Art as healing: My first time in Pintô Art Museum

I’ll be back some day!

A day trip to Antipolo

2021 was a long and tense year for a lot of us —then add the stress of the worst boards season ever. Back when I was younger and more naive, I imagined going on a one-month vacation to the states or some place new with my family after passing the licensure exams. Alas, the skewed schedule and my pressing responsibilities for residency landed us to a day trip (and then a staycation) instead.

But I have no regrets! Everything about our visit to Antipolo was wonderful.

Thank you to my mom and sister for sharing this experience with me.


Breakfast at Café Cristina

Location: Ground Floor, Paradise Hotel Boso Boso Highlands, Sitio Boso-Boso, Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City
Hours: 7AM to 10PM Daily
Serves authentic Filipino and European food at approximately PHP500 for 2 people

While planning out our day, we only had two requirements for our breakfast spot:

(1) A stunning overlooking view of Antipolo
(2) Open early in the morning —so we can make it to the museum by its opening hours

After some careful googling, I eventually pinned it down to Café Cristina, specifically their branch in Boso-Boso Highlands Resort and Hotel. Other famous breakfast spots with an overlooking view, such as Burrow Café and Crescent Moon Café, were closed on the day we decided on our trip.

I’m really happy with Café Cristina though. The food was great for the price, and the view was incomparable. The breeze kept us cool despite the warmth of the sun.

Breakfast with a view. The coffee was so-so, but the food itself was fairly delicious (I got the beef salpicao). I’m so happy the place wasn’t crowded. We basically had one side of the balcony all to ourselves.
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Café Cristina is around 20-30 minutes away from Pintô Art Museum.


Visiting the Pintô Art Museum

Location: 1 Sierra Madre St. Grand Heights Rd, Antipolo, Rizal
Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays from 9AM to 6PM
Entrance Fee: PHP250 per person
Website: http://www.pintoart.org/museum/
Certain restrictions apply for COVID-related safety.

Pintô Art Museum is an exhibition space and contemporary museum founded in 2010 to publicly exhibit the collection of Filipino neurologist and patron of the arts, Dr. Joven Cuanang. Pintô means door in Filipino.

The museum is a sprawling open-air space with a number of galleries and picturesque outdoor installations to feast on. The whole place carried a zen and natural vibe; it also helped that there were only a handful of guests when we first arrived.

I love how the architecture of the space seamlessly communicated with both the displayed works and the natural greenery. It was a pleasure to walk around. (Having comfortable benches to sit on every few meters was also a big thoughtful plus!)

Layers and layout. Wandering the hallways and exploring how the exhibits connect is an experience in itself. I think that you can come up with a different impression of the museum based entirely on the path you take.
PS my mom thinks of such creative shots.
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Pintô Art Museum is still growing. Gallery 7 only opened in January 2020, so my sister —who had first visited the museum back in her college days— had a whole new wing to discover.


Seven picks from Pintô Art Museum

These were the artworks that I spent a little more time contemplating during our visit. As the museum constantly evolves (as hopefully so do I), no doubt my “picks” will change the next time I go there!

Jerson Samson. Salita, 2017. Epoxy, build-up. I’ve always thought of our souls as poetry folded into life.
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Crispin Villanueva. Reality show (after Teniers), 2005. Oil on canvas. David Teniers the Younger’s Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his gallery in Brussels (1651) may be one of my favorite “classical” (ie Baroque) paintings. The level of detail amuses me. It’s essentially artception? In this homage —which can’t properly appreciated on this zoomed out photo, so kindly go visit the museum— Villanueva adds his signature bubble wrapping illusion to the scene. Layers upon layers of consumption.
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Demetrio Dela Cruz. Lolong and Loleng, 2012. Stitched End Oil on canvas. I must admit it took us awhile before we appreciated the three-dimensional treat that is this piece. It’s not just two panels stitched together, but rather a story unveiling how man has evolved to consume nature. I’ll leave it to you to discover what exactly my sister’s looking at.
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Cos Zicarelli. Future violence no. 1, 2010. Honestly I just wanted to take this picture with a parent (my mom) and their child (my sister). It’s instagrammable content.
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Nilo Ilarde. Pinto Art Museum is full of objects, more or less interesting; I wish to add 22, 425 more, 2018. So this is where #ArtFairPH pieces go when they get sold at the fair. I first saw this piece in ArtFairPH 2018, which I blogged about here. Back then, there were somehow a couple thousand more toy cars. At that time, it tickled me pink as a reference to modernism and materialism. The pun at that time was also topnotch (since the fair is held in a parking lot and all).
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Gallery 7. Installed in the wide open space in the middle of Gallery 7 (probably a great place for social events), these art pieces provide a striking contrast. Motion above, stillness below. The slow growth of our minds versus the pressure of racing thoughts. (Google search shows me the brain plants were actually previously installed outdoors, near the entrance of the museum —how lucky am I that I got to see them this way.)

I’m so frustrated I wasn’t able to get the title of either work. If anyone knows, please, I am begging you.


While editing this blog post, I realize this photo composition also reminds me of one of my highest experiences in art. Specifically when I saw Andy Warhol’s “Self-portrait” (a vibrant reflection on the inner self in pop media) over Ai Weiwei’s “Coloured Vases” (a more contentious commentary on craftsmanship vs capitalism), which I shared somewhere on Instagram.
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Salvador Alonday. Hypatia. As the work description quotes: “a mathematician, astronomer, physicist and [philosopher] —the last scientist to work in the great Library of Alexandria”. A sculpture of a Greek Neoplatonist female icon (even borrowed later as a symbol for opposition to Catholicism) and books. I cannot resist worship.
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Art and nature as healing

I’m a big proponent of art therapy and visual stimulation as a path to wellness. And there are already multiple peer-reviewed studies on the health benefits of the great outdoors.

Useless fun fact: Before I set into the more practical (and socially necessary) path of becoming a primary care physician, I really seriously entertained going into neuroaesthetics, a more research/academe-field thanks to its still-experimental clinical application.

While writing this blog post, I’m happy to stumble upon this quote from the art patron and owner of this museum. I found this from a BusinessWorld feature.

Art to me is about wellness. If you go and look at the art, your blood pressure and heart rate go down. Whether it’s painting, music, dance, or poetry, there’s wellbeing sa puso mo (in your heart)… if you’re reciting a poem you like, what do you feel? If you watch dance, what do you feel?

Dr. Joven Cuanang (2018) in Healing through art and trees – Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman

What do you feel? Ahhh.

Doc’s bag and other details. I suppose the more anatomical, medical, and doctor-related art makes sense in context of who owns the collections.
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See you again, Antipolo!

We spent the rest of our day having lunch at Café Rizal by Peppermill, stopping by Antipolo Church for prayers for safe voyage, and getting a nice massage at Jinsei Massage (less than 10 minutes away from the museum).

Al fresco lunch at Café Rizal. The food was mostly Italian cuisine. Vaguely overpriced, but that’s par for the course in museums.
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#SupportLocalPH from museums to outfits to accessories. I hope to go around the Philippines some more some day soon! Even little day trips like these are a balm to the soul.
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Until next time! ❤️

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Monch Weller says:

    Pinto has never lost its charm over the years!

    1. jari m says:

      Ahhh! Looking forward to coming back again and again :)

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