Ginger Paws Outdoors

Higantes Festival in Angono, Rizal

Higantes blog title 2

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!

Higantes Festival

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!

Higantes Festival

Higantes Festival

Higantes Festival

Higantes Festival

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.

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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!


A Side Trip To Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs

CalacAtchara Festival

Angel Festival

Singkaban Festival

About Gracie Gill

A hobbyist photographer enjoying her life through arts, music, traveling and getting fit. A proud crazy cat lady.

49 thoughts on “Higantes Festival in Angono, Rizal

    1. Gracie Surio Post author

      Yes, and what’s more amazing are the people inside that can manage to make those giants dance. imagine the weight of it.. it’s really worth the travel just to see them 🙂

    1. Gracie Surio Post author

      Hi Colleen, I’m glad to know you have friends from the Philippines. You should visit here in the future. Beaches are beautiful and if you’re into hiking, it has loads of mountains to choose from! and about the festivals, just check the internet which town will have their festival the time you’re coming here 🙂

  1. Kat

    What a great event! Looks like it’s full of colours and good energy! It must be like recharging your batteries for the whole year:) Nice pictures as well.

  2. Jenna VanHoof

    Wow! This article was very fascinating! So were the photos, it’s amazing that you got to see this unique cultural experience up close and personal!
    I did not know the Philippines did this kind of festival 😮 it was an amazing and interesting read!

    May I suggest adding a pin it button for Pinterest to your blog? It could help boost traffic 🙂

    1. Gracie Surio Post author

      Hi Jenna, Philippines has loads of festivals all year round, and during my 6 months stay here, I was lucky enough to experience (some) of them. It was really fun! Something that I’ll definitely miss about the Philippines.

      Oh thank you for notifying me about the pin it button, I knew I set it up but until you told me, I didnt know it wasnt there. Bless you! x

  3. Ash

    Angono used to be one of my stamping grounds as I have friends who live there. However, I have never witnessed this Higantes Festival up close and personal, but would love to see this in the future.

    1. Gracie Surio Post author

      Hi Ash, it is really nice. When I found out that the festival will happen during my stay here in the Philippines, I really dragged my fiancé to go even we were so busy. And we had to wake up early in the morning!

  4. Erin

    Those Higantes look so awesome! I bet it’s so neat to see a whole parade of them as they are truly a work of art! I was so surprised when you said there was a person inside of them, how neat is that!?

    1. Gracie Surio Post author

      Hello Erin, I agree, those people inside were truly amazing! Imagine, they had to carry that massive paper mâché while dancing and the parade was may be around 2-3 km far!

  5. R U S S

    I’m sure that this has been super fun for you. I got a chance to be up close a higantes for an event that I did. I wanted to try to ‘carry’ it but it is heavy. I hope to experience this festival too.

    1. Gracie Surio Post author

      I’m glad you were able to be up close with the higantes. I agree those might be really heavy, because I think some of them are now using light metals instead of bamboo strips.

  6. Rose

    What a fun parade. I can only imagine how fun it is to make your own person and carry it in the parade. It’s neat they celebrate their namesake saints.

  7. Neni

    That´s interesting! I never heard of it. Even though it sounds quite intriguing and definitely like a lot of work, when you see how detailed the figures are.

  8. mira pstr

    I did not have a chance to attend festival in my life, this one looks fantastic, the figure are impressive, it looks like they are made by creative person I like that. thanks for sharing ~

  9. knycx.journeying

    Wow, thanks for sharing and I didn’t even know about the place before reading this.
    To me they are creepy dolls but I appreciate how each individual has their own character.
    Have good one ! @ knycx.jounreying

  10. Sandy N Vyjay

    This is the first time I heard of the Higantes festival. But am really fascinated by it. The giant papier mache figures are really so interesting and look enigmatic. I would love to lear more about this festival and also if possible participate in it some day.

  11. neha

    I didn’t know of this festival. It does sound quiet interesting. I particularly like the impressive figures with splash of colors in the procession.

  12. Mike Clegg

    This festival looks fantastic and I love your pictures. We are on the verge of booking a trip to the Philippines so it’s great to get some ideas of things to see and the culture. Thank you.

  13. Adrenaline Romance

    Hi Gracie!

    Good to hear you enjoyed the Higantes Festival. We are from Cebu, Philippines and we’ve never been to Rizal yet. If ever you can come visit Cebu sometime, experience the Sinulog festival every 3rd Sunday of January. It is a festival like no other. 🙂


  14. Rhiannon

    This looks like a great experience, but at the same time the higantes look absolutely terrifying! I think it’s the creepy smile some of them have haha. Still, incredible works of art! I love getting a glimpse into other cultures’ festivals, so really enjoyed this post 🙂

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