A Daytrip to the Artsy Suburbs
Welcome to Pinto Art Museum, a hip cultural art space situated in Silangan Gardens in Antipolo, Rizal, about a 40-minute ride from busy Manila. It’s currently home to a number of galleries and over a hundred paintings, sculptures and art installations. This museum has come a long way since opening its doors in 2000, and to date is a crowd favorite and a trendy place for artists, hipsters, bloggers and instagrammers. If you’re into art like me or just want to get away for the day, then I’m sure you’ll have the time of your life here.
Pinto, which translates to the word “door” in Filipino clearly represents a gateway to a world where the old meets the new, and where the past looks into the future.
I remember pining over Pinto Art Museum ever since I stumbled upon it on Instagram back in 2013. I fell in love with it instantly. And so last year in February on my two-day stay in Manila, I finally ticked it off of my Pinoy bucket list togther with my friends Carissa and Frank. Interestingly enough, I discovered a whole new world within the walls of this coming-of-age art gallery.
It’s not at all your typical museum. I love how they managed to infuse both historical and contemporary art (everything created by our local artists) and curate it in such a way that young people (millennials, as what we’re called nowadays) could connect with.
How is it even possible that this rare piece of paradise exists in the suburbs of Antipolo? Tucked away from the city’s chaos and hidden amongst nature’s lush greens, Pinto Art Museum offers a mix of zen retreat at the gardens and a neverending visual treat.
Truth be told, I’m totally not equipped to describe everything I’ve come across in this place so let me just take you back and tour you around through some of the photos I took. I’m telling you, it’s a downright shutterbug’s wonderland.
First stop: I remember climbing a flight of stairs ascending to a small room with some of the most unique pieces I’ve ever laid eyes on. The wire sculptures somehow touched a part of me, I could almost feel the sadness and struggle in (her) eyes.
Moving on, we stumbled upon another room in the gardens with an unusual combination of canvas paintings.
However weird that room was, the natural light (perfect for photo ops) readily made up for it.
One of my favorite parts of the museum was a little chapel with religious wood carvings and sculptures dating back to a hundred years or so.
Next stop: We headed south towards the Museum of Indigenous Art. We forgot to take a leaflet or guide map from the reception (I’m not sure if there was any) so we just walked around and surprisingly chanced upon a path of stones leading to this gallery of ancient aboriginal sculptures and primitive tribal carvings.
Next stop: The Galleries!
Gallery 1 – This gallery is dedicated to traditional frescoes highlighting the Filipino’s colorful heritage and culture. And mind you, it has the largest canvas painting in the entire museum.
Gallery 2 – This gallery will allow you to feast your eyes on astounding art pieces in mixed media forms. It has the more avant garde twist to it and I believe there’s something for everybody to appreciate.
Gallery 3 – This gallery showcases some of the most interesting wire sculptures. That man on the swing is definitely the most photographed piece of all.
We felt that we needed a break from soaking up all the eccentricities so we headed out into the courtyards to get a bit of fresh air.
Gallery 4, 5, 6 – Every piece of art that you would see here is abstract, leaving everything to the imagination. It seemed like the artists didn’t hold back, didn’t have any inhibitions. The passion that fueled their artistry is very much visible on their pieces.
My friends and I spent a few good hours just taking everything in. But before heading back to Manila, we needed to sample one more thing that this place had to offer – the food! Pinto Art Museum has two cafes: Cafe Tan-aw located at the roof deck cafe overlooking the beautiful gardens; and Pinto Cafe, a restaurant that serves an array of menu selections from pasta, pizza, main courses, Japanese cuisine and a lot more. I didn’t have decent photos of the food that we ordered, we had it all in one gulp! They were that good!
It was a good day, great even! How would you not love it here? If not for the arts, at least the place itself is a gem. I loved strolling along the arched corridors and I adored everything about the place – its spanish colonial architecture and discovering pretty corners within them. The ambiance is not only relaxing, it’s a fulfilling experience altogether. I would definitely recommend this place to everyone I know. It’s an absolute must-try in the Philippines!
Opening Days/Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9AM-6PM (CLOSED ON MONDAYS)
200 php – Regular
180 php – Senior Citizens and PWDs with valid IDs
100 php – Students
Address: 1 Sierra Madre St., Grand Heights, Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines