UP IN THE HEIGHTS OF ANTIPOLO, so near and yet so far from Manila's crowds and commercial hustle, sprawls a hectare of bamboo, water plants and native perennials making up the Silangan Gardens. Weekend home to neurologist Dr. Joven Cuanang, the gardens nest a small chapel, an open theatre, guest houses and cottages, as well as what is perhaps its most popular destination: the Pintô Art Museum.
Built originally as storage space in 2001, Pintô now counts a number of indoor galleries and open grounds in its lush, leafy complex. The eclectic, Filipiniana-style structures of cloistered halls, interior patios and winding pathways owe their designs to Antonio Leaño, an artist and friend of the patron doctor. Himself a gardener, Leaño's structures feel organic to their environment. The attention paid equally to architecture and horticulture exhibit the workings of a green thumb.
Appropriately named after the Tagalog word for "door", Pintô opens its doors to Filipino artists and art enthusiasts alike. Both have Dr. Cuanang to thank, not only for commissioning the museum, but also for ensuring that its artworks remain there. The devoted patron says that he has never resold any of the works he bought, asserting that they wouldn't otherwise be accessible to Filipinos if auctioned off abroad. And so Daniel de la Cruz's silver wood nymphs, Salingpusa's carnival creatures and Joven Mansit's floating fish, among other fine and freakish creations, welcome you into their paradise, their dedicated garden and home.
At least between Wednesdays and Sundays, from 9 - 6pm, the door is always open.
Pintô Art Museum, Antipolo, Rizal. Photos by Lady San Pedro and Rudy San Pedro.