The Silangan Gardens has to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the country. Designed to follow the natural contours and lush vegetation of hilly Antipolo City, it has a quaint rustic charm. But the outdoor artworks and installations made the vast tropical garden very sophisticated and elemental at the same time.
From Pinto Art Gallery, we stepped out into an expansive garden. As we walk around its open grounds, we wowed at a variety of outdoor art installations.
Partly hidden by lush deep green foliage is a small colonial-inspired chapel. We swung open the huge door to experience the old-world allure inside.
The chapel’s side chambers house a collection of antique religious statuaries. The mellow colored lighting from multi-colored stained glass windows and the ivory statues make this sanctuary an intimate space for prayer.
A narrow path from the chapel leads to the Monk’s Cottage. This space is built to feature selected fine works of art and craft items for sale. At the end of the narrow space is an Elmer Borlongan mural.
From small trinkets to sculptures, paintings and artifacts, unique items like ceramics, pottery, glass art, woodwork, terracotta sculpture, weaving, and art books can be purchased. We personally like the Inday sculpture by Jacky Alano.
Following a vine-covered side staircase, we landed onto the rooftop garden which offers a breathtaking view of the glistening swimming pool and the Metro Manila skyline.
Below the graceful staircase is a walkway leading to the artists’ cabin. The Silangan Gardens is home to the Silangan Foundation for the Arts, Culture and Ecology. The foundation aims to promote Philippine contemporary art through programs such fostering artist residencies and dialogues.
Three resident artists’ rooms providing artists with studio spaces and opportunities for production overlooks the back garden.
From the artists’ cabin, we followed the winding footpaths leading to the back garden. Shy geckos immediately jumped into one of the several lagoons in the back garden. Artworks continues to overflow in this part of the garden. Our favorite is a disturbing sculpture of a man with his back smothered with snails. There is also a picturesque bridge assembled out of discarded logs, laid over a pond filled with water plants.
Walking down further revealed more of the garden’s tropical-Asian styles, consisting of detached pavilions built over mounds and pools and connected by walkways. A torched-lined path leads to a bamboo cottage that resembles an Ifugao hut. Another hut, in Balinese-style is built on a bamboo deck over a lagoon.