It took us over an hour from Makati during a Saturday of a long weekend to get to Antipolo. While it did look unassuming from the outside (as if it’s just one of the houses in the village), we were quick to find our destination. You will discover that what you find inside after ringing the bell by the entrance is something else. True to its name, Pinto Art Museum is a gateway to a haven like no other in the city.
It was unexpectedly not busy for a long weekend, so there was no line at the receiving area where we paid the Entrance Fee of P100. This is one of those few times I actually didn’t mind writing my personal e-mail at the registration — I am more than glad to get updates from this place. We stepped outside and set out to find the café to get something to eat before we immerse ourselves in the art and the surroundings. On our way there, we were greeted by one of the Orencio brothers who also happens to be one of the featured artists of the museum. While he pretty much left us on our own, he was also roaming around the whole time and approached us when we looked like we needed a hand.
Pairing tea with some cake and macarons, we enjoyed teatime as we reveled at our surroundings. While we were glad to be where we were at that moment, we were also wondering why it took us so long to drag ourselves to this wonderful place. Antonio Leano meticulously designed the entire space of Pinto. You feel welcome right away, and there is a certain flow whichever place you start.
I decided to visit the gallery closest to the entrance of the café first. My favorite piece in this section is Liga by Ferdinand Montemayor. I like how it captured the love of Basketball by Filipinos; more energy jumps out of the painting the longer that you stare at it. While walking up and down the stairs, I also noticed how friendly the structure is for people on wheelchairs, courtesy of the ramp in the middle of the gallery.
My favorite gallery was the one where the bigger pieces were housed. Karnabal, one of the larger than life artworks in the collection, is a product of the collaboration of artists collectively known as Salingpusa. While I appreciate art, I do not paint, so I asked Mang Andy how they are able to accomplish such a task. Obsessive-compulsive me thought the best way to do it was through grids, but I was told that it is all about continuing the momentum. Someone starts it and then the rest just builds up on it. That really amazed me and in fact, I spent more than an hour sitting at one corner just gazing at it while listening to music and once in a while reading on my Kindle.
The new age gallery, at least that is what I call it, was also interesting. The one that really caught my attention was primarily made of wood. Paraisado stands out because it brings together two iconic things, the Church and kariton, which are very Filipino.
Those are only three of the many from the personal collection of Dr. Joven Cuanang, the man behind this museum. It gives you an idea of how diverse the featured styles and themes are in the different galleries of the museum. More than that, there are also many comfortable pockets where you can just be still and soak it all in.
Pinto Art Museum located within Silangan Gardens at 1 Sierra Madre Street in Grandheights is not that hard to find, so I am actually baffled as to why it remains to be one of the city’s best-kept secrets. This place is a gem, one that should be shared to all who want a feast for the senses that can only be achieved through a rare experience of art and nature in one special place.
Pinto Art Museum is open Wednesdays to Sundays, with gallery hours from 9am to 6pm. Special tours can be arranged by appointment. Call (+63 2) 697-1015.