Stranded at the Pinto Art Museum

With the habagat or southwest monsoon rains bearing down on the metropolis, it wasn’t exactly the ideal weather to go road-tripping but we still decided to push through with our plans for a one-day visit to the towns of Antipolo, Tanay and Pililia in Rizal province. After all, the farthest of these towns is just a 2 to 2.5-hour drive from where we live on a Sunday.

outdoor metal sculpture and entrance to the Cafe Rizal

First and – as it would turn out – last of our destinations on this eventually very short road trip was the Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo. We originally planned to do a short visit to this museum, then mossy over to Hinulugang Taktak falls, also in the same town, before heading out to Tanay and Pililia. Heavy rains, however, spoiled this plan and we ended up getting stranded at the museum. And fortunately so. Turns out that Pinto Art Museum is such a visual treat we needed to spend a minimum of 3 hours to appreciate what it had to offer.

art works at the Pinto Art Gallery and Museum Shop
Exhibits at the Pinto Art Gallery and Museum Shop near the entrance; the paintings are for sale

Located inside the Grand Heights Subdivision in Antipolo, in the hills just east of Metro Manila, Pinto (pronounced with the emphasis on the last syllable – the Tagalog word for “door”) serves as a portal for contemporary Philippine art. But it’s not just art work that’s on display here.

Cafe Rizal and dining tables outside
White-washed buildings sitting on rolling terrain amidst green surroundings characterize the 1.2 hectare property

The beautifully landscaped grounds are dotted with structures that reminded us very much of California mission architecture with Mediterranean influences. These together with the green surroundings, rolling terrain and manicured gardens sprinkled with outdoor art furnishings make Pinto a photographer’s dream, a most Instagram-worthy destination.

outdoor metal sculpture with the museum chapel in the background
Outdoor sculptures are found all over the property; the museum chapel is in the background

If you get hungry touring around the museum grounds or just need a place to hang out and rest, you can lounge at Café Rizal’s two locations: near the chapel on the way to Gallery 1 (with additional dining tables and chairs located outside) and between Galleries 3 and 4.

Café Rizal
Café Rizal

Before we forget, Pinto is an art museum with a huge collection of works housed in six superb galleries plus an indigenous arts museum and a sculpture garden. These galleries reside in open-air buildings and are devoted mostly to contemporary Philippine art.

Gallery 1 at the Pinto Art Museum
Gallery 1

Gallery 1 features several paintings that appear to be socio-political commentaries of everyday life in the Philippines.

paintings at Gallery 1

Salingpusa's 'Karnabal' at Gallery 1
Also at Gallery 1 is the massive, 144 x 480 inches “Karnabal,” an acrylic on canvas. It’s a 1992 socio-political masterpiece by the art group Salingpusa. You’ll need some time to digest everything that is depicted in this painting.

Gallery 2, located on sloping ground, is an interesting collection of art works in various media.

art works at Gallery 2

mixture of arts works in various media, Gallery 2
Gallery 2 is a mixture of art works in different media

Gallery 3 includes paintings and wire sculptures. It’s the wire sculptures that seem to attract the most attention here including Alab Pagarigan’s “The Hollow Man,” a wire sculpture of a man with a resin face.

paintings and wired sculptures at Gallery 3
Gallery 3 includes paintings and wired sculptures
wired sculptures at Gallery 3 including Alab Pagarigan’s 'The Hollow Man'
The wired sculptures include Alab Pagarigan’s “The Hollow Man” (left photo)

Galleries 4, 5 and 6 contain modern art works in various media. The corridors linking the galleries and an open garden between Galleries 5 and 6 add to the over-all scenic nature of the place.

various art works at Gallery 4

Gallery 4 and a corridor between galleries
Art works at Gallery 4 and a corridor linking the galleries
a corridor in one of the galleries and a view of a gallery building from a garden
A picturesque corridor (left) and a view of the gallery buildings from the garden outside
'Forest' by Antonio Leano
Antonio Leano’s “Forest,” an indoor bamboo forest between Galleries 4 and 5
Gallery 5 paintings
Paintings at Gallery 5
exhibits at Gallery 6
At Gallery 6

After touring Galleries 1 to 6 we trekked back towards the lower gardens and into the Museum of Indigenous Art, a collection of local cultural objects including furniture and other functional pieces, textiles, old photographs and ritual/religious artifacts.

artifacts at the Museum of Indigenous Art

ritual artifacts at the Museum of Indigenous Art
Artifacts at the Museum of Indigenous Art

Despite touring Pinto’s grounds for almost 3 hours, we still failed to visit the Sculpture Garden and the Pinto Academy complex due to the heavy rains. It was well past lunch time when the rains subsided and since we’ve already booked a place for lunch we decided to exit the museum and take lunch there rather than at Café Rizal.

We’re not closed to the idea of visiting Pinto a second time – provided the weather is ideal. We’ve heard about it for so long and we’re almost embarrassed that we had not taken the time to visit it – as near to our place as it is. Everything about Pinto – the various works of art, the charming buildings, the gardens – make it a delightful place to visit, even if you’re not a fan of modern art. Definitely a place that we’ll recommend to friends and love ones if they are looking for a place to visit that isn’t too far from the Metro.


4 thoughts on “Stranded at the Pinto Art Museum

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    1. Thanks again! Yes you should do a post on that trip. Muntik na nga kaming hindi pumunta ng Pinto for various reasons. But we’re glad our friends (another couple) wanted to go to this place.

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