6 Places To Visit in Angono, Rizal This Long Weekend
Take a day trip to this artists' haven in Rizal and enjoy local art with a side order of culture and exotic food
Who hasn't heard of Angono's popular Higantes Festival, with its giant papier mache figures trooping down the streets? (This festival is held every November 22 and 23.) You may also have heard that Angono, Rizal, is the hometown of Carlos "Botong" Francisco and Lucio San Pedro, two of our National Artists for Visual Arts and Music. And not without reason, because this small town east of Manila has come to be known for its Filipino artists.
Even religious rites such as the Easter salubong (Easter parade) are imbued with artistic interventions that have become a part of its local tradition. But it is because of Francisco that Angono first began to be recognized as a haven for artists. In the production of huge murals, he took on helpers and apprentices. Botong's generous spirit continued to inspire fellow artists as well as aspiring ones that, in the early 1970s, several years after his death, the Angono Ateliers Association was formed.
Angono artists have a strong consciousness of being rooted in their tradition, yet their works are diverse in both style and content, ranging from realism to expressionism to abstraction, from the traditional to the post-modern. So, if one is in search of artworks to buy, Angono is indeed one of the places to visit. Here are some of the places in Angono where one may buy or simply view the myriad selection of artwork, and experience Angono culture, as well:
Balaw-Balaw Folk Food & Folk Art Specialty Restaurant
This restaurant-cum-gallery/museum was put up by the late Angono artist Perdigon Vocalan. His works, focusing on the mythic otherworld inhabited by engkantos, are showcased in the museum section of the restaurant, the Ang Nuno Artists Gallery. The works of other Angono artists can also be found here, some of which are for sale. The restaurant is now run by Perdigon's widow Luzvimin.
At Balaw-Balaw, not only can you dine on exotic fare like uok (beetle larvae), itik (duck chicks), or kuhol (snails), and buy bottled food items like balaw-balaw (a sauce made of fermented shrimps and other ingredients), burong dalag, and burong hito. You can also buy souvenir Angono items like miniature papier mache Higantes, keychains, and masks.
Doña Justa St., Doña Justa Village Phase I, Brgy. San Roque; tel. (02) 651-0110, or visit their website.
Blanco Family Museum
This family museum showcases Jose "Pitok" Blanco's paintings, as well as those of his wife and children. The style of this family of painters' works is realism, bordering on the photographic. Most depict not only Angono and its traditions, but also Filipinos in various Philippine religious and cultural traditions and festivals all over the country. These belong to their private collection and are available only for viewing. There are, however, some works by the patriarch and his children (and grandchildren!) outside the museum proper that are for sale. Aside from the works of the Blanco family, some works of some members of the Angono Artists' Association, as well as postcards and books on the Blanco family's works are also for sale.
312 Ibañez St., Brgy. San Vicente; tel. (02) 651-0048; email blancomuseum[at]yahoo.com
Tiamson Art Gallery
Orville Tiamson is a musician and trans-media artist. He also comes from a family of artists: His father Dominador was a painter, too, and so is his brother Tristan. His sister Liezel is a talented musician-composer. Orville's works range from the figurative to the non-figurative, in varying styles and mediums, including drawings on paper, oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, mixed media collages, and constructions and installations.
203 Doña Nieves St., Brgy. Sto. Niño; tel. (02) 651-0066, 710-7032; mobile 0917-732-5309; email orvilletiamson[at]yahoo.com
The Second Gallery
Owned and managed by the grandson of Botong, Carlos "Totong" Francisco II, The Second Gallery is a small gallery that occasionally holds exhibits showcasing up-and-coming artists in Angono. Veering away from the style of his grandfather, Totong's own works (see them here), are mostly non-figurative abstractions.
His paintings, as well as the paintings of other Angono artists, are for sale here. Incidentally, the gallery is just beside the old house of Botong Francisco, some of whose sketches are also for sale here.
217 Doña Aurora St., Brgy. Poblacion Itaas; tel. (02) 661-0598, or follow the gallery on Facebook page.
Angono's tradition of art goes far back—5,000 years to be exact—with the Angono Petroglyphs in Binangonan. The prehistoric rock carvings, said to be the oldest known work of art in the Philippines, are found in what used to be known as the Layang-Layang Cave, near Gulod ng Dayap in the mountains of Angono (actually part of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range).
Yab Design, Inc./AAA Antique Reproductions & Decorations, Inc.
Sculptures, statues, décor, and furniture made of polyester resin reinforced with fiberglass are the specialty of Yab Design, Inc. Headed by Jakob Van Der Hulst, a Dutchman residing in the Philippines, the company has been in existence since 1990. Its pool of artistic talents is made up of mostly local residents of Angono. They take special pride in the making of life-size and larger-than-life figurines of all kinds with quality detail, finishing, and designs. Name it—animal figures, human figures, Christmas items, home décor, garden décor, furniture, etc.—and they'd probably have it.
Located between Iglesia ni Cristo and the Meralco Office at Quezon Avenue, Brgy. San Isidro; tel. (02) 651-1068, 651-1015, 651-1095; email info[at]yabdesign.com; or visit their website.
This article “Let’s Go, Angono!” originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of Real Living magazine. The RL editors have made updates to the contact information.
More on Realliving.com.ph