Hello, my dear readers! I’m here again with another of my fascinating experience in Philippine’s festivals.
Last November 20,2016, I traveled to Angono, Rizal with my fiancé and witnessed their well-known Higantes Festival. It was a very memorable experience for both of us since it was also the first festival that my fiancé had seen in the Philippines, we really enjoyed the street parade!
Less than two hours away from Manila, also known as the Art Capital of the Philippines, Angono, Rizal celebrates the feast day of St. Clement (Pope Clement I) every 23rd of November. As what I’ve said in my previous posts, Philippines is a religious country, and most towns were named after patron saints. Once a year, most towns have a fiesta (feast day) or celebration in the honor of their patron saint.
However, this said festival in Angono was quite a bit different from those that I’ve been to! They used giant paper-mâché which is called the Higantes, that may stand around 12 feet or more. They were also molded to look like a real human. In fact, some of them were molded after a known personality in their place (town mayor, brand or company founder, etc.). Dressed in colorful costumes, they made their way through the streets dancing with the brass band. In some street dance competitions that I’ve seen before, participants were from different schools, but in Higantes festival, different big companies and barangays (villages) were the contributors.
It started more than a century ago when the people of Angono made this massive paper-mâché looking alike their Spanish landlords. Way back then, the town only had a family of Higantes. But during the late 80’s, the thirteen barangays (villages) of Angono started to participate with two or three giant paper-mâché. And in the present, around forty representatives have their Higantes parading on the streets of the town.
We only had the chance to see the street parade due to the planned side trips around the Art capital of the Philippines. I had to beg my fiancé to wake up early in the morning for us to witness the parade. Because my town is about more than three hours away from Angono, and we’re lucky enough not to face traffic that time.
However, aside from the grand parade, they had other different fun activities too!
Click HERE for more photos!
Did you know?
The only part that is made out of paper-mâché is the head. The body is made of bamboo strips (or light metal) and dressed up with colorful fabrics. With these materials, it will be easier for a person to carry it and dance on the street. Yes! There’s a person inside! Amazing, isn’t it? I think that whoever invented this was a genius! It’s like a cheaper version of a mascot!
How to get there?
We were from Bulacan, so we needed to take a bus going to Cubao. As I was saying to my fiancé, Cubao is the center point of every transport station going outside of Manila, whether you’re going North, South, East or West. Bus terminals are all over, as well as jeepneys and vans (mini bus).
If you’re already in Cubao, walk towards SM Cubao or Ali Mall. Along P. Tuazon Blvd., look for jeepneys going to Angono. Just tell the driver you’re going to Angono. As easy as that! Travel time might take more or less than an hour; it really depends if you’ll encounter traffic along the way.
The Art Capital of the Philippines has a lot to offer other than Higantes festival. I really recommend visiting some art museums and restaurants of the area when you visit. Like what we did when we visited the rock shelter in Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs National Museum! And that will be next blog post!
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