Category Archives: Museums

Touchdown Tokyo!!!

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My little family was blessed to be able to travel to Tokyo again this year.  You may remember that last year, we were treated by my in-laws to a 6-day vacation.  This year, it was just the three of us, exploring what is starting to become one of my favorite cities in the world :).

We arrived at Tokyo at around 2PM.  Not a bad schedule because it gave us the time to still do some afternoon sightseeing.  Because we landed at the Haneda Airport which is much nearer to the city (only 30 mins!) and accessible by train to and from our hotel, we were out and about by 330PM! 🙂

This year, we opted to stay in a different neighborhood from our previous visit.  We stayed at the Shiodome Royal Park Hotel–very near Ginza and Tsukiji.  Also, as I had mentioned, our hotel was right by a train hub, so getting to and from the various areas in Japan was very, very easy for us :).

On Day 1’s bright, sunny and COLD afternoon, we opted to take a leisurely stroll right outside the Imperial Palace, right by Hanzomon Gate.  According to the hotel reception, that area was lined with blooming cherry blossom trees.

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After taking the requisite photos and spending some time at the mini park for A, we dropped by Ginza for dinner and a little bit of Uniqlo shopping.

Our next day in Japan had a forecast for rain.  After hearing mass at St. Ignatius Church, we decided to spend the afternoon indoors at the Japanese Toy Museum.

What a charming and fun place!

Set in a quiet neighborhood in Yotsuya, in what looked to be like an old school building, the Toy Museum was basically two floors of various traditional and modern Japanese toys.

Not only was it a wonderful place for A to explore and enjoy, but admittedly, both the hubby and I had a great time too!  We spent hours playing, touching, feeling, and experimenting with the various toys on display.  I love that it was such an interactive place!  If you have small kids, this is definitely an awesome experience for them :).

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After the Toy Museum, we decided to stop by the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park for more cherry blossom sightings.  Unfortunately for us, while on our way there, we were told that the park closed at 430PM.  So, since we were already in the Shinjuku area anyway, we instead spent the rest of the evening at my craft haven–Tokyu Hands!  And boy did I rack up a bill!  Huhuhu :(!  Can’t resist all the kawaii stuff!

On our third day, we had a taste of something old and something new.  In the morning, we made a quick visit to Legoland Discovery Center at the Decks Mall in Odaiba.  Who doesn’t love Lego, right?

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Similar to our experience at the Toy Museum, it was a fun place, and truly for every member of the entire family!  I especially loved the miniature version of Tokyo, made entirely out of Lego bricks.  It was amazing!!!

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The little one enjoyed the play area very much, and insisted on building one lego tower after another.  She especially enjoyed using the big rubber lego pieces, and building towers that were taller than her!

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At around lunch time, we made our way back to the Minato District to visit Zojoji Temple.  I make it a point that every time we visit a place, we balance out the cultural and sightseeing stuff with the shopping, the eating, and the kiddie activities.  Although the great thing about A is that she enjoys the cultural stuff as well!

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Zojoji Temple definitely did not disappoint.  I liked that it was not as crowded as Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, and the grounds were actually more picturesque and Instagram-worthy–hahaha!  With the Tokyo Tower in the background, it’s hard not to take a great picture of the temple, especially during sunset!

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After Zojoji, we headed to Shibuya for some dinner.  It is unfortunate that in the two times I’ve been to Tokyo, I’ve not been able to spend more time to explore this area.  It can be a bit overwhelming because of the throngs of people that crowd the streets and sidewalks, but I’m sure the shopping must be wonderful!  Hahaha!  Oh well…maybe next year… :).

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By Tuesday, our last full day in Tokyo, I was already feeling the exhaustion from the activities of our trip.  Instead of packing our day in, we decided instead to take a leisurely stroll inside the Imperial Palace East Gardens, and while our morning away there.

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It was a beautifully warm day, and seeing people lay down and relax underneath the cherry blossom trees made me wish I had packed a picnic blanket and some lunch.  Hahaha!  But I guess that just gives me something to look forward to on our next trip here :).

Oh Tokyo, oh Tokyo.  I truly love you so!  Hoping we meet again next year, same time, same place! 🙂

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Road Trip : Pinto Art Gallery

While many people were off to their various destinations for this 3-day weekend, my familia ended up having a forced staycation due to pre-bought Wicked tickets.

Anyhoo, despite my initial wistfulness over not being able to spend the holiday out of town, I eventually just decided to make the most out of my family’s time in the city by exploring a new place that we’ve always been wanting to visit, but never get to.  For our first road trip of the year, we settled on trekking to Antipolo for a long overdue tour of Pinto Art Gallery.  Let me warn you in advance that this post will be quite picture heavy.  Hahaha!  As expected, the gallery grounds and the art were so beautiful (spoiler alert!), that I couldn’t resist clicking away on my iPhone. 🙂

Despite getting lost several times due to misguided directions from our GPS app, we finally reached Pinto after about an hour’s drive from Taguig.  It’s actually easier to just follow the map from their website.  Hahaha!  If we did so, it probably would’ve taken us only 30 minutes as traffic was quite light that day (another perk of staying in the city during a long holiday :)).

To get into the gallery, there is an entrance fee of Php150.  This entrance fee gives you access to all 5 galleries, as well as to the upper and lower gardens.

Here is what we saw at Pinto:

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Art sculptures and installations all over the place…

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A charming and rustic chapel with many antique pieces I would love to have in my own home!

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More sculptures and art in the garden…

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These were kinda freaky and had a “My Precious” kinda vibe to them, but it was also quite visually interesting especially the way there were displayed against the foliage.

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The architecture kind of reminded me of the structures you’d see in Texas or New Mexico (think: The Alamo).  I love the use of stark white, especially against the vibrant art work :).  According to Pinto’s website, the buildings were designed by Antonio Leano.

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We found this plaque right outside the entrance of Gallery 1.  Love the quote from Dr. Cuanang–the owner of Pinto–when he said, “This museum is dedicated to their art, to their dreams and to the times we live.”  Well said!  Did I mention that Pinto is purely a museum of contemporary Filipino art?  No masters here. Instead, as its name implies, it is an open venue for all kinds of modern art practice.  You’ll find a lot of new and up and comers here in the fields of painting, sculpture, and mixed media.

Personally, I think it is truly wonderful how places like these encourage more Filipino artists to create, by providing them a wonderful space to showcase their work.  I also think it makes art more accessible to everyone, less serious or for the “intellectual”, and definitely more fun!

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Here’s what we saw in Gallery 1…

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I found the pieces to be quite dark and dreary–not my style at all.  Hahaha!  I appreciated Gallery 2 more as it was filled with art from some of my favorite contemporary artists–Elmer Borlongan, Plet Bolipata, and Rodel Tapaya.

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The notorious Hari Sonik was on display in Gallery 2.  I find this character so intriguing, yet disturbing at the same time.  The H just finds him flat out freaky. Hahahaha!

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I was so drawn to this Borlongan painting.  Definitely not as “dark” as his others.

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There’s also a very cute cafe inside Pinto.  Too bad it was closed that day we were there.  I read somewhere that the cafe is operated by Bizu during the weekends. I’m not too sure if that is still true, though :).

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Going down the steps from the Pinto Cafe will lead you to Gallery 3.  Again, there were more interesting artworks to see…

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Can you believe these 2 different artworks were done by 1 artist? 🙂  Loving the reference to the jeepneys of old :).

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This was one of my favorite pieces…

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And now to the best part–Galleries 4 and 5.  These two spaces had the most interesting pieces, and the nicest displays–truly, a visual feast! 🙂

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Haha.

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A very timely “year of the horse” sculpture by Plet Bolipata.  I think there were 4 of her sculptures throughout the gallery!  I loooove her art!  Incidentally, Plet is Elmer Borlongan’s wife :).

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By Leeroy New, another artist that I admire very much :).

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Sweet ride :).  Even the little one thought so :).

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Before we get to Gallery 5, I would literally like to take a bathroom break.  Yes, I did take pictures of their bathrooms, but only because they were so pretty, and so clean!  Did I not tell you that there were just too many beautiful spaces in this place?!?  This bathroom is proof!  Hahahaha!  And that turquoise door…Haaaay! Soooo loving it! 🙂

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On to Gallery 5…

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I was particularly drawn to these paintings by Emanuel Garibay too.  Not like his usual paintings, these are very bright and colorful.  I like the subject matter as well, especially the ones with the women in it :).

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Throughout the gallery, you will find arched windows or doorways that open to spectacular views such as this one.

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“Sit at your own risk.”  A living room made entirely out of paper!

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There were also these 2 rooms we found at the last gallery–one looked like a bedroom, the other a den-slash-living room.  It made me wonder if they were meant to be used for gallery guests, or were they simply a space to display artwork as well?  Both rooms were very pretty :).

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What else is pretty at Pinto?  The view, ofcourse 🙂

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There are several rooftops in Pinto that give one a gorgeous view of the city. Definitely picture-worthy! And it was with this particular view that we ended our tour of the wonderful Pinto Art Gallery.  Like I said, no regrets that we ended up spending our holiday in the city, as we were finally able to visit this gem of a place :)!

A Day at the Museum

Looking for something to keep your curious and active toddler engaged?

If you’re like me, I am constantly challenged to keep my little miss busy and entertained.  Having been a pre-school teacher in my past life, I think I put extra pressure on myself to expose A to activities and experiences where she will learn new things and new skills.

Recently, we found ourselves on a holiday with nothing planned to do.  Rather than spending a perfectly good day indoors at home or at the mall, we decided to take the little miss to Museo Pambata or the Children’s Museum in Manila.

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What a wonderful place!!!

Not only is the building itself beautiful and historic, but I love that the displays were interesting, interactive and very educational.  It kept my little one busy for hours!!!

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The last time I was there was even before I took my Masters in New York–that was over 10 years ago!!!  But the museum looked very well maintained, and there were many displays there that I didn’t remember seeing before :).  So it was like seeing everything with fresh eyes :).

The first room we went to was called Old Manila.

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They had cool replicas of a Spanish galleon, the Binondo Church, and the Meralco tranvia :).

They also had reproductions of the facade of La Puerto del Sol, one of the first department stores in Manila, an old Bahay na Bato balcony, and models of a jeepney and kalesa.

I really felt as if I was going back in time!  Hahaha.  It made me a bit wistful too, though.  If only the real Old Manila could be restored back to its former glory :(. Wouldn’t that be something? 🙂

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Another themed room that A enjoyed was Kalikasan, a room where visitors are educated about the rainforest and marine life.

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This slide kept A occupied for a good 20 minutes :).  She just loved climbing up and going down by herself (she’s on a “I can do this by myself” stage–hahaha!)!

After that, she enjoyed doing some pretend play both at the rice fields and in the botika…

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Isn’t this bahay kubo too cute?  All the vegetables on display in front are from the Bahay Kubo song :).

The next room we visited was called The Global Village.  The current exhibit is on Singapore…

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The little one was immediately attracted to the instruments, and to the display of international dolls and puppets…

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There’s just something about banging and making loud noises that just draws toddlers in.  Hahahaha! 🙂

After The Global Village, we proceeded up the stairs to view the rest of the exhibits.  At the top of the stairs, this was the sight that greeted us…

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It was a tunnel-slash-entrance to My Body Works, another themed room that helps children to understand how organs in the body function.  At first A was a bit creeped out by the size of the head, but when Dada held her hand and she discovered the maze, that’s it!  She zipped off and started to explore :).

My personal favorite area in the entire museum was the Pamilihang Bayan or marketplacea row of typical shops that one would find in a Filipino neighborhood.  There was a barber shop, a vegetable shop, a seafood shop, a pharmacy, and a carinderia.  Pretend play heaven!!!

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Cute, right?  And fun, too!

The next room was a room on Career Options.  Currently, it is featuring a Writer’s and Illustrator’s Corner.  It was nice to see the work of some of my favorite Filipino illustrator’s on display :).

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I’ve actually always dreamed of publishing my own children’s book.  Still do.  So this room was particularly meaningful and inspiring for me :).

My daughter loves children’s books too!  She has luckily inherited my pretty extensive collection :).  Maybe one day we’ll be able to collaborate on one together :).  Why not, right? 🙂

The last of the exhibits was on I Love My Planet Earth.  The interactive displays discussed climate change, and gave tips on how to save our planet.

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Of all the items in the room, A immediately zeroed in on a big red truck!  Hahaha! What can I say, my daughter loves cars! 🙂

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Look at how happy she is up there! 🙂

As you can tell, we had an amazing time at Museo Pambata!  Mission accomplished too!  Not only was my daughter thoroughly engaged, but I’m sure she learned a lot of new things too!

Even the hubby and I had a lot of fun!  It’s a bit cliche, but I really felt like a kid again 🙂  Hahaha!  Certainly, it was an afternoon well spent 🙂

So if you find yourself with some free time in the city and have nothing to do, try making your way to the Museo Pambata!  Certainly, it’s a place for good ol’ fashioned fun and learning for the entire family! 🙂

Admission : Php100

Hours of Operation :

8AM-5PM Tuesdays to Saturdays

1PM-5PM Sundays

http://www.museopambata.org