Tag Archive: Philippine Art

My afternoon was suddenly freed up, so how best to spend the time? The sun’s out and a walking tour is out of the question lest I feel like having a heat stroke. Shopping is not an option. I’ve also met my quota of 2 movies max in a week. I don’t feel like reading a book as the one I’m reading now is way too serious, too profound for my taste but nevertheless deserving of a read. I’m not hungry (yet) and I’ve been considering a walk in Chinatown when the heat is more bearable. Between NOW and a dimsum and lumpia fix in Chinatown, there’s the National Art Gallery.



Juan Luna’s Spoliarium


Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo’s “Assasination of Governor Bustamante”


In my first entry, I advised going to the Museum on a full stomach. This time around, I did the rounds while my stomach constantly reminded me of kutchay dumplings in this “hole-in-the-wall” dimsum place” off Ongpin Street. Without breaking a stride, I walked up the stairs to the Art Gallery. Sans camera. Sans bag. What I needed filled my pockets.







Siri was good company when I was strolling around Madrid as it is here within Museum walls. There was no crowd so I was able to spend as much time in the Hall of Masters Luna and Hidalgo. Almost mindlessly, I walked right up to the center of the hall between Luna’s “Spoliarium” and Hidalgo’s “Assassination of Governor Bustamante”. With each masterpiece, I inched closer, as if I’d find new meaning as I view the painting up close. I took my time snapping photos with my iPhone camera. Easily, I spent 10-15 minutes in this single hall. It’s not everyday after all that you find yourself ALONE in the Hall of Masters. No crowds. No student groups. No noisy chatty teenagers! No DLSR-toting tourists. ūüôā







Both masterpieces have so many characters and it is quite interesting to read the facial expression, mannerism, body language and “aura” of each character. Now, that’s coming from a layman. I have neither the aptitude nor the training for art but I see what I see. Whatever and however the painting makes me feel is completely my own. Regardless of who painted what, I derive a certain sense of meaning. Intended or not by the artist, this is WHAT or HOW this and that painting made me feel.






I dare not share my sentiments and personal interpretations with anyone. No pretensions here. Both Luna and Hidalgo intended those masterpieces to convey a message. Whether i did get that message or not is my problem. But some may wish to dwell on the “separation of Church and State” or lack of it upon viewing Hidalgo’s “Assassination of Governor Bustamante”. Or how Luna’s very Roman scene in Spoliarium may invite discussions on human rights violations or the Filipinos’ sufferings during that time. The serious artists may deliberate on the significance of the red shade and the dominance of bodies throughout the painting, the interplay of light and shadows or whatever sounds artsy. I have no interpretation. I asked Siri and Siri delivered a well-researched Wikipedia spiel. Then I snapped away. So what I have to share with you are these close up photos from my iPhone cam. Tell me what you think!






Just in the suburbs. ¬†This oasis of peace and quiet is truly an art haven. ¬†As my friend puts it, this is our very own MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). A not-to-be-missed destination. You don’t even have to be an art lover to enjoy this place. ¬†But there is no guarantee you won’t end up as one by the time you’re done.



Despite the humidity,  the place offers a pitstop for tired bodies, restless minds and depressed spirits. Strolling around the gardens aimlessly, we soon learned why this place has become famous for pre-nuptial photo shoots.  It is most certainly a haven of creativity.  And I am just talking about the gardens here.  Wait till you go through the Museum proper, where I advise you to go slow to digest every ounce of art and culture. 



The Pinto Art Museum and Silangan Gardens is right inside Grandheights Subdivision in Antipolo City. I’m lousy with directions so if you plan to visit the place, ¬†give them a call at¬†(+632) 703-4453 or (+63917) 608-6754) ¬†to ask for directions. ¬†There is much to see here. And it is not difficult to wander aimlessly and view the collections of noted neurologist and art patron Dr. Joven Cuanang. We were lucky to find the good doctor in his residence right within the gallery compound when we visited. ¬†He was most kind and even eagerly showed us around the many items of art inside his residence hemmed in by the lovely gardens.


How To Say “Ma.wa.lang.Ga.lang. Po.

It is of natural consequence that one views these collections with a sense of pride over Pinoy ingenuity and artistry. Filipino artists, both famous and promising, found a home here. ¬†Dr. Cuanang talks about his collections like a father would lovingly and proudly talk about his children. ¬†Like all his sentiments and emotional attachments wrap each piece of art and collection. ¬† We were not surprised to learn that the good doctor has not parted with ANY piece of art that he has acquired through the years. Each of these acquisitions hangs proudly on the Museum walls in this architectural complex designed by no less than artist Antonio Leano. ¬†The high ceilings , white stone walls , open porches and sprawling gardens all make for a very colonial/Mexican architecture. ¬†As one weaves from hall to hall to view the exhibits, ¬†there is an element of unhurriedness and pleasure as one’s aesthetic senses are stirred. ¬†Surely, this place is a labor of love! ¬†¬†


Thanks to Dr. Cuanang and his vision and advocacy, we are able to enjoy our own MOMA within the City. 

A Painting of Dr. Joven Cuanang

PS. We visited again on April 5, 2018 and found even more improvements, including its Cafe Rizal. Met Dr. Cuanang once more and felt jealous that this man lives within the Museum grounds and only had to step out and literally stroll around the gardens, visit the galleries and then stop for a drink in the cafe. What a great life!