Pinto Art Museum has a lot of things to offer. Indeed, there are many interesting contemporary and traditional paintings, sculptures and crafts which affirm the unique abilities, resourcefulness and creative minds of the Filipinos. From its name itself, Pinto Art Museum opens a door to many possibilities, bringing to reality the things that you have not imagined could exist.
My friend Lenie was very decisive to put this on our priority list of places to visit this August 2016. I’ve been to several museums but this one is unique in its own way. Surprisingly, the land area is huge as it occupies 1.3 hectares. Upon it stands the Pinto Art Museum, the Museum of Indigenous Art, the Pinto Academy for the Arts and Sciences, and the Pinto Arboretum – all are managed by the El Refugio Arts and Sciences Foundation Inc. We spent the whole morning roaming around and enjoying every art bits we come close to.
Pinto Art Museum is owned by Dr. Joven Cuanang, former Chief Medical Officer of St. Luke’s Medical Center. As an art enthusiast during his younger years, he was able to collect some of the “works of the country’s best known contemporary artists” which he now shares to the society through Pinto Art Museum. He is guided by the principle that art could heal, and that “appreciation of art is integral to a well-lived life.”1
The natural environment combined well with art. Thanks to Mr. Tony Leano, an artist, who helped Dr. Cuanang in designing and building the structures, with touches of Spanish colonial designs, American and Greek architecture.2
Exploring the Art Museum
From Antipolo Plaza, my friends and I arrived at the museum at 9AM. At the entrance stands an intricately-designed iron gate clinging to a thick adobe arch adorned with two bells. A personnel welcomed us and led us to the registration area for payment of entrance fees of P200.00 per regular visitor. Admission fees for senior citizens/PWD costs P180.00 and students with valid school IDs at P100.00. Admission is free for children 3 years old and below.
We left our backpacks at the baggage area since these are not allowed inside the galleries.
Our tour then began at the Pinto Art Gallery, a primary attraction upon entrance to the estate. Its architecture, whitewashed walls and stunning staircases without railings are a showcase, as it gives you a feel of Greece in the modern times.
That time, the black-and-white photography of the mambabatoks of Kalinga hung on the white walls of the gallery. It upholds an appreciation of the tattoo art by the women in the said province. Walking upstairs to the veranda, we saw these 3D hollow men, one chasing the other. The concept is one of a kind. It stirred our curious minds as to how it was done and what the idea symbolizes.
The view of greens at the sculpture garden and the light winds brushing on our faces soothed our spirits as we stood by the veranda. Such tranquility enveloped this place. After a while, we hurried down to the sculpture garden, amused by a mini-sculpture of a burdened man, and these huge aluminum rings.
A Spanish colonial-inspired Chapel of St. Ildefonso with bricked pathways is erected beside the sculpture garden. Its simplicity is a work of art.
From there, we trekked downhill leading to Galleries 1 to 6 and passed by the Pinto Cafe. Gallery 1 is a spacious room which displays the largest mural in the museum, the Karnibal, which is 480-inch long and 144-inch wide. It has the second largest mural and other displays of contemporary Filipino art.
Below are several other interesting art collections in the galleries – some of them are my favorites! I could best describe them through photos. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are wide variations of ideas in the museum (aside from the photos below), but it would be best to see it for yourself.
From Gallery 3 to the upper garden, we found the pool and the roofdeck for sunset view.
Time flew so fast, so we headed to the lower garden to the Museum of Indigenous Art, which displays the tattoo paraphernalia used by the mambabatoks of Kalinga. Native woven products were likewise sold here. I was awed by the creativity of Filipinos in making a door curtain out of dried cotton sepals.
We were wondering if we could get inside Pinto Academy, until we saw people freely entering its gates. Out of curiosity we followed them, and good thing we did. Otherwise, we missed an opportunity; the Pinto Academy facade is spectacular. We stayed at the lobby beneath the ampitheatre, resting at the soft cushions of its sala, and allowed an hour’s respite from the long stroll. Ah, the breeze approaches its white open walls. We were sensing the Greek-inspired home.
The Pinto Academy opened in February 14, 2016, the most recent development in the museum. It is a school for visual arts, dance, theatre and literature. It is dedicated to arts and sciences for healing and wholeness as Dr. Cuanang was fascinated with the connection of art and healing.3
The Pinto Academy has an indoor theatre, which also accommodates special events (e.g. debuts, wedding, etc.). Atop, it has an ampitheatre (am I in a gladiators’ circle? :))
The arts and the environment are worth the time and sweat. Thanks to Dr. Cuanang for sharing his passion and vision of the arts to the public. Despite having weary feet, we left the museum with happy memories, a sense of peace, respite, and positivity. Indeed, arts could heal.
How to get there (via commute):
Manila to Antipolo – from Crossing, ride a jeepney bound to Antipolo (P38.00). Alight at the Antipolo plaza. Travel time is approximately 1 hour.
Antipolo Plaza to Pinto Art Museum – hail a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you off at the museum in Grand Heights Subdivision, Brgy. San Roque (P50/trike). A tricycle could accommodate 3-4 persons.