Skip to main content

The Pinto Art Museum

Walang Iwanan, Elmer Borlongan, 1999
The Pinto Art Museum has a vast collection of Philippine contemporary art and it requires more than a single visit to appreciate all that it has offer.
Elmer Borlongan or "Emong" describes his paintings as figurative expressionism. In an interview at the opening of one of his exhibitions, he said, "My paintings are firsthand. I paint things I see everyday." Emong received the Thirteen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1994. This award was originally conceived to recognize artists who "took the chance and risk to restructure, restrengthen and renew art making and art thinking". Emong is widely regarded as one of the foremost painters in the Philippine contemporary art scene today.

I like the playful mood of Walang Iwanan. In Filipino culture, the phrase, "walang iwanan" (no one is left behind) is commonly heard between friends and families. A good friend will always stand by your side. 

Ultimo Cinco, Mark Orozco Justiniani, Oil on canvas, 1993
Ultimo Cinco is a parody of Da Vinci's Last Supper. Here the gamblers (which have replaced the 12 apostles) are looking up and anticipating the fall of the die which will decide the fate of their bets. 

Justiniani received the 13 Artists Award in 1994 together with his colleague, Elmer Borlongan.

Karnabal, Salingpusa Collective, Acrylic on canvas, 1992
This 12'x40' mural addresses the state of Philippine society after the Marcos era and perhaps thru the present. Notice the central figures - a priest hearing the confession of a clown, a rabid dog, a magician willing the body of a nude woman to levitate, red papier mâché carabaos, a man playing target practice. All these scenes, the heightened excitement stroked in part by the harsh colors and the crowd of characters are indeed reminiscent of a carnival, with the exception of the priest. But that is perhaps the core idea, the relationship between Filipinos and their religion. 

Salingpusa is a group of painters founded in the mid 1980s (they celebrated their 30th anniversary in August 2015) by art students from the University of the Philippines. Among its founding members are Elmer Borlongan and Mark Justiniani together with Ferdie Montemayor, John Santos III, Tony Leaño (who designed the museum buildings), Manny Garibay and a host of artists who are now considered the vanguards of Philippine contemporary art. Together they created paintings in which they depicted the Philippine political climate and society of their era.

Oblivious, Stephanie Lopez, 2010
Stephanie Lopez worked with steel wires and found objects to create this delicate composition. Oblivious reminds me of the transparency of emotions and how love can be both gentle and fragile. 

Note the portrait in the background. The subject is Dr. Joven Cuanang, the founder of the museum. He is a tireless supporter of Philippine contemporary art and of its artists. It is his vision that brought together these talents and their works into one unique museum. Winner Jumalon is the portraitist.

Gallery 5
In a roomful of art, I'm faced with a question. Where do I begin? It's a daunting task. So I told myself that I will have to return soon to pay more attention to the pieces I glossed over.

Panalo! by Ferdie Montemayor, Acrylic on canvas, 2012
Panalo! is in Gallery 5. It's a triptych composed of swimmers, runners and cyclists. The paintings span an entire wall of the gallery. What an amazing composition of movement with the winner emerging from the pack! Panalo means winner. 

Nona M. Garcia, Hallow, 2010
Nona Garcia grew up around the hospital owned by her parents in Marikina. She was fascinated with X-ray charts then and that childhood interest has found its way in some of her works such as the Hallow composition above. Lit shadow boxes frame negatives of religious images of the Santo Niño, the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary and the saints. Garcia is a recipient of the ASEAN Art Award for 2000 and the Thirteen Artists Award for 2003.

Gaia, Daniel Delacruz
Gaia is the Mother Goddess in Greek mythology, the creator of earth and the universe. How apropos that this piece of sculpture is situated among the trees as Gaia is portrayed sprouting from a tree.

"Papunta ka palang, pabalik na ako", Jaypee Samson, 2009
This oil painting had the most impact on me. The title can be loosely translated as "You just began, I'm on my way back". Poignant! 

The Pinto Academy
When gallery spaces compete with its art collection, it's called Pinto Art Museum. The Pinto Academy (within museum grounds) incorporates an indoor theater, an amphitheater, a library and a roof deck. An overcoat of foliage is the refreshing backdrop of the museum.

"The Foundation built this Academy of Arts and Sciences to promote conversation across disciplines to create, innovate and to pursue activities that celebrate this thought and advance through research its furtherance so that this will be enhanced for the benefit of society." Dr. Joven Cuanang, February 2016"

Courtyard at the Pinto Academy
Try to visit the museum on a weekday (except Mondays). I went on a Saturday and it was teeming with visitors and students. There are several restaurants onsite though I could not recommend them except perhaps for ordering beverage. Service is slow and careless. After waiting for more than a half hour, one of the waiters informed me that they no longer had the fish dory I ordered. And he informed me they had no other items on the menu that I could quickly get as most of the dishes required a longer time to prepare. By the way, the fish dory was recommended by our waiter. What a turn off after a morning enjoying the art collection and gardens!
Pinto Art Museum
1 Sierra Madre Heights
Grand Heights Subdivision
Antipolo Hills, Rizal
Open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
P200 entrance fee, student and senior citizen discount available

The Chapel
If you are staying in Metro Manila, it's best to arrange for an organized tour with your hotel concierge. Antipolo is at least an hour from the Makati business district depending on traffic. Otherwise, ask the hotel to recommend a Grab or Uber driver who can wait for you while you are exploring the museum.


Images by TravelswithCharie


Popular posts from this blog

Adare, Ireland's Prettiest Village

Thatched-roof cottages
Twenty minutes south of Limerick City on the River Maigue is Ireland's prettiest village, Adare. It's a small town, pleasantly quiet even in mid July, at the height of the tourist season. There was a celebrity classic golf tournament going on at the exclusive Adare Manor Golf Course during my visit. But thankfully, this did not bring in the crowds.

Augustinian Priory
It's an easy stroll from the Augustinian Priory to Bill Chawke's Lounge Bar on the opposite end of town.  Centuries old thatched roof cottages, medieval monasteries, vine covered townhouses, the Adare Town Park and the quintessential Irish pubs line Main Street. There's no need to rush. All these places invite visitors to linger and savor the moment.

At Bill Chawke's the kegs are full and ready to be served. But before saying your first "sláinte!" (to your health), consider walking the extra mile or so to the ruins of Desmond Castle, north of Adare Manor. It dates bac…

Bargain Shopping in Greenhills, Metro Manila

At Greenhills indoor flea market, you will find santos (religious statues), costume jewelry, authentic South Seas pearls, clothes, shoes, knock off branded handbags, Oriental furnishings, Christmas decorations, paintings, souvenirs and linens. There are stalls upon stalls of goods and you walk down narrow aisles teeming with shoppers who are at this moment doing their Christmas shopping.

I was particulary interested in new costume jewelry trends and there are a variety of stones and glass beads on display. The latest is a headband made of shiny glass beads, a unique party accessory. I was pleased to find wood carvings and paintings at much more reasonable prices than elsewhere in the city, except in Divisoria which I have yet to check out.

Weekends and holidays are the worst times to come though you can shop their night market during the holidays. Crowds notwithstanding, I plan to spend more time shopping for home furnishings at Greenhills after the holidays.

* * *

Photos by Charie

Carlos "Botong" Francisco, A Nation Imagined

Carlos "Botong" Francisco, FILIPINO STRUGGLES THROUGH HISTORY Oil on canvas, 1964, (located at ManilaCity Hall) A National Cultural Treasure owned by the City of Manila
Carlos Botong Francisco: A Nation Imagined is the latest art installation at the AyalaMuseum in Makati to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Carlos “Botong” Francisco (1912-1969), a Philippine National Artist. Forty paintings and lithographs were culled from various private collections to form this exhibition. Of the large scale paintings on display, Maria Makiling and Fiesta, both oil on canvas, are representative of the indigenous genre which Botong loved to portray. In Maria Makiling, Botong reveals a relaxed and recumbent woman with her legs dangling in the cool waters of the stream and playing with an exotic deer by her side. Fiesta is about how the Filipino people gather to celebrate an important occasion, be that a religious feast or a wedding. The central figures are dancing the tinikling, a po…