Friday, July 25, 2014

MUSEUM PREMIUM: Pintô Art Museum in Antipolo

6:14 AM

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Doors, beyond being an essential in any kind of structure, have always been symbols for the unknown, or portents of change, whether it be in Monsters, Inc, horror movies, or even Ancient Roman mythos. Singular in function (that is, to block) but dual in nature (as both entrance and exit), doors are perfect metaphors of transition. Much can be written about doors as metaphors for change, but ultimately they can represent a myriad of emotions that are intelligible in the words of Andy Rooney—“the closing of a door can bring blessed privacy and comfort – the opening, terror. Conversely, the closing of a door can be a sad and final thing – the opening a wonderfully joyous moment.”

A hidden gem in the heart of Antipolo, Rizal, is a museum that stretches inspiration and emotion beyond its own spectrum. Named after the Filipino term for door, Pintô (incomplete without the maragsa) Art Museum is a contemporary art gallery that remains open to various exhibits and performances for local artists and appreciators alike. Originally built in 2001, this 1.2 hectare museum continues to grow under the careful touch of neurologist and art collector Dr. Joven Cuanang. Pintô boasts not only a wide collection of modern art, but also timeless architecture that exudes clean Mediterranean influence amidst a forest of distinctly Filipino flora. The whole place is nothing if not picturesque, and as shutterbugs my friend Cassidy and I were instantly charmed. 

A blue vintage car peeks out to greet us as we step out onto Antipolo soil after a near 2-hour commute to the museum. The Wednesday sun is high in the sky, caking the museum’s white buildings in a warm yellow; heat waves rolling off our backs too gentle to be overbearing. Cameras in hand, we walk under the stone arch to a sight that looked like it was lifted straight out of an early 60’s Godard film, except with less ennui and a little more quirk. 

After paying for our entrance tickets (only Php75 if you present a school ID, Php150 for others) and grabbing a map, Cassidy and I started our tour of the museum. We first entered a shrine in the middle of waist-tall grass. It was filled with statues of religious figures, but to add a mysterious air they were mostly literally behind bars.

Rising from surrounding tall grass, his spanish-style chapel draws first sight.

Suffice to say that Cassidy and I had a field day just taking pictures! The art was interesting; the architecture was lovely and the surprising pieces scattered all over the property (like beds, sculptures, etc.) just upped the ante.

Artworks line the walls in the museum's galleries
But as we explored the art collection itself with our very helpful (and ridiculously knowledgeable) guide, we learned that the art museum really did value local flavour over anything else. Mr. Orencio even said that most of the pieces were investments on artists when they were just starting out and not when their art was at the value that they are now. Moreover, most art pieces were also socio-political or environmental statements. My personal favourite was the series of wire sculptures by Alab Pagarigan.

Going around the whole museum can easily take two hours, but we actually spent the whole afternoon there. It was almost maze-like, but in a way that added to the charm of the place, because you never really knew what was behind a door or what was beyond a curve. What made the whole experience memorable for me was the exact feeling of anticipation because you can’t get that it other museums in the city. 

"Mawalang Galang Po" by Joy Mallari
Everything was also so interactive, from the sound-detectors in some paintings to the aromas of herbs and flowers handpicked by Mr. Orencia himself—the complete sensory experience is what really sets this museum apart from all the others.

Pintô blends nature with art even in every little corner
Several art installations are scattered throughout the whole museum.

Watching the sun set from the top of the museum, I was struck by the odd feeling of nostalgia for a place and time that I felt was so far away from me in the city. Yes, it could’ve been me and my ennui—but I realized that Pintô showcased what we often take for granted in the city—slowness, peace, mystery. Just being able to step out of the fast lane for a while was so refreshing, and I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that any place with a certain je ne sais quoi can bring out the child in any of us. We long to be curious again, to be eager to absorb everything around us. So whether you’re curious about their amazing art collection, or even just aching to remember the feeling of a life outside the hustle and bustle of Manila, come to Pintô. Its doors are open! (pun regretfully intended)

A remnant of the museum's previous residential purpose, the figure-eight shaped pool lies unused. The staircase on the left leads to an amazing Antipolo sunset

Beyond this corridor lies an almost secret garden.

Article by Chili
Photos by Chili and Cassidy
Chili is a 5-ft. tall econ major with chronic ennui and a resting bitch face. As a self-proclaimed fan of all things culture and thrill, she enjoys riding roller coasters, watching Godard movies repeatedly, and drinking spiked Korean aloe vera juice. Edward Hopper, Richard Siken and young Alain Delon are her homeboys. Repin her pins on

Cam (Cassidy) Cervantes is a self-proclaimed rockstar, who dabbles in anything and EVERYTHING that is art, except for dance. She is currently taking up Landscape Architecture and juggling all her organizations in UPD, all while posting foodporn and pictures of her kittens on Instagram, and catching up on one TV series or another - such a busy bee.


  1. Holy crap it's a little piece of heaven on earth. How did you find this and why is this not more well-known??

    1. I guess beautiful things don't ask for attention.... hahahah but yeah it's not so popular as say, the national museum (of course) but it's really worth the trip!! you should go!!