That’s the view of Manila from the Outrigger Bar and Restaurant, so named for the lack of outriggers or any kind of sea, in Antipolo City, one of the last stops in an impromptu weekend ride to nearby Marikina and Antipolo.
The original plan was to have breakfast and then get wasted and sleep, but it had been a rough week (a rough couple of months, actually) and it seemed like a better idea to get out of the city and everything in it for a few hours.
That’s the thing I like about being on a motorcycle, even when said motorcycle is a borrowed Yamaha Mio scooter. It’s the kind of experience, like diving with whale sharks, where all your senses have to be focused on that moment. On how slick the road is, on how you’re banking a curve, on how that jeepney is eating up the distance to your ass.
There is little time for introspection and no room for the bullshit of the past unless you are not very attached to living or having limbs. On a long and straight enough road, you can outrun almost anything.
We found ourselves, after a lot of questions to locals, at the Pinto Art Museum on Sierra Madre Road (and also on the actual Sierra Madres) and were alone for a while.
For an hour or two, Metro Manila didn’t exist, heartbreak didn’t exist, looming deadlines and uncertain futures didn’t exist (those do not actually exist, come to think of it.)
There was just art in a complex that was in itself art. It was designed by artist Tony Leano, who is not an architect, to flow with the landscape. Here and there, rocks jutted out of concrete because that’s where they belong.
To be honest, I spent more time being blown away by the interplay* of light and the rocks and the rough wood against the white plaster in the place than checking out the art on display.
Low brow as I am, I was reduced to grunts and “whoas” and goosebumps as we walked around the 1.6-hectare museum. It was designed to elicit just that reaction, I think.
You could turn a corner and be greeted by the sight of a whole new hall of paintings or slide a door open and find a small gallery of nudes, or a room full of sculptures of women in conversation with women in conversation playing in the background.
Or, you could walk inside Leano’s “Forest”, an installation that is also an acid flashback. The experience of walking around a room full of bamboo and rocks suspended over pools of water is enough to make you forget to take a picture.
The ride was the thing, though. The museum was just a stop, like everything else in life. We celebrated it with coffee and rum and bottles of Pale. Again, like everything else in life.
*Interplay is an art word, right?