pinto (n): door, opening
Pinto Art Gallery and Museum is one of Antipolo’s best kept gems. It was built on a 10,000 square meter piece of land, which has been transformed into a beautifully landscaped garden, nestled in the hills of Grand Heights Subdivision.
Before Pinto was constructed, the place was known as Silangan Garden (silangan means east, pertaining to its location in relation to Manila), home to Silangan Foundation for the Arts, Culture and Ecology. The foundation was spearheaded by Dr. Joven Cuanang, a neurologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center and a patron of the arts.
Dr. Cuanang’s house was one of the first structures in Silangan Garden. It was inspired by colonial homes in Ilocos Norte–concrete with whitewashed surfaces, brick walls inside, huge windows, and tiled flooring. Dr. Cuanang would stay in his Antipolo house on weekends, but his private collection of paintings found a permanent home there.
Pinto Art Gallery was constructed in the early 2000’s. The building is reminiscent of a Mexican pueblo or even a Mediterranean home, but the artworks housed there are undeniably Pinoy.
It seems everywhere you look, there’s art! Sculptures are scattered around the garden.
In December 2010, Pinto Art Museum opened. It has an impressive collection of paintings by Filipino artists, many of them belonging to the Salingpusa artist group. There are hundreds of paintings in there, but we were told that’s only half of Dr. Cuanang’s collection. A new museum wing will open in December 2012.
Even the garden is a work of art, thanks to the green thumb and artistic hands of Antonio Leaño. Lush is perhaps an understatement. There are fruit trees– mango, avocado, coconut, around garden. By the buildings are dozens of herbs and flowers, some of them endemic. Resident artist Andy Orencio will be happy to give you a Botany 101 course. At that point your visit will become not only a visual treat, but also an olfactory one–fragrant citronella, ilang-ilang, champaca, and the pungent garlic tree.
If you happen to be in the garden in the late afternoon, the cicadas are almost deafening. The sunset is perfect.