November is a very festive month for the municipality of Angono, the art capital of the country. Aside from the main Higantes Festival which usually happens on the 3rd week of November, there are pockets of activities leading to and after the event. If one plans to experience the Angono Higantes Festival, it’ll be a good idea to stay in town. One place I would recommend is Villa Jhoana Resort, a seven-room elegant pool villa strategically in the heart of Angono.
It used to be that the towering wind turbines of Bangui in Ilocos Norte was the sole site where people can marvel at these slender sentinels watching over the sea. Now, in barangay Halayhayin in Pililia, Rizal, these megastructures were erected on the undulating hills sloping along the scenic Laguna Lake. With only a couple of hours away from Metro Manila, where the country’s leading demand for electricity is at its highest, not only would the Pililia Rizal Wind Farm be able to supply renewable energy in a close proximity, but people like me who marvels such machinery in a beautiful nature backdrop would be ecstatic not to travel more than 500 km just to see them.
While my first few travels revolved around the mountains, I must admit that I haven’t climbed a lot lately. When a good ol balikbayan (back to the country) climb buddy invited for a day-climb for the weekend at Mt Batolusong, I got curious. Where the heck is that mountain? I haven’t heard that before. A quick google search brought out some interesting photos of grasslands and a waterfall in the vicinity. Hey! Why not? It’s only in nearby Tanay and I get to catch up with a fellow alumni from my university. Saturday. 3am. I’m up for the climb.
I didn’t travel that much the month of July this year, but I did take on one of the most interesting magazine feature I’ve done so far. Maybe I was looking for a change than the usual destination stories on beaches, hotels or food but more on the people and personalities. The InFlight Magazine assignment brought me around the different towns around Laguna de Bay to discover the creativity, the richness of the culture and the masters of art. I have written them on the blog yet but it’s something to look forward to. Here’s to give you an idea.
I think it was way way back in college when I first heard about the Angono Petroglyhs. I even did a short paper on it before that required me to visit the site. It wasn’t as popular before and not many people knew about it. In Angono, we had to hire a tryke to take us to the foot of the mountain in Binangonan, from then climb up and find the site on foot. It was an exhausting and exhilarating experience and once we found the site, it was like a great discovery for us. 10 years after, I had the chance to go back here on assignment. So what have changed from then?
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.