Ever since it opened more than a decade ago, I’ve always wanted to see Pinto Art Gallery up in the hilltop town of Antipolo. It’s only 25 kilometers away from Manila, but I never got around to it–not until a few months ago. Procrastination, memory lapse, and the constant distraction of doing something else may have all played a role–as with many things on my shame-inducing to-do list.
But moving on…finally, I got to see it courtesy of the husband’s magazine assignment to take a recently-hatched day tour around the city by two of its residents. The tour features stops at the Antipolo Cathedral, an eco park, a mountain resort, Crescent Moon Cafe, and the highlight of the trip (at least for me) Pinto Art Gallery.
The gallery is located in Silangan Gardens, the sprawling compound of renowned Philippine neurologist and art patron Dr. Joven Cuanang. The grounds are beautiful–a lush garden, white washed walls, and a fantastic view of the surrounding landscape. The gallery, which hosts exhibits of Filipino works, is by the entrance. Across the garden in front of it is a small chapel, which holds Cuanang’s collection of religious images. Then there is his very photogenic house and garden, and the most recent addition, the museum of interconnected galleries at the bottom of the property.
One gallery features amphitheater-like interiors with a huge, dramatic artwork in its center; another showcases the local artwork within a hallway of stairs.
The works featured are from contemporary Filipino artists that tackle mostly somber and thought-provoking themes. It can all get a bit too heavy and dark, but you can easily step out of the galleries for a sunnier and less somber view. In the words of resident artist Andy Orencio who guided us through the grounds: “Mabigat ang mga paintings, kaya pag-akyat mo, magaan, maaliwalas.” It’s no wonder that I ended up stepping outside and taking in more of the view outdoors.
Tayo na sa Antipolo tour: mobile (0917) 8263447, (0920) 9038085, tel. no. (02) 4006331
Pinto Art Gallery address: Number 1, Sierra Madre St., Grand Heights, Antipolo City, Rizal, Philippines
Open Wednesdays to Sundays, 9am to 6pm