Angono

A Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and– Oh wait, that’s The Amazing Race. On this blog, a Detour would be any short trips I’d be taking that don’t quite fall under an actual “vacation,” but do allow me to explore the area.

On a whim, I headed to Angono last Friday, November 21. It was an impromptu trip that came about because of the 5th Neo-Angono Artists Collective Public Art Festival. I wanted to check out the art, which I’d always heard was thriving in Angono.

I was completely unprepared for the trip. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and the trip got off on the wrong foot when laziness took over and I ended up leaving for Angono in the afternoon. I went to Aurora Blvd. to figure out how to get there. After about 10-15 minutes of waiting, I hopped on a jeep that was headed straight to Angono.

The jeepney ride was approximately an hour long, and just my luck, it started to rain.

I really wasn’t sure where I was going, but I got off at the municipal hall. I figured that was a good place to start; besides, I saw a tarp advertising the art festival, so that was a good sign.

Angono - 5th Neo-Angono Artists Collective Public Art Festival

I also found out that it was the town fiesta that weekend, celebrating the feast of San Clemente (Saint Clement), the patron saint of Angono. Unfortunately for me, the festivities would take place on Saturday and Sunday, and I’d be missing everything. Oh well.

I decided to explore the muncipality on foot, trying to figure out where the art was. Luckily for me, I saw another spot with the tarp for the festival. I found myself on Dona Aurora St. Almost every wall fronting every house had a… I’m not quite sure what the word for it is. Carving? Etching? Either way, each house had a reproduction of a Botong Francisco painting on its wall. It was a really pretty sight.

Angono - Dona Aurora St.

The spot with the tarp for the festival was The Second Gallery, which is being run by Carlos “Totong” Francisco II, grandson of National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco. A new exhibit had just opened: Reconstruction Site. The gallery features art by Allan Alcantara, Aaron Bautista, Jon Santos, and of course, Carlos “Totong” Francisco II.

Angono - Reconstruction Site

The artist himself was there, and he explained that the exhibition space was smaller than it normally was because his grandfather’s house was being renovated. It was nice seeing different styles of art, and equally gratifying to know that new artists are still churning out work these days.

Angono - Carlos "Totong" Francisco II

The Second Gallery is located at 217 Dona Aurora St., Poblacion Itaas, Angono, Rizal. You can contact them at (02) 295-7864 or (0917) 953-1104, or email them at thesecondgallery@yahoo.com. Gallery hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm from Monday to Friday, and by appointment on Saturday and Sunday. Reconstruction Site runs until December 6.

Angono - The Second Gallery

I picked up a brochure from The Second Gallery and found that most of the main events were either in progress, or were done already. I decided to continue exploring on foot, and I found myself at Maysha Hotel. They were running an exhibit called A View from the Dark, featuring kinutkot paintings by Aga Francisco, another grandson of Botong Francisco. Kinutkot paintings involve coloring a canvass with a certain color, covering it with black paint, then etching out a design, revealing the color underneath. It was an amazing exhibit, and the style matched the tone of the images portrayed.

Angono - Kinutkot Painting

Rates for a Deluxe Queen room at the Maysha Hotel are 2,000pesos per night on weekdays, and 2,500pesos per night on weekends; cost is 500pesos more for a corner room. Rate includes breakfast for two persons, complimentary bottled mineral water and coffee in the room, free two bottles of beer at Club Inertia, and free parking. The exhibit runs until December 2008.

Angono - Maysha Hotel

I headed back to the municipal hall, where I found myself viewing The Hive, a piece of installation art. The display was fascinating, and definitely, well, hive-like. The display itself was encased in walls of bubble wrap, and I spotted a few people popping the bubble wrap. There openings were small and low, and little kids would crawl inside. I guess that’s one way of introducing art to children.

Angono - The Hive

After viewing the obligatory Jose Rizal monument, I discovered that fiesta time in Angono also means it’s time for the Higantes Festival. (Unfortunately for me, the actual festival was the next day, which I was going to miss because of a previous engagement.) The colorful paper mache giants were on display outside the municipal hall, each one seemingly sponsored by assorted companies. Heck, the Eveready cat was also in attendance!

Angono - Higantes

After a quick merienda, I was assaulted by the sound of drums beside the public market. A troop was soliciting donations for the ati-atihan (not quite sure if they meant the actual Kalibo festival, or just a local version), and they were going stall-to-stall, banging their drums and doing tricks (like eating fire). It was a nice little immersive experience, though my ears were ringing from the banging of the drums.

Angono - Street Performers

Exploring the streets of Angono led me to some peculiar sights. Remnants of installations in the river from the day before remained.

Angono

A banner with the word JACKASS in big red letters was raised proudly on one street.

Angono

I also found a big house with a golden replica of the Statue of Liberty in front of it.

Angono

Another house had a fish on display and “APONIBOYONG” written outside. Hmm.

Angono

I ended up back at Dona Aurora St., snapping more pictures. I found out that Carlos “Botong” Francisco was not the only National Artist that Angono produced. I saw the home of composer Lucio D. San Pedro, whose most famous composition was Sa Ugoy ng Duyan. (I’m sure you’ve all heard that song, and you can check out the lyrics here.) The walls of his house were painted with the notes to that composition.

Angono - Lucio D. San Pedro

Also along Dona Aurora St. was the barangay hall, which had more of the Botong recreations, including his costume designs for LVN Pictures. Further down the road was San Clemente Church, whose exterior was festooned with banderitas in preparation for the festival activities.

Angono - San Clemente Church

I headed back to the plaza trying to figure out my next move, and I saw that The Hive was lit up.

After a bit of more walking, I found myself along Manila East Road Highway, where I spotted Balaw-Balaw Restaurant. Balaw-Balaw – which means “fermented shrimp” – also doubles as an art gallery for artist Perdigon Vocalan. I was given a tour of the galleries, which included paintings and various sculptures (including a life-sized Last Supper). I even got to see his last – and unfinished – works.

Across the street from Balaw-Balaw was Tatay Mesio’s Inihaw at Binalot, which was hosting a gallery opening that, unfortunately, I couldn’t attend, because I had to head back home. Luckily for me, I was greeted by one more work of art before leaving: A decorated tricycle given the name ARTODA. A website URL on the trike reveals that it was decorated by the Anino Shadowplay Collective.

Angono - ARTODA

And so, I reluctantly went back home, disappointed that I missed most of the fun stuff, but with the resolve to return and explore more. There are other galleries I missed, and in a couple of months, new exhibits will be up.

To view all the photos full-size, check out my Multiply site, particularly these albums: