It’s happening sooner than we expected—our own Museum of Natural History will be opening its doors in mid-2017 in the former Department of Tourism Building within the vicinity of Rizal Park in Manila. This museum, which will house the Philippines’ flora and fauna, will be operated by the National Museum of the Philippines. The museum was awarded P1 billion for the conversion of the Neoclassic DOT building, which was built in 1930s-1941 by architect Antonio Toledo as the original Department of Agriculture building.

The Museum of Natural History will finally complete the trio of museums run by the National Museum of the Philippines, which includes the National Gallery of Art in the former Senate building, and the Museum of the Filipino People in the former Finance building, all near Agrifina Circle in Manila.

Work is underway-here is a photo of its exterior in July 2016, as seen from Rizal Park.

Architect Dominic Galicia has been chosen to design the museum and retrofit the building, while his wife, interior architect Tina Periquet, will work on the interiors. Architect Galicia's design features a double-helix DNA-inspired structure dubbed the Tree of Life, which towers over a central courtyard.

Here is another view of the Tree of Life. It spirals upward into the glass-and-steel dome, which covers the courtyard and can be seen very clearly from the exterior.

The interiors of the Museum remain faithful to the Neoclassical style of the original prewar building, and previously renovated spaces and architectural details were reverted back to its original configurations. The whole building will be updated with energy-efficient features.

Here's a quick walkthrough of the museum:

PHOTOS National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Facebook page (main photo), National Museum of the Philippines Facebook page (exterior and Tree of Life photos), Dominic Galicia Architects Facebook page (courtyard and interior photos)

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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