Thursday, March 7, 2013


We've been wondering how Angono, Rizal (Morong province of yore) transformed into the "arts capital of the Philippines" while looking at a croquis (sketch map) of the town and nearby areas that we found in a bundle of manuscripts titled Obras Publicas (public works) 1849-1895 in the National Archives. 

There's no accompanying explanation to this map, which could be a part of a construction plan of several hojas  possibly for the reconstruction of the church, marked and tagged here as 'arruinada' (ruined or in ruins). The church and the casa hacienda were neighbors in the center of town, the typical plaza complex of our Spanish past.

The town as drawn was framed by a forested area, Mt. Jumara, and two caminos (roads), one going to Taitai [Taytay] and the other to Binangunan [Binangonan].  The sitios of Lagundi and Macagutum are also shown, which likely had morphed into political barangays or residential villages with new names; but are they still part of Angono?

Sketch map of Angono showing the location of the town church and town hall.  This could have been drawn after 1863 when many churches and public buildings were destroyed by an earthquake.

The map tells us that Angono was a farming community, which may explain why San Isidro Labrador is their patron saint, who is honored with a colorful procession of carabaos pulling carts laden with farm products during his feast day on 15 May.  It's a carabao festival in Angono, and the Pahiyas in Lucban on that same thanksgiving day.

A thousand years before Christ, rock artists already left petroglyphs in caves easily accessible from today's town center. We've been planning to trek to the caves to see these rock paintings. The ancient painters could have borne the genes that brought forth centuries later the likes of national artist Botong Francisco, today's popular painters Nemiranda and the Blanco family, among many others.

May be the same genes gave Angono an ear for music. In our mind, we are listening to national artist Lucio San Pedro's lullaby Sa Ugoy ng Duyan, and concerts of the town's bands and the youth symphony orchestra.

An artist built Balaw-Balaw restaurant.  The same genes from ancient times may have remembered the potency of flavors past and brought forth this restaurant's unusual/exotic foods.

It's time to visit Angono again. We think that the best time would be during their Summer Arts Festival 2013, anytime from 22 April, when it kicks off with the Earth Day celebration, until the end of  May.

We appreciate our Facebook friend from Angono who plays music at Disneyland Hongkong for passing around the schedule of festival events.  There's a Saranggola Festival, the traditional Santacruzan and the San Isidro Festival, all in May, among some workshops on the arts in the calendar of activities.

A different "petroglyph" at the Nemiranda Art House, a short walk away from Balaw-Balaw

 Definitely, we'll see higantes (giant puppets) prowling around during the festivities although folk lore tells that the name Angono was derived from ang nuno, the dwarf-like creature of Pinoy mythology.


1.  MS.  Obras Publicas 1849-1895.  National Archives of the Philippines.

2.  Angono Tourism Office.  Angono Summer Arts Festival 2013 poster/flyer.

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