Exploring Art: Pinto Art Museum

Pinto Art Museum is a sanctuary in the city of Antipolo. It is a project of Silangan Foundation for Arts, Culture, and Ecology, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Philippine arts and culture. Neurologist Dr. Joven Cuanang leads this foundation. This beautiful museum is such a relaxing, and feel good place. With its white pristine beds and sofas spread throughout the lawn, white open buildings, and of course, gorgeous art installations, who wouldn’t want to escape the city life for a few hours?

The place is huge, 1.3 hectares to be exact, yet there’s not one spot in the huge place that you won’t want to take a picture of because of how scenic the place is. Even the restrooms are works of art! The architecture of the place is absolutely fantastic. The structure of the entire place is so cohesive. The wide open space, high ceilings, and large windows provide cool ventilation and make you feel so at one with nature and not boxed in.

You can also get a tattoo from Den Wigan from Kalinga who has taken up residency at Pinto. His father is a relative of Whang-od, the mambabatok (traditional tatooist) of Kalinga. His grandfather Whag-ay did the tattoo of Whang-od. Den brings to Pinto his heritage of timeless artistry.

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“Hindi po totoo na babae lang ang mambabatok kasi noon po maraming lalaking mambabatok at isa na doon si Apo Whag-ay na nagtattoo at nagturo ng pagbabatok kay Apo Whang-od. Kay Apo Whag-ay po ako nagmana sa pagbabatok. Si Apo Whag-ay ay Apo ko sa mother side at si Apo Whang-od ay related sya sa father ko kaya Apo ko na rin po sya. Gusto ko pong ituloy ang pagbabatok para hindi mabura ang aming tradisyon, ito rin po ang talento ko na binigay ng Diyos.” – Den Wigan

There are six art galleries, a separate building dedicated to indigenous art, a library, a sculpture garden, a meditation garden, and a chapel. Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

The various art pieces reflect culture and make you contemplate on the intricacies of society. They make you think deeper about our country and its problems. They remind us of the struggle and the hardships that women, youth, and other minorities have encountered.

They resonate with the truths of our history, the relationship between the church and the state. They show passion, innocence, the death of that innocence, and life and the fragility of it all. They keep our heritage alive. It’s amazing how creative and innovative our local artists are. They even use different materials in one piece. The picture of the two dresses have been embroidered with memories of two girls growing up, from piano lessons, to parks, and even biology class.

They speak to you. They tell you stories of dreams and failed dreams, of failed romances and successful ones. They show you pretenses and relate to you about feeling empty inside. The picture with the slanted canvas are two separate paintings that are actually a really big shoebox mounted on the wall! The painting with the shoes is an actual cube. These artists, our artists, they amaze me. The picture of the dark room with the floating rock is one that you may easily miss so make sure to look for the secret forest. It’s a door near gallery 6 that you can easily mistake for a maintenance room. This was the most relaxing place for me, with sounds of birds and dripping water, a fresh breeze, the whole room was so tranquil. I felt at peace.

In the same room as the shoebox painting, there are some paintings  whose true beauty shines best when you use your phone’s negative filter to view it.

Here are more pictures that I just couldn’t resist including. Make sure to read the captions to know a little more about the pieces!

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Make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes because there are a lot of stairs, which can get very tiring after a while. Luckily, the museum also has a cafe where you can sit down and rest while eating. The meals are a bit pricey, especially if you’re a student, but the pizzas are delicious and are good for two at the price of around Php 300- Php 500 for 13 inch pizzas.

Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Joven Cuanang’s interview:

“All the artworks that I’ve bought through the years I never resold anything,” he revealed. Even if the auction houses came a-calling with their suitcases. “I don’t remember parting with a single piece. Angfeeling ko kasi, ‘Why is everyone going to Singapore (to have their artworks auctioned off), eh paano makikita ng mga Pilipino ito? I am basically an educator, so I told myself this is the way I would be able to contribute to (the preservation of) our culture.” The doctor added, “Iba pa rin ‘yung experience of going to a museum. What I want is for young people to develop a culture of museum-going. (When we were selecting pieces for the museum,) I didn’t include anymore the works of the established artists, the masters. Para naman may exposure ‘yung younger artists. Their works are worthy to be exhibited in the first place.”…“I invited them to come over every Sunday para mag-sketch-sketch sila. One Sunday, I told them, ‘Ilatagninyo nga ‘yung mga trabaho ninyo.’ Ang gaganda! So, sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Tara mag-show tayo.’ The first exhibit of Salingpusa ay sa likod ng bahay ko noon sa Sierra Madre in the late Eighties,” recalled Dr. Cuanang. “Sinampay namin sa clothesline ‘yung mga small drawings nila. I then invited a lot of my friends. Later on, I opened Boston Gallery in 1991. Doon ang unang exhibits nina Elmer Borlongan and Mark Justiniani.”

With all that said, I’m pretty sure you want to visit Pinto Art Museum yourself. Here’s everything you will need.

Operating Hours:
9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Tuesdays to Sundays.
Remember, the museum is closed on Mondays.

Admission Fees (as of June 2016):
Php 200– Regular
Php 180– PWD/ Senior Citizen
Php 100– Student with valid school I.D.
Free for kids 3 years old and below.

There’s also a Php 20 entrance fee to the subdivision if you’re traveling through a private vehicle and not just getting dropped off.

Photoshoot Rates:
Php 7,500
– upper garden, lower garden (outdoor only)
Php 15,000 – upper garden, lower garden, Indigenous Art Museum and the new Museum wing (outdoor only)
Inclusive of:

  • 5 hour photoshoot: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm (in excess Php 750/hour) or 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • 5 pax (Php 300 per extra head)
  • Comes with preparation room with air condition

Additional of Php 500 for 5 hours
Php 100 per excess hour
For inquiries regarding prenuptial shoots and private events, please call 6971015 and look for Jenny Villanueva.
Address and Directions:
Pinto Art Museum is located at 1 Sierra Madre St., Grand Heights, Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines. Bonus: Antipolo Church is beautiful and it’s walking distance from where you get off. You can also go thrift shopping a few blocks away from the church!


Map to Pinto Art Museum from their Facebook page.

By car / private vehicle:

  1. From Quezon City, go to Aurora Boulevard and take the route going to Marikina. Drive along Marcos Highway heading to Antipolo.
  2. Turn right on Felix Avenue (the corner with Robinson’s Metro East & Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall).
  3. Turn left when you reach Ortigas Avenue Extension.
  4. Turn left at the rotunda leading to either Antipolo or Taytay Diversion Road.
  5. Follow the Ortigas Avenue Extension road that will eventually become L. Sumulong Memorial Circle.
  6. There will be a small sign on the right side of the road pointing to Grand Heights and Pinto Art Museum.
  7. At the guardhouse, tell them you’re going to the museum.

By public transportation (coming from Cubao):

  1. Take the LRT Line 2 and get off at Santolan Station.
  2. Take a jeepney or FX bound for Antipolo (bound for Antipolo-Simbahan-Junction or Antipolo-Shopwise), Tanay (Tanay-Antipolo), or Teresa. The fare is Php 40 for the FX.
  3. Get off at Ynares Center.
  4. Ride a tricycle and ask the driver to bring you to Grand Heights Subdivision (some drivers are not familiar with Pinto Art Museum). The fare for the trike is Php 20-Php 40 each depending on how many you are.
  5. At the guardhouse, tell them you’re going to the museum.

By public transportation (coming From Ortigas area):

  1. Ride a jeep/FX going to Antipolo (there is a jeepney terminal at the Greenfield District area and an FX terminal at SM Megamall Parking area). The fare is Php 45 for the fx.
  2. Once you reach Ynares Center, take a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to Grand Heights Subdivision. The fare for the trike is Php 20-Php 40 each depending on how many you are.
  3. At the guardhouse, tell them you’re going to the museum.

By public transportation (coming From Ayala area):

  1. From Parksquare ride an FX going to Antipolo. The fare is Php 60 for the fx.
  2. Once you reach Ynares Center, take a tricycle and ask the driver to take you to Grand Heights Subdivision. The fare for the trike is Php 20-Php 40 each depending on how many you are.
  3. At the guardhouse, tell them you’re going to the museum.When you’re on your way home, make sure to ask the friendly staff to call a tricycle for you.

Depending on where you’ll be coming from, the commute will only be around Php 100-Php 150 (if you have to commute to the places mentioned above), and it is definitely worth it.

Rules and Regulations:

  • Backpacks have to be left at the package counter, but if you don’t want to carry your bag around, you can leave it there too.
  • No flash photography.
  • No food and drinks inside the galleries.
  • No changing of clothes inside the premises.
  • No smoking.
  • No pets.Don’t forget to bring your family and friends. Although, I suggest not going in such a big group so you can contemplate and have peace. If you do go in a big group make sure that everyone is on the same page about retreating to this safe haven. As Doctor Cuanang said, “you sort of heal yourself.” Enjoy!