Xyza Cruz Bacani at the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Madrid

Pilipinas Ngayon. Filipinas ahora.

A group exhibition curated by the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Madrid as part of the exhibition series, "A Voyage Around the World". 

Public View: 28 January - 12 June 2022

Museo Nacional de Antropología in Madrid

C/ Alfonso XII, 68, 28014 Madrid, Spain 


CHRISTINE PARK GALLERY congratulates Xyza Cruz Bacani for her group exhibition, Pilipinas Ngayon. Filipinas ahora., held at the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Madrid, Spain. Featuring works by photographers Xyza Cruz Bacani and Geloy Concepcion, this exhibition aims to give voice to present-day Philippine society. Wanting to shed light on the beauty of humanity, Xyza Cruz Bacani showcases 18 works and 2 portrait pairs from the Project Ugnayan series, which was shot in 2020 during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition will also present audiovisuals in which each artist will be given a space to describe their sources of inspiration and narrate their vision on Philippine society.


"The Project Ugnayan series is not about poverty or giving voice to the voiceless. It focuses on the beauty of humanity. It puts a spotlight on the volunteers from whom we can draw inspiration and who teach us that a small act of kindness goes a long way. 

It is about the importance of collaboration between the business sector, church, government and the community. If we are committed to working together, we can do more for others. 

It is about human resilience--that despite what we are going through, we are willing to risk our lives to bring joy and relief to those in need. 

We need to look deeper, understand each other more, and appreciate moments of tenderness around us in the midst of crisis. 

This series is about another way of giving that can work and be replicated in different communities. It is not just about survival. It is also about hope. 

It is a reminder that we are not alone. 

Project Ugnayan is a story of love, dignity, and compassion".

- From

Project Ugnayan is commissioned by Ayala Corporation.


Pilipinas Ngayon. Filipinas ahora.

After landing on Mactan, an island located just a few kilometers to the east from the main island of Cebu in the Philippines, on April 27, 1521, Magellan died during a skirmish with local warriors under the command of Lapu-Lapu. This way, the expedition lost its commander shortly after successfully reaching the gateway to the East Indies from the west following a torturous journey spanning almost two years.


After seeking refuge in the Sultanate of Brunei to regroup their crew, the surviving members of the expedition resumed their journey. They crossed Philippine waters for the second time in October that same year before heading south towards the Moluccas, the fabled Spice Islands. From there, under the command of Juan Sebastian Elcano on the Victoria, the only surviving ship, the expedition eventually returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This is after "illegally" crossing the oceans of the Portuguese, the other half of the world, to complete the first circumnavigation of the Earth.       


The exhibition is part of "A Voyage Around the World", a cycle of exhibits that the National Museum of Anthropology has organized to recreate this paramount expedition for human history within its own premises in celebration of its fifth centenary. In fact, Pilipinas Ngayon constitutes the fifth exhibition of the cycle, after having previously featured Rio de Janeiro, the Strait of Magellan, the Pacific Ocean, and the Mariana Islands. Like its previous entries, and faithful to the philosophy of the cycle, Pilipinas Ngayon seeks to contrast its current self-definition against the images of the past offered by the museum's collections, most of which were acquired for the Philippine, Caroline and Mariana Islands Exposition held in 1887 at El Retiro, Madrid, Spain, within the then-current colonial context.


To create this counterpoint, we have asked two renowned Filipino photographers, Xyza Cruz Bacani and Geloy Concepcion, to describe current Philippine society more legitimately "from within," both through each of their testimonies, and, first and foremost, through their camera lenses. They will display their projects as individual installations within the permanent exhibit dedicated to the Philippines. The combination of their works, one more narrative and documentary, and the other more artistic and testimonial, undoubtedly offers us a contemporary, suggestive, and extremely appealing insight into the Philippines in the 21st Century.


For press inquiries, please contact Margherita Usberti at


About the Artist

Xyza Cruz Bacani (b.1987) is a Filipina author and photographer based in Hong Kong and New York who uses her work to raise awareness about under-reported stories.


Having worked as a second-generation domestic worker in Hong Kong for almost a decade, she is particularly interested in the intersection of labour migration and human rights. She is one of the Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellows in 2015, has exhibited worldwide, and won awards in photography.


Xyza Cruz Bacani is also the recipient of a resolution passed by the Philippines House of Representatives in her honour, HR No.1969. She is one of the Asia 21 Young Leaders (Class of 2018), the WMA Commission grantee in 2017, a Pulitzer Center and an Open Society Moving Walls 2017 grantee. She is one of the BBC's 100 Women of the World 2015, 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2016, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2016, Fujifilm ambassador and author of the book We Are Like Air.

January 28, 2022
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