The Higantes walks the streets of Angono, Rizal during the Feast of San Clemente
Higantes (giants) Festival is what the people of Angono, Rizal calls this grand celebration. It’s a bit ironic coming from a town whose name came from a dwarf (“Ang Nuno“). I’ve been trying to catch this event every 23rd of November but failed miserably. Either I’m also out of town or it’s a work day. Finally, finally I was able to experience this gigantic celebration on this famed Artist Village.
The giants align. A Paper Mache art from taken from Mexico.
This gigantic parade of 12 feet high paper mache started last century when a Angono was still a hacienda of a Spanish Lord. And since it was expensive to have numerous feast at that time, the landlord allowed only one feast per year,that is the Feast of Patron Saint San Clemente. And since then Filipino were a party people prefering more feast, and dismayed by this decision, they just decided to make the best of it. The made the feast grand and adopted an art from from Mexico, brought by the spanish priest and made giant “caricature” paper maches of thir landlords.
The paraders gathered in front of the church.
I was already there 5:30 am, and since I haven’t been here for like 2 years or so, I forgot my way around and asked for directions on where to find the church where the procession would start. GMA 7’s Eagle was already there, preparing for a live broadcast on Unang Hirit. And amidst the crowd a reader from this blog D, spotted me and joined the photo shoot. Slowly, paraders from each barangay shows up with their brand of unique and coloful costumes. And before you know it the place in front of the church is jam packed!
Giants made from the image of Angono’s two National Artist, Botong Francisco and Lucio San Pedro.
It was a wet and wild procession. On the while we were trying to catch up with the giants in front, we were sprayed and thrown buckets of water. I dunno how you would get out there without being wet. It was fun though, but I have to watch out for my camera, lest I damage it from the water. And I also have to watch out for the water (mamya kinuha sa kanal eh). There were this two well made giants in the procession, one was holding a color pallette and the other on a stick used by music conductors. I thought it was Marcos at first , turns out it was two of the national artist that came from the village – Carlos “Botong” Francisco in the field of visual arts and Professor Lucio D. San Pedro in the field of music.
The Pagoda in Laguna Lake
The procession ends once they have reached the waters of Laguna de Bay. Once, the Patron Saint arrive it will be placed on this giant Pagoda where it will taken around the lake along with a number of people it can hold. That later part we didn’t stay to see since the procession was very long, around 11pm the patron saint is still within the center of the city. Though we have to go early (work beckons again) I enjoyed the experience, the colour and the wet and wild party!
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.