This People’s Museum In Manila Is Putting Climate Survivors’ Stories Front and Center

This People’s Museum In Manila Is Putting Climate Survivors’ Stories Front and Center

Stories worth telling.

The People’s Museum of Climate Justice is putting the spotlight on personal stories of the effects of the climate crisis.

Related: FYI, We Only Have 3-8 Years To Lessen Climate Change

As climate change continues to worsen, natural disasters with a power that would only be seen once a decade or rarer have sadly become a common occurrence. The Philippines is a firsthand witness to the climate crisis as super typhoons ravage the country at an alarming clip. What was once a rare occurrence is now a sad reality for many Filipinos as they bear the brunt of stronger typhoons. And at the center of this devastation are the survivors whose lives are turned upside down by the climate crisis. They aren’t just statistics, but people with stories worth telling. It’s those stories that take center stage at the People’s Museum of Climate Justice in Manila. 


Museums have always been institutions of history and culture that house important narratives. The People’s Museum of Climate Justice is no exception. Part of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior ship’s visit to Metro Manila, the museum pays homage to the collective experiences of climate survivors through a poignant collection of objects of memory and art pieces that encapsulate their enduring memories of the climate crisis. Organized by environmental non-profit organization Greenpeace Philippines, the exhibit is co-created and co-curated with climate-impacted communities from Tacloban, Bohol, Metro Manila, and other vulnerable regions in the country. 


The exhibit moves away from splashy showings and instead makes its message heard with simple objects with a profound backstory. It features everyday tools, mementos, and significant items contributed by community members, each item a vessel of stories recounting their encounters with extreme weather events and the profound impact of climate change on their lives. Through this showcase, the People’s Museum of Climate Justice aims to bring often abstract and intangible statistics into human focus. 


While more and more people are getting informed about climate change and extreme weather, it can be hard to grasp wide-ranging ideas. The museum hopes to raise awareness and foster a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by communities impacted by climate change through a more personal touch. These are items from people who have gone through these horrible tragedies and serve as a reminder of the environmental and social injustices that climate-vulnerable populations must navigate daily.


“A museum is a bastion of memory—a collection of tangible and intangible artifacts that carry narratives and experiences of people, put forward to be immortalized,” said Mark Simbajon, a Super Typhoon Yolanda survivor who contributed to the exhibit. “For us coming from communities at the receiving end of the impacts of the climate crisis, this is our physical concretization of strength—strength that defines our truth, the truth that refuses to be just sidelines of history.”

The People’s Museum of Climate Justice is located at the Remedios Jubilee Mission Center, Malate Catholic Church compound. Admission is free.

Continue Reading: 18 Museums To Visit To Get Your Daily Dose Of Philippine History