The Philippine National Museum of Fine Arts hosted an arguably familiar face in its halls as Davao resident Veronica Balayo posed similarities to the mother of renowned public historian Ambeth R. Ocampo, coming across her portrait dated in the 1950s. Oblivious but amused, she took her findings to her TikTok page with the caption “Am I her reincarnation?” The post has amassed over seven million views, eight hundred thousand likes, and fifty thousand saves as of writing.
In an interview with Pilipino Star Ngayon, Balayo mentioned the trip to the institution was a first for her, as the decision to take a photo with the portrait initially bore no significance apart from the resemblance. Of all the pieces on display, Belen Ocampo’s resided most with the viral museum visitor, describing the encounter as destiny of sorts as she is “honored” by the comparison.
“Actually, [joke joke] ko lang talaga ‘yun na parang ako, but after seeing the photo, sinabi ko sa officemate ko, bakit parang ako?! Sabi nila, [oo nga] and then ‘yun na, nag-picture ako together with the photo without even knowing kung sino ‘yun,” she mentioned to Pilipino Star Ngayon Digital.
(“Actually, it was originally a joke but after seeing the photo, I asked my officemate as to why she looks like me. They agreed and we took a picture with the portrait afterwards.”)
“I’m even wondering if this is my second life pero I feel so honored that they are calling that it’s like reincarnation because Belen Ocampo is such a fine woman. After reading all the details about her seeing the posts of Mr. Ambeth’s mom I was really fascinated and hoping I would have a bright future and a happy life just like [his] Mom Belen Ocampo,” she continued.
Ocampo took the news of his mother’s “reincarnation” to his Facebook account, spreading the news of the trending museum visitor, regarding it as a “photo-oleo” of his mother.