies. "In the 'National Museum of the Philippines Act,' or Republic Act 11333, there's a section there that says that the National Museum can generate revenue from rentals and selling merchandise. These events contribute a significant source of funding to sustain our public programs in the long run."
In fact, events can help the museum acquire certain artworks or collections, as well as cover annual salaries, commitments, renovations, and operational costs, if necessary. Of course, these are all subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.
For more information on the museum's events policies, visit the National Museum’s official website here.