The Golden Halter, Death Masks, and a Voltes V Homage with Dessert on the Side | Ayala Museum

Wouldn’t it strike you as strange to enter the middle of a place?

In retrospect, that was how I felt. Then again, I didn’t know where the actual front entrance of the Ayala Museum was so I didn’t bother. Plus, we were still reeling from the heavy lunch of burgers and fries. But we were already there so that was where we started. We took a round of the first group of artwork we saw. There were photographs, sculptures, and paintings. There was even a series!

Jake and I would’ve had more photos but once we reached the upper floors, we were told that photos weren’t allowed there. You’ll just have to take my word for this: there was a huge collection of ceramics, mostly porcelain from the many dynasties of China. Some looked typically ancient while some looked so modern that they wouldn’t be out of place in a hip, young restaurant. And while there were a lot of blues and whites, it was rare to see red as a detail in them.

Usually, the exhibits were just three shelves. But there was one that four and I wanted to see what was on top. Even Jake couldn’t see it—and he’s a whole lot taller than I am! Surprise move: Jake grabbed me by the waist and boosted me as high as he could. It startled me so much that I laughed so hard, he had to put me down. He did it again; that time, I tried not to have a fit. Although I did get a better view of the bowls, unfortunately there was no written info about them.

Next, we went to the Philippine gold collection. They were on the walls, the shelves, and the floor as well! There were a lot of ear pieces, bangles, buckles, and belts with a few diadems and tiaras. I was instantly drawn to the death masks and orifice covers. Jake knew I’d skip exhibits the moment I saw those.

The centerpiece for the gold collection was the halter. According to a Reddit post, it’s also called the “Sacred Thread”. It weighs 3,860 grams, is 150 cm. long, and made during 10th-13th century. It was found in Surigao.

The Golden Halter (photo from Reddit)
The Golden Halter (photo from Reddit)

Descending, we were back to where we could take photos again. This time we were surrounded by scale models of old maritime vessels and more than 50 dioramas of significant Philippine historical events. A couple of them stood out for Jake and me, mostly because we couldn’t remember them as taught in class. First was the arrest of a seemingly British official and then it stumped us if what we saw were the French aiding the Spaniards in a war.

Sadly, we overstayed and we were told it was 6PM, which meant closing time.

Before we headed anywhere else, we stayed around and gawked at an installment outside. We already noticed it when we were still inside and upstairs. Now that we were at the same level, I could tell I was right when I noticed all the Voltes V details.

We then had Jake’s phone charged and went to have dinner, which was topped with a chili chocolate bar from Theo and Philo and desserts from Kumori. Jake wanted to try the Tofu Cheese, which was more cheese than tofu and both were too subtle for me to appreciate but Jake was completely elated by it. I asked him for the Krone and, while I already knew that I would be happy with all the creamy, custard goodness, even my best friend couldn’t help but smile with it.

Ayala Museum

Greenbelt Mall, Makati


Food Court, Lower Ground Floor, Landmark Mall, Makati

If you want to read more about the Golden Halter and the other exhibits, please visit the blog of Emmie Abadilla. I think I’ve met her before, at least once. She’s with the Manila Bulletin, a place that I hold close to my heart.


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