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Tips and Guides

6 Cool Art Galleries That Are Worth The Trip

In these Manila galleries, you’ll not only see great art, you’ll get a history lesson, play with space, get decorating ideas, and have a cup of coffee as well!

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Photography: Ocs & Kurt Alvarez

Whether you’re starting a serious art collection or considering buying a single painting for your new home, you should visit a legitimate art gallery for your acquisition, as it would have original pieces and give a background on the artist and their works.  

Sounds intimidating? Perhaps you should go to an art gallery wherein the visit is an experience unto itself. In this roundup, we show you galleries that will inspire you with its culture, history, sights, sounds, and even tastes!

Kulay Diwa Gallery of Filipino Contemporary Art

Tucked inside a quiet Parañaque village, Kulay Diwa does not look like a gallery at all, but rather, an esoteric, art-filled Mediterranean home. Owner Bobbit Velasco set up this gallery in 1987 to feature up-and-coming artists, and eventually, these works extended from the gallery space to the rest of his home. Kulay Diwa’s recently exhibited works by artists Marzz Capanang, Jay Iwayan, and Anthony Panugao.

Don’t miss: The refreshing garden, which has beautiful landscaping and even a pool. At 25 Lopez Ave., Lopez Village, Sucat, Parañaque, tel. (02) 624-4344.

Avellana Art Gallery

Founded in 1997, Avellana Art Gallery (also seen in main photo above, left) as always been located in many interesting enclaves, mostly old houses. Since the early-2000s, owner Albert Avellana has run his gallery in this post-war house in the bucolic heritage compound 2680 FB Harrison. Check out the beautifully decorated house-turned-gallery, filled with works by Mac Valdezco, Eugene Jarque, Impy Pilapil, and Joey Cobcobo, among many others.

Don’t miss: The bougainvillea-laden house at the back of the main gallery, which carries even more works of art. At 2680 FB Harrison, Pasay City, tel. (02) 833-8357.

Sigwada Art Gallery

The traffic app Waze often directs commuters through this San Andres Bukid street if they’re traveling from Makati towards Malate, but if you have time, do stop by this off-the-beaten-track gallery! Located on the 4th floor of a residential building, Sigwada will first surprise you with an open exhibit space on its ground floor garage. Featured artists include Singapore-based Michael Cu Fua (above right), Sam Penaso, and Alexandrea Dioso. A tip: call first before heading out there.

Don’t miss: The roofdeck. There is a hut made out of bits and pieces of the owner’s old house, and on exhibit nights, a band plays here. At Jose Isidora Bldg., 2212 Nakar St., San Andres Bukid, Manila, tel. (02) 743-5873

Monteverde Gallery

Also called M Gallery, visiting this gallery owned by Jeane Enriquez Monteverde is a visual treat. The prewar ancestral mansion was owned by Mariano Enriquez and is hidden from busy Taft Avenue by a simple gate. Aside from big and small works by Filipino masters Alcuaz, Vicente Manansala, and HR Ocampo, there are beautiful oriental antiques on the upper floors.

Don’t miss: The amazing architectural details. The prewar house has classical revival features on its façade, and Art Deco railings, decorations, and windows in the interiors. At 2131 Taft Ave. cor. Gil Puyat Jr. Ave., Manila, tel. (02) 551-6343.

Aphro

The first thing you’ll see in this funky art gallery is the flight of stairs ascending to the mezzanine, with an actual slide on one side. They also have a peephole on the floor of the mezzanine, but do direct your attention to the artwork, which include paintings, sculptures, and functional art pieces by the likes of Ling Quisumbing, Kawayan de Guia, Joey de Castro, and Leeroy New.

Don’t miss: Their occasional pop-ups of artists and handmade sellers so do check out their page every so often. At the Alley at Karrivin, 2316 Chino Roces Ave. Ext., Makati City.

Vongarde Art Gallery

On the ground floor of an unassuming building along Katipunan is a gallery that is a café, or rather, a café that is a gallery! It’s a nice and quiet place to see new faces in art (featured artists include Claudine Delfin and Sam Penaso), soak up the university scene, and have a cup of Bukidnon coffee with a side order of matcha-black sesame cheesecake.

Don’t miss: Their Spoken Word nights and art workshops (they do one-on-one workshops, too). Check out their page for announcements. At ALCAL Bldg., 285 Katipunan Ave., Quezon City, tel. (02) 952-1947.

PHOTOS Ocs Alvarez, At Maculangan, Kurt Alvarez

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