IN PHOTOS: The Newly-Opened National Museum of Natural History in Ermita, Manila

For many years now, the National Museum has been frequented by people who would like to know and see about the country's culture and arts. Since it has been opened to the public for free just two years ago, it has also been more accessible to people who want to check out everything from fine arts to anthropological items. 

It feels like it was only recently that the museum announced that they will be opening a new wing dedicated to some of the most important discoveries in the field of natural history. And just last Friday, May 18, it finally opened its doors to the public, just in time for the celebration of International Museum Day. 

Located inside the Teodora F. Valencia Circle, the National Museum of Natural History is also just a stone's throw away from the National Museum of Anthropology. The structure used to be the building of the Department of Tourism before it was converted to what it is today. Through its completion, the people behind the museum hope that it will help Filipinos have a better understanding and appreciation for the country's gift of nature. 

Upon entering the museum, the first thing that would immediately catch anyone's attention is the Tree of Life, a structure which features a glass dome and a scenic elevator which will take the visitors all the way up to the fifth floor. The catch here is that it only allows people to ride to the top, so they'd have to work their way down through the ramp after checking out the galleries in every floor. Through this, the museum's administrators hope to contribute in saving energy and encourage the people to do the same. 

As of now, only the 6 of the 12 galleries are available for viewing, each housing a different collection of plants, animals, and fungi which can only be found in the country. It's also home to the museum's latest discovery - the fossilized bones and tooth of a Rhinoceros philippinensis dated 709,000 years ago, an evidence of hominin activity in the Philippines those many years back. 

From the  preserved plants and animals endemic in the country to the remains of the largest saltwater crocodile Lolong, here are some of the items you must check out when you visit National Museum of Natural History: 

Just like the other buildings of National Museum, admission to the National Museum is free. It's open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10AM to 5PM. 

The National Museum of Natural History is at T.M. Kalaw Street, corner General Luna Street, Ermita, Manila. For more information, you may check out National Museum's website and Facebook page. 

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