Art spaces are interesting destinations that you can explore to appreciate creativity and allow your own to flow. These spaces give you the opportunity to peek into the minds of Filipino artists - how they see their time in their own unique style. Like they say, art imitates life.
Filipinos are known for our artistry so it is not a surprise to find art spaces in most parts of our country. This can come in different forms, from art galleries to local art stores, that showcase the artworks of local talents. We are still going in and around the metro this week to discover interesting art spaces that will spark your own creativity.
Art In Island, Cubao, Quezon City
Tucked in the glitz and glamour of Araneta Center is an interactive art space that puts everyone into a creative vibe. Art In Island has about 200 pieces of 3D art masterpieces that you get to enjoy posing in. Yes, the gallery encourages you to be part of the art as you click your cameras into action.
This art space stands out from my selection because of its interactive nature. The effectiveness of the artworks come from a combination of the pieces and how the guests play around with it. This is a place where creativity in both art and drama are combined to get the best effect. In this art space, your cameras are your weapons for your creative output.
Art In Island is not a place where you come in and appreciate Filipino artworks. The museum is a space that celebrates Filipino creativity as a viewer and how you interact with the pieces. It was meant to tap into our love for mobile photography and social media. It is one spot where adults and kids can be both kids at the same time.
You can check out my travel blog on Art Island here: Journals of the Traveling DaDa: Playing Around With Art
Getting there: You can take the MRT or LRT and go down at the Cubao/Gateway Station. You can walk going to Cubao Expo. Art InIsland is behind Cubao Expo and there is a side street that connects the two.
Pinto Art Museum, Antipolo City
From Quezon City, let us head off to the slightly cooler weather of Antipolo to explore one of the first art spaces that made it big among travelers and socmed users - the Pinto Art Museum. This quaint art space remains to be a popular destination for its wide collection of contemporary art pieces, its serene and peaceful vibe, and its “photogenic” spaces that is perfect for your instagram posts. This art space is a perfect spot to explore and enjoy on a lazy afternoon weekend.
The Pinto Art Museum is a repository of art collections by a doctor who is passionate with the artworks. What started out as a hobby in the late 60’s, he was able to amass a collection that was able to, literally, fill out a house to the brim. The arthouse explodes with creativity as soon as you walk in with its manicured lawns and well-curated galleries, matched by its serene atmosphere. Every corner is photogenic that you would get your creativity flowing for that IG-perfect shot.
Interestingly, social media has contributed much to the popularity of Pinto Art Museum eapecially among the younger generation. The aesthetics and its collections have caught the creative eye of socmed users. The art space allows them to be creative in their own way.
You can check out my travel blog on Antipolo here: #ByahengFX: The Suburban Haven of Antipolo
Getting there: You can take a van from Cubao, Galleria, or Starmall for Antipolo. You can go down at the Ynares Center where you can take a trike to Pinto Art Museum.
Art Sector, Binangonan, Rizal
Art Sector is the latest art space that is making its rounds among local travelers and social media users. The gallery and cafe, conveniently located along the hillside of Binagonan in Rizal, is one of the best places to catch the sunset. It has a great panoramic view of Manila and its surrounding areas and this is one of the reasons why people flock to the place.
Art Sector is the another art space by the man behind the success of the Pinto Art Museum. It is not surprising to find aesthetic similarities between the two galleries. The only difference is that Pinto Art Museum is more of an art gallery while Art Sector is more of a cafe/event space. Nevertheless, this art space can give you quite a fill of artistry.
The multi-level art space is an attraction in itself. The structure was built to adapt to the rocky features of the Binangonan’s hillside. Most of the contemporary artworks on display at Art Sector adorn its walls since its open spaces serve as lounging and dining areas of its guests. One is treated with the different creative outputs of local artists from astronaut renditions as soon as you enter the place to a medusa-like art piece in one of its nooks.
The gallery/cafe has a lot of viewing decks. It’s rooftop offers a 360-degree view of Manila and Rizal. It has its own cafe that offers refreshments and snacks when you finally decide to slow down as you prepare to watch the beauty of the Manila sunset. With its artistry-on-display, the amazing views, and its “instagrammability”, it is not surprising that Art Sector is creating a buzz.
Getting there: One can take a van to Binagonan/Angono from Cubao, Galleria, or Starmall Edsa Crossing. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Scrapyard Cafe along Manila East Road. You can hire a habal-habal at the 711 store across the Scrapyard Cafe to bring you to Art Sector.
Museo Orlina, Tagaytay City
There seems to be a connection with cooler weather and creativity. From the hills of Rizal, we now proceed to Tagaytay City to enjoy its cool weather and the art pieces at Museo Orlina.
The museum features glass art pieces of Ramon Orlina.
Museo Orlina is an art space that features the pieces made by Ramon Orlina, the artist that pioneered glass sculptures in the country. The works on display showcase the artist’s play and command on glass and how he molds it into elegant art pieces combined with other element like light and metal. His works put glass in a creative light as a means of expression beyond the usual way that we use glass.
Museo Orlina has a few installations that will catch your attention. The old cars as a canvass for self-expression stand out among these art pieces. The gallery also offers an amazing view of Taal Volcano giving you a different Tagaytay experience.
Getting there: You can take a bus from PITX to Tagaytay and asked to be dropped off the Tagaytay Rotonda where you can take a jeep headed to the Tagaytay Picnic Grove. Ask to be dropped of the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Junction. Alternatively, you can take a Nasugbu-bound near the MRT Taft Station. The driver can drop you off at the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa Junction. From the junction, the art space is a few minutes walk through the access road beside Lapid’s Chicharon.
Puzzle Mansion, Tagaytay City
Another unique attraction that you can visit in Tagaytay City is the Puzzle Mansion. It is not the usual art spot where you get to see original pieces by local artists but it is a space where creativity and a great deal of patience merge. The mansion is home of around 1500 puzzles carefully assembled by Georgina Gil-Lacuna, a feat that has earned her the Guinness World Book of Records for having the most number of jigsaw puzzle collection.
The family rest house was converted in 2011 to become the repository of the puzzle collections. It is a art space where you can browse through hundreds of puzzles in 2D, 3D, and 4D in different forms and sizes. You will be impressed with puzzle replicas of artworks of Van Gogh, Michaelangelo, Da Vinci, Monet, and Picasso that was carefully assembled by the collector.
Again, the Puzzle Mansion is not your typical art space. The re-creation of these art pieces in a meticulous way is an art in itself. It is a great place to explore that brings creativity to a different level.
Getting there: You can take a bus or van headed for Nasugbu. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Tagaytay-Mendez junction where you can take a trike to Puzzle Mansion.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Art is a vibrant element of Filipino society. It allows us to express our thoughts and ideas in different forms - through our own artworks or our interaction with art. It is interesting how much character we can churn out given our weapon of choice for our creative outputs. It can be the drama that we put in on the photos with these artworks or the patience to re-create another. Creativity, no doubt, has a strong hold in the Filipino psyche.
As most of our movement remain limited, there are a lot of “travel opportunities” that we can do at this time. Take the time to walk or bike around and explore your hometown. Share your unique and interesting finds that kind of surprised you that you have in your place. Who knows... you might be able to discover the next art space that will soon be making its rounds on social media.
Filipinos are a creative bunch. We have made a mark in the world with our innate creativity whether in visual arts, theater, movement, movies, and music. Our artistry naturally flows through and flood all of our five senses. So, it is not surprising that we can appreciate art and we can imitate life through arts.
For this week’s travel log, we will be going in and around Metro Manila to explore some of its visual art spaces. This covers popular spots frequently visited by social media users to humble artist’s homes turned into art galleries. This is the time where we get to relax, appreciate Filipino creativity, and learn to let loose our own creativity.
National Art Gallery, Ermita, Manila
The National Art Gallery is one of the four museums in the National Museum corridor in Manila. The building, where the gallery is located, is a historical landmark that witnessed the inauguration of President Quezon and the destruction of Manila during the country’s liberation from the Japanese forces. Originally designed as a public library, the re-constructed building housed the legislative branch of the government until 1996 but it was only in 2003 that the building was transformed to the country’s National Art Gallery.
The National Gallery is a repository of visual art works from renowned Filipino artists from the 17th to the 21st century. The collections include religious wooden sculptures from the 17the century, famous art pieces of Luna, Hidalgo, Tampinco, Francisco, Amorsolo, Tolentino, and other Filipino greats, and a gallery honoring Dr. Jose Rizal. It is the home of Juan Luna’s “Spolarium”, the largest painting in the country, that earned a gold medal in the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884.
The art space gives it visitors a 360-degree view of how Filipino artistry evolved through the centuries. It gave us a preview of how life was back then and the artist’s perspective at the time that it was commissioned. These artworks brought to life our colorful history and Filipino creativity.
Getting there: The National Art Gallery is along Padre Burgos Drive in Ermita, Manila. You can take the LRT Line 1 and go down at UN Avenue Station. The museum is a 10-minute walk from the station.
Angel Cacnio Gallery, Don Bautista Boulevard, Malabon
“Explore Manila” was a project that I started 5 years ago that aimed to explore the cities and lone municipality of Metro Manila. Little did I know that it paved the way for me to meet and be personally toured in his humble home/gallery by a great Filipino artist from Malabon, Angel Cacnio. The “surprise visit” turned out to be an hour of warm hospitality and shared stories by the artists as he gladly showed us the artworks made by him and his family.
A graduate of the UP College of Fine Arts, Angel Cacnio is the multi-awarded artists whose Php20 and Php100 bill designs were once in circulation. The artworks on display is a collection of his paintings, the artworks of his children, and the personal art collection of his wife, Amelia Cacnio, from other Malabon artists. His works have been widely recognized that he proudly showed us the recognitions and citations given to him by different organizations including the Gintong Parangal ng Malabon (1981) and the Gintong Ama for Arts and Culture (1996).
A visit to the Angel Cacnio Gallery needs to be coordinated with the Malabon City Tourism Office. We were lucky that he gladly entertained us when we visited his gallery unannounced. Again, his warm hospitality and humility made the visit to his gallery a memorable one for us.
You can also read my Malabon travel blog here: Explore Malabon!
Getting there: You can coordinate with the tourism office of Malabon City as visits are by appointment. The city has tricycle city tours that include the Angel Cacnio Gallery in the itinerary.
Gateway Gallery, Cubao, Quezon City
Located at the 5th level of the Gateway Mall in Araneta Center, the Gateway Gallery is an art museum that proudly outlines the rich history of the Philippines. It was a project that was launched in 2015 that fuses creativity and history.
The “Sining Saysay: Philippine History in Art” is a joint project of Araneta Center and the University of the Philippines. The exhibit has 30 artworks on display that depicts the different periods of Philippine history, from its pre-historic beginnings to the present-day Philippines. The artworks provide a visual representation of our colorful past that could easily connect with the younger generation of Filipinos. It provides visual marks of important milestones as a country and features past Philippine Presidents and their important contributions to nation-building.
The gallery is a good break from the usual humdrum of mall visits. It is a good opportunity to introduce kids and teens to visual arts while learning a thing or two about our country’s history. It is hitting two-birds with one stone - exploring one’s creativity and learning to be proud of our Filipino heritage.
You can read on my Quezon City travel blog here: Explore Quezon City!
Getting there: You can take the MRT or LRT and go down at Cubao/Araneta Station where you walk to the Gateway Mall. The Gateway Gallery is at the 5th Level of the mall.
Vargas Museum, UP Diliman, Quezon City
Located inside the serene campus of UP Diliman, the Vargas Museum is an unassuming art space in Quezon City. I guess it is safe to say that the whole UP Diliman Campus is an unassuming art space to start with. The museum stands in honor of the esteemed Jorge B. Vargas who entrusted the university his personal collections and memorabilia that are now on display at the museum.
The Vargas Museum is the repository of the Vargas’ collection of stamps, coins, artworks, and personal effects. Apart from these personal collections, the museum is also popular for its own collection of art pieces from Filpino greats like Juan Luna and Fernando Amorsolo. The art space also features the works of Filipino artists with their own kind of creativity.
The charm of Vargas Museum goes beyond its walls. The serene vibe of UP Diliman make the experience conducive to learning and creativity. It is a great place to visit if you are looking for a relaxed afternoon where you just want some peace and quiet.
Getting there: You can take a bus for Fairview and ask to be dropped off at Philcoa where you can take a UP-Philcoa jeep. Please ask the driver to drop you off at the Vargas Museum.
Yuchengco Museum, RCBC Plaza, Makati City
The Yuchengco Museum is one art space that you should not miss out when you find yourself in Makati. The museum is a repository, an art gallery, and a dedicated space that honors Jose Rizal. It is the repository of the family’s heirloom and the personal effects of the esteemed Ambassador Yuchengco from his years of government service. The museum also has an extensive collection of memorabilia that gives us a glimpse of Jose Rizal’s life. A gallery is solely dedicated to the great Filipino hero.
Not to be missed out are the visual artworks on display that includes paintings, sculptures, and architectural photographs. The museum has a wide collection of Amorsolo paintings, depicting rural life, in its main gallery. The second level gallery features artworks from prominent artists with a more modern approach in visual artists. A separate gallery was set for photographs of prominent architectural structures in the country designed by prominent architects of the country. One of its main attractions is its floating zen piece that had me appreciating it in awe.
The Yuchengco Museum is an interesting art space to explore. It does not overwhelm you but allows you to enjoy the space at your own pace. It gives you a good 60-minute walkthrough where you get to indulge yourself with a balance of history and creativity.
Read about my Makati City travel blog here: Explore Makati!
Getting there: You can take a bus headed for Gil Puyat via Ayala and ask the driver to drop you off near the RCBC Plaza. You can also take the MRT and go down at Ayala Station where you can take a jeep with the signboard “Washington”. You can ask the driver to drop you off at the RCBC Plaza.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Filipinos have a cool knack towards creative outputs. It is not surprising to find Filipino artistry on display in almost every corner of the country - from jeepney designs to wall murals or graffiti to our neighborhood karaoke joints. We are not afraid to express our creativity in whatever way that we can.
It does not come as a surprise, as well, that Filipino talent will always find its way to different art spaces. These galleries, whether home grown or institutionalized, provide us with a glimpse of an artist’s mind and how he sees society and the world. It fuses artistry and history to create a heritage that is uniquely Filipino. Again, take the time to explore these art spaces and appreciate these artworks that will make you a proud Pinoy!
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.