“You can never visit the same place twice. Each time, it’s a different story. By the very act of coming back, you wipe out what came before.”
Written words by Maureen Johnson, in her best-selling novel, The Last Little Blue Envelope. For me, the latter is more of renewing what came before and going even further. And it’s true when touring Angono plus its neighboring town of Binangonan.
To Welcome National Arts Month, Drive hosted the Poblacion Crawl in Angono town proper last Saturday, February 1, 2020. It was a walking tour from Angono municipal hall to Blanco Family Museum, then to Carlos “Botong” Francisco studio home. Ms. Lady Mendiola, from Angono Tourism, was in the lead. She also directed us to two more significant stops in between.
St. Clement Parish Church
Angono’s patron saint is known as The “Patron of the Fishermen” Saint Clement of Rome or Pope Clement I. It’s an apt choice as fishing is one of the main sources of income for the locals. His feast day, November 23, is also happens to be the town fiesta when the town comes alive. Aside from being a place of worship, it also houses an original Madonna painting by renowned Carlos “Botong” Francisco.
Doña Aurora Street Art Gallery
At the heart of the town is a 300 meter open-air art gallery. It’s life-size mural exhibitions, starting from the corner of Quezon Avenue through Doña Aurora Street down to the intersection at Capt. Allano Street. On display are replicas of the works of the National Artists for Visual Arts and Angono native, Carlos ”Botong” Francisco. These concrete murals were carved and sculpted by Charlie Anorico from 2007-2010 to pay homage to Botong.
Another masterpiece that hails the same street is a visual interpretation of a lullaby. The widely acclaimed composition of Lucio D. San Pedro, National Artist for Music, was brought to life with steel music sheets and sculpted lyrics. Each musical note represents the Maestro’s soulful musical compositions.
Walking around the town counts is a great way to get in your 10,000 steps. That workout makes for a gigantic appetite. And before we knew it, it’s chow time!
A hip but laid back restaurant and art gallery is the place to be for higante appetite. “Its name is ”short for ‘ang new Angono’ or the new Angono,” said the owner, Ms. Vangie Calleon, the owner, as she took our orders.
Artworks on display in this three-story space were made by artists from Rizal province, from paintings to woodcraft to sculptures. The food in itself were works of culinary art. Their higante meals which we’re having are literal huge servings of either fish, pork, or chicken, with rice, egg, and veggies. Each plate is a perfect blend of flavors and colors. Italian chef kisses all over!
Angkla Art Gallery
A fairly new art space in town, Angkla Art Gallery, claims to be an artist haven in the east. The gallery opened in May 2017 atop a café and tea shop. Its name serves as homage to the town’s patron saint, St. Clement of Rome, who was executed by being thrown into the sea whilst tied to an anchor.
Quite literally, Angkla or anchor, moors local arts to the world while keeping one’s distinctive character and nationalism intact. Angkla also serves as a watercraft exhibition for established and up-coming Filipino artists, not only limited to painters but open to all kinds of craftsmen. The gallery also serves as a learning vessel for art appreciation and preservation through tight community interaction.
Tiamson Art Gallery
Hailing from a family of artists, Orville Tiamson of the Tiamson Art Gallery harmonizes music and paintings together. Right at the gate of the property, we hear the deep trance-like background music. Orville, the eldest child of a painter father and a musician mother, maintains the gallery today. He started from his doodles during childhood then majored in Painting at UST. His early works leaned towards cubism, Picasso was a cubist, that became bent lines using an abstract approach later on. His love for both music and painting is evident as he blends both crafts and creates a set of illusory imageries intended to capture the audience’s collective mind. “You’ll see the image after a bottle of Jack Daniel’s,” he jokingly explains his paintings in-progress.
Then we set off from the captor of the collective mind to the house of imaginative figurism, Nemiranda Art House. And then up the hills of Angono-Binangonan we went.
Thunderbird Resorts and Casino Binangonan
Tucked in a highland valley at the Sierra Madre range in Binangonan, Rizal, lies a luxury resort. Suddenly, as we made our way inside the property, a thousand LED tulips awaited us at the roundabout, en-route to the oldest known art site in the Philippines, the Angono – Binangonan Petroglyphs.
Such a fully-packed tour!
ArtSector Gallery and Chimney Café 360o
We definitely saved the best for last. Nestled on top of the hilly part of Binangonan is the newest cradle of arts, the ArtSector Gallery and Chimney Café 360. It’s the dream property of the multi-awarded visual artist and owner, Antonio Leaño. Art Sector has a 360 view of Binangonan but with rocky terrain. Instead of becoming a disappointment, it became the inspiration for the design of the property, Cycladic architecture feels. Visual art paired with freshly baked pizza and cold beer by the sunset…I kid you not, we’re not getting tired of this any time soon.
We’re definitely going further in Angono-Binangonan on our next tour! There’s more of Rizal to see. Immerse in folk art and local food culture with us. From National Arts Month and Beyond.