“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”―Gloria Steinem
Sometimes living in Manila can really take its toll on the spirit. Driving through endless traffic, dealing with pollution, dodging the rat race, and working amidst all the noise and chaos can leave anyone depleted at the end of the day. This is why in the years I lived here I have always been on the lookout for “secret places” where I can hide away and space out for hours on end.
Last weekend, I found another one when I finally made the trip w/ some friends to Antipolo to check out the Pinto Art Museum. I was quite delighted to discover that the place fits my idea of a hideaway. I swear, I can spend an entire weekend there. The place is home to a wonderfully manicured garden, Mediterranean-inspired structures, and the impressive contemporary art collection that art patron Dr. Joven Cuanang has amassed over the years.
For someone who’s always been artistically inclined (and currently frustrated by the lack of creative pursuits of late), a trip to this impressive museum is nothing short of heaven. I swear, I think I practically oohed and aahed at every corner—Dr. Cuanang’s hideaway is exactly how I’ve always envisioned my dream home to be. To be surrounded by all these artworks by local contemporary artists is just, man, it is just crazy overwhelming. I think at one point I almost cried. Okay, I keed. But you get the idea. It was, as my friend Papu said, “sensory overload.”
This is definitely not going to be the last time I’m visiting the sprawling compound. I absofuckinglutely loved it there. I am so grateful Dr. Cuanang opened his weekend home and shared his impressive art collection to the public…escaping to a place like Pinto Art Museum is exactly what one needs to revive that sense of wonder within. I cannot wait to go back—one day is definitely not enough to take in all the creativity and magic that seems to permeate the place.
I’m really glad I decided to include “living an ‘artful’ life” in my 30 Before 30 project. When I was younger, I’ve always wanted to be a painter—I’ve dabbled in oil, acrylics, watercolor and drawing—but I’ve never really managed to sustain the hobby. I think visiting places and galleries like this will somehow remedy that. I don’t think I’ll be throwing away my writing career to live my “starving artist” dreams anytime soon—I think somewhere along the way, writing has replaced art as my number one passion—but exposing myself to these creative environments will hopefully help me think beyond the box and help improve my craft. See, the thing with having a job you love is that sometimes what excited you about it in the first place can also be the very reason why you’re suddenly feeling stuck in a seemingly endless rut.
But I firmly believe that one can conquer the mundane by exploring new avenues of learning and creativity, because sometimes, really, all the mind needs is a good distraction. Lately I’ve been itching for something NEW, for BIG CHANGE to happen. My sister and I were talking about how maybe moving to a new country is the answer, but the thing is, I actually love Manila—oh I know I will probably move away from my city for a while (I feel it in my bones!), but I will come back because it’s home—and I honestly think that no new place will cure this rut because it is all internal. I just need a new challenge, one that’s maybe a little removed from the current ones I face, and maybe the answer is simply just to let my mind breathe new air.
So I guess this year will not only be about traveling (although I am crazy excited about Japan! Cambodia! Bacolod! etc. etc. etc.!), but it’ll also be about pursuing new avenues of learning and creativity. Time to exercise and engage the imagination. :D