Parenting in the Pandemic: Exploring Pintô

This pandemic is really difficult for children. They should be running around, riding their bikes, feeling the wind in their faces. They should be playing with friends, going to school, rolling around on the grass. Instead, they’re stuck at home.

There’s only so much YouTube Kids we can let Lucas watch, only so many games he can play on the phone or the iPad. We try to play games and read books with him. We take him for walks and bike rides around our little village. But he’s a curious, energetic boy. He needs new places to explore, new things to see.

So we brought our son to Pintô Art Museum.

Oneal and I first went to Pintô in 2016, with my mom and my brother. Since then, they’ve added new pieces and rearranged quite a lot of stuff. Gallery 7 opened at the end of 2019, and it’s huge!

At least a month before our visit, I messaged them in Instagram to inquire about bringing children to the museum. They said, “Bringing of children and elderly is allowed only if accompanied by immediate family. Please do not leave them unattended at all times when inside Pintô Art Museum premises.”

Ticket Prices:
250 – Adult
200 – Senior Citizen or PWD with Valid ID
125 – Students with proof of enrolment (ID or Reg Form)

Museum hours:
Tue – Sun, 10am to 6pm
Monday: CLOSED

I had also seen our friends Beej and Din bring their daughter Monica–who is six months older than Lucas–to Pintô. We figured it was safe, because Pintô is a really huge place.

The grounds are vast. All the galleries are open air. There are luscious trees and beautiful flowers everywhere. Stairs lead to galleries and hallways, an arboretum and many ponds. There are benches and beds all over the entire compound, so that you can sit and rest anytime.

It was January 2 when we decided to go, and we were so surprised to see a lot of people there. We saw entire families and groups of friends, little children and elderly people. It was past 11 when we got there, and we looked around for a little while before we decided to head to the cafe for lunch.

There were so many people that there was a line just to get a table. I waited in line while Oneal played with Lucas by the large pool. I was lucky that the two groups ahead of me were rather large, and so we got a table before they did. When we ordered, the waiter warned us that our food would take 45 minutes, and they had run out of pizza! So I took Lucas to walk around the museum grounds while Oneal waited for our food.

Sure enough, our food did take 45 minutes, and it wasn’t piping hot when it arrived, but it was still really yummy! Lucas had been looking forward to the pizza, but he enjoyed the crunchy seafood lumpia; I think it’s called Dagupan in the menu. Oneal got an Angus Beef Shortplate, and I got Dr. JC’s Batanes Roulade, which was a lovely concoction of dory, shrimp and laing in coconut milk.

We were finally able to explore the rest of the museum after that. Oneal said that what he liked about Pintô was that you could see so much work by so many different kinds of artists, and there was absolutely nothing boring, generic or mainstream about any of the pieces. We let Lucas lead the way, pulling us this way and that, and we taught him one of our favorite words to live by, “Let’s see what’s there.” He climbed all the stairs and crossed all the bridges. He asked about this and that, and asked me to carry him so he could see better.

I showed him my favorite piece, and the picture we took when I was pregnant with him.

There were staff all over the museum, reminding guests to keep their masks on and to maintain an appropriate distance from other groups. I saw at least one staff member talking to a small group of guests about the artwork they were looking at.

Though there were a lot of people, Pintô is large and spacious enough that it didn’t feel crowded. While groups of friends and families huddled in the galleries or in front of installation pieces, it was easy enough to move to an open area to get away from them.

I saw so many people taking pictures and posing for selfies, and I wondered if they even bothered to look at the names of the artists, or if the artwork jolted any thoughts or feelings or discomfort in them. Whether or not they learned anything from the art, I suppose the fact that they chose to to go to Pintô, on the last Saturday before going back to work or school, is good enough.

Museum rules said “No baggage counters so no bringing of large bags and backpacks.” We only brought small bags for our things, and an eco bag with a spare diaper, wet wipes and shirt for Lucas, as well as a tumbler full of water. They never checked though, so I guess they’re not too strict about that.

Families looking to take children or elderly family members to Pintô should make sure to bring water, hats, sunglasses and fans. If anybody is using crutches or a cane, or a wheelchair, be advised that there are few ramps, and hardly any staff who can help seniors or PWD move around. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and be ready for all the stairs!

An exhibit titled 2020 opened in December, and can be viewed until the end of January. It might be nice to go on a weekday, so that there are fewer people, and we might be able to spend more time looking at individual pieces.

But I’d love to go to other museums, so recommendations are welcome!

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