“Sa Turismo Aangat Ang Angono” is Angono’s attempt at total development using its tourism advantage as a vehicle.

It started as a dream.

Mayor Gerry Calderon had witnessed for himself the good practices of various places like Puerto Princesa, Marikina and Olongapo and adapted useful strategies from these award-winning local governments.

The dream of being included in the roster of Galing Pook Awardees prompted Mayor Calderon to package all his programs and actions into one effective transitional scheme, how these developmental projects improved the lives of the people, and brought the town Angono in the mainstream of local government innovation.

Trailblazing Culture and Tourism

The municipality of Angono in Rizal Province is home to two National Artists: painter Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco and musician Lucio San Pedro. But save for this reputation, it had little else.

The municipal government did not have a clear goal, traffic congestion was bad, there was no transport terminal, flash flooding was not uncommon, the surroundings were dirty, and worse of all, the people seem like they couldn’t care less. 

Yet a dramatic transformation took place between 1999 and 2002. Angono was consistently bagging awards for being the cleanest and greenest in the province. In 2001, it was finally elevated to a first class municipality.

Angono’s road to development started with the basics. With the help of the people’s organizations, Angono drafted a mission-vision statement that became its roadmap to development. A massive information campaign was launched to awaken community spirit and introduce the “Angono Dream”.

After it identified tourism promotion as its centerpiece program, Angono embarked on a physical makeover. Road obstructions were removed to decongest traffic, the public transport system was organized, the public market was renovated, and volunteers enlisted to keep the main roads clean. 
Volunteerism played a key role to the program success. Aside from assisting in the government’s clean-up activities, volunteers also helped in traffic management, tax campaigns, and security surveillance.

The town’s physical rehabilitation did a lot to improve the way of life of the residents of Angono. There are now parks where people can stroll around and where artworks are proudly displayed. A Regional Pilot School for the Arts was established to boost Angono’s status as an artist’s haven. Social services as well as the peace and order situation were likewise addressed.


Angono is known as the ‘Art Capital of the Philippines’ because it is the only town, despite its small geography and population, which has produced and home to two National Artists namely Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco for Painting and Prof. Lucio San Pedro for Music.

While there is no formal or legal document from the national government in which this claim stands, former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo verbally recognized Angono with this identity during her speech and visit in 2004.

A resolution of the Sangguniang Bayan in 2004 also requested President Arroyo to issue an executive order recognizing Angono as Art Capital but to this date, no legal document has been done.

For its part, the Municipality of Angono led by Mayor Gerardo Calderon used the “Art Capital of the Philippines” for branding purposes, like what marketing and public relations officers do in their promotional activities.

Mayor Gerry has likewise honed the town’s tourism industry and promotion by anchoring it on Angono’s rich art and cultural heritage, a program which merited a Gawad Galing Pook Award in 2003 for its innovation and sustainable implementation.

Angono boasts of more than 500 painters alone, excluding other artists such as musicians, writers, video and film editors, theater people, craftsmen, and church-based heritage and cultural workers.

The town traces its artistic roots to Angono Petroglyphs in Binangonan, the oldest rock art in the Philippines.

It, however, considers Spanish era artists Juan Senson and Pedro Piñon as roots of artistry, who inspired Botong and San Pedro and the succeeding generation of Angono artists.

Art galleries and museums as well as studios of individual artists abound, which have become favorite places among local and international guests visiting the town, particularly the Blanco Museum, Nemiranda Art Haus, Botong’s Studio and Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Folk Art Museum.

Angono also celebrates seven festivals and festivities throughout the year, notably the Higantes Festival every November and the Feast of St. Clement, the town’s patron saint.

Angono likewise has six artists groups based in the community and schools led by its two oldest groups Angono Ateliers Association and Angono Artists Association, 11 marching bands, three symphonic ensembles, three community-based theater groups, six chorale groups including those in schools, a writers group, three community newspapers, and an exclusive school for the arts whose students are from Angono and Rizal province.

ASEAN Culture Capital

The Philippines was recognized as the ‘cultural capital’ of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2010 and 2011. 

As the first country given this distinction in the 10-member association of countries in the region, the Philippines hosted in 2010 the ministerial and experts meeting on culture and arts (AMCA-SOMCA) and the 4th ASEAN Festival of the Arts held in March 2011.

With the theme “The Best of the ASEAN,” the National Commission for Culture and the Arts-led festival showcased what the member-countries considered to be their best such as performance, book, art exhibit, film, among others. 

In August 2010, Angono, Rizal was the sixth locale highlighted as focal site in celebration of the Philippines as ASEAN Culture Capital. 

During the program, the concept of Angono Artists Village was launched, in which the community was envisioned to provide residency for underprivileged and deserving Filipino artists as well as multipurpose venue for art workshops, performances and residency programs.

Angono also witnessed the countdown to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Review Summit with UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Jacqui Badcock as special guest.

The inaugural event of ASEAN Culture Capital campaign was held in Angeles, Pampanga. Other sites that hosted were the province of Capiz, Santiago City in Isabella, the province of Batangas, and the province of Bohol.

Home of the Higantes Festival – Angono, Rizal

Higantes Festival is a secular celebration initiated by the Municipality of Angono to express gratitude to its patron Saint Clement, in which the parade of giants is held on Sunday before the town feast on November 23.

Base on Angono folklore, the ‘higante’ was used as symbol of agrarian protest during the waning years of the Spanish colonization when Angono was a hacienda (large tract of lands).

A study made by Far Eastern University professor James Owen Saguinsin, however, theorized that the higante was inexistent and the locals of Angono actually refer to a tall and towering ‘katiwala’ or hacienda caretaker named Karias Tangkad as the giant whom the residents were exacting and taking revenge, which is ‘higanti’ in Filipino.

Saguinsin also theorized that the giant papier mache only started after World War II when artist Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco asked the first higante maker, Artemio Tajan, to add an element of festivity and joy to the post-War ambience of Angono fiesta celebration.

At present, ‘higantes’ now have evolved, with Angono craftsmen producing images of local and national officials, Angono’s myths and legends, the vegetables outlined in the Filipino folk song ‘Bahay Kubo,’ and even small giants called ‘higantitos.’

The Municipality of Angono likewise considers the ‘higante’ as the symbol of the people’s aspiration to be great in their respective field and contribute to the development and pride of this town which is home to two National Artists namely ‘Botong’ Francisco (Painting) and Maestro Lucio San Pedro (Music).

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Apolinario Mabini Award for 2015 and 2016 for Angono

The Municipality of Angono on December 2, 2016 received the Apolinario Mabini Award from the Department of Health and Philippine Blood Center.

The award, which Angono also received in 2015, was received by Kalinga at Kalusugan sa Kalikasan-Office of the Mayor coordinator Lita Bartolome and Municipal Health Office administrative officer Arlene Ang Reyes.

The awarding was held at H20 Hotel Quirino Grandstand, Metro Manila.

The two agencies are active in soliciting blood donors who have saved lives of those who have sought help from the municipality.

In handing over the award, Philippine Blood Center Dugong Bayani Award 2016 overall chairman Salvador Aydante Jr. explained that the award is given to an organization or company which conducted mobile blood donation activities and donated more than 100 but not less than 30 in partnership with PBC team within the calendar year 2016.

1st Place, 2016 Araw ng Lalawigan Provincial Painting Contest

The Municipality of Angono won the grand prize in the painting contest ‘Your Town, Your People’ sponsored by the Provincial Government of Rizal as part of the 115th Araw ng Lalawigan in June 2016.

Angono’s entry was represented and painted by Angono artist Herbert ‘Ebok’ Pinpiño who took home a cash prize worth P50,000.

Ebok is an outstanding Angono person with disability and recipient of Dangal Ng Bayan Award in 2015.

Ebok bested 42 other artists in the province. Two artists from Binangonan won the 2nd and 3rd prize, Emmanuel Emnace, 31, of Barangay Layunan and Ruben Perdiguerra, 47.

The judges were Tanay and Antipolo City-based artist Tam Austria; Angono artist and former chair of the Visual Arts Committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Nemi Miranda Jr.; and Dr. Joven Cuanang, an art collector and owner of Pinto Art Gallery and Museum. 

Cleanest Municipality in the 1st District of Province of Rizal for 2015 and 2016

For the past two years, Angono (as represented by Barangay Mahabang Parang) has won the Cleanest and Greenest Municipality award in the 1st District of the province compose of Cainta, Taytay, Angono and Binangonan. 

The award was given by the provincial government led by Gov. Nini Ynares as part of the governor’s environmental awareness campaign called BUSILAK or BUhayin ang Sapa, ILog, Law at Karagatan.

Angono was among the first municipalities in Rizal to have its solid waste management plan approved by the National Solid Waste Management Commission.

Throughout the years, Angono has proven its concerns on its environment. All these were results of people of Angono and the local government unit’s participation to keep the municipality clean by segregating, recycling, and reusing wastes as well as religiously implementing various garbage management plans. 

It all turned out to be inspiring and useful. 

A related recognition was given to Angono by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR Environmental Management Bureau on June 29, 2016 for its exemplary practice in the implementation of different environmental mandates.

Recognized for its exemplary practice, “Globo Resiklo” of the Angono Public Employment Service Office is one of the products out of recyclable materials such as used bottles. Also, PESO clients were required to bring recyclable items in exchange of PESO services, thus intensifying efforts on waste management.

Presently, the possibility of requiring clients to bring recyclable materials for various social services is close at hand. 

According to the Honorable Angono Mayor Gerardo V. Calderon, “This is a very laudable policy integrating environment awareness to governance and enabling our constituents with our effort to implement RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000) in a more direct and participatory manner.”

Another result of the municipality’s clean and green project is Angono Eco-Park, which was once the LGU’s controlled dumpsite and now a transfer station for residual wastes.

National Solid Waste Management Commission Resolution No. 26 “Resolution Adopting the Eco-Park as an option to Sanitary Landfill” provided LGU’s like Angono with a cost-effective solution to residuals management.

The Eco-Park allows tertiary sorting to further segregate into good and bad residuals. Great portion of the park is a functional park where environmental measures are showcased at the same time.

Materials Recovery Facility is also an innovation by all barangay officials of Angono. LGU’s are required to have MRF with operational solid waste transfer station, sorting, drop-off, composting and recycling facility. 

To comply also with the law, Executive Order No. 2013-06 ordered all junk/scrap shops within Angono to be designated as MRF. The EO No. 2013-06 by the Honorable Mayor is a legal basis for barangays to explore a partnership agreement with the junkshop of their choice.

The improved Angono Lakeside Park, a template of Gov. Nini’s BUSILAK program, has also become one of the most favorite recreational and tourist sites.

Manila Bay Day Gold Award Environmental Compliance Audit for 2015 and 2016

For the past two years, the Municipality of Angono has won P60,000 for winning the Gold Award during the awarding rites celebrating the Manila Bay Day.

The latest recognition was held on December 14, 2016.

The Manila Bay Day Celebration commemorates the day when the Supreme Court rendered a decision G.R. No. 171947-48, ordering the defendant-government agencies (13 mandamus agencies), “to cleanup, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and maintain its waters to SB level (Class B seawaters per Water Classification Tables under DENR Administrative Order No.34, 1990) to make them fit for swimming, skin diving, and other forms of contact recreation.”

Key legal provisions include (1) Mandatory Segregation of Wastes at Source; (2) Functional Materials Recovery Facility and; (3) No-littering and related ordinances (and if random ocular inspections prove these are strictly implemented) and are re-checked by the DILG quarterly.

The award was given by the Department of Interior and the Local Government and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Angono Mayor Gerry Calderon’s Clean and Green program as well as the town’s physical rehabilitation of the Lakeside Park, DOMSA spring and natural pool in Barangay San Isidro, rehabilitating and dredging of Angono river and waterways, and Zero Basura campaign have merited provincial and national recognitions in the past for its exemplary and innovative steps in maintaining clean lake and river as well as mitigating and reducing risks brought by typhoons and effects of climate change.

These projects parallel with Rizal Gov. Nini Ynares’s environmental campaign known as BUSILAK or BUhayin ang Sapa, Ilog, LAwa at Karagatan. 

1st Place, 2016 Best Literacy Program in Region IV-A

The Municipality of Angono received the Gawad Patnugot award for winning 1st place in the Most Outstanding Literacy Program for Local Government Units given by the Department of Education Region IV-A held at Batangas Convention Center in Batangas City on October 2016.

Angono’s entry titled “Sustainable Development in Education Through Life-long Learning Skills and Intervention Program” constitutes existing Alternative Learning Skills program that targets marginalized and vulnerable sectors.

These included farmers, fishermen, workers in the informal economy, women’s groups, differently abled children, urban poor, 4Ps beneficiaries, Apo Learning Center, children in the Day Care Centers and Rural Improvement Club Centers.

The program is an alternative mode of delivery system to the existing Alternative Learning System (ALS) and services, a holistic development in this commercial hub, trading and manufacturing center in the southwestern portion of the Province of Rizal. 

The program and modules were managed and implemented by Department of Education-Angono District, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, Department of Agriculture’s Rural Improvement Club, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, Angono Municipal Health Office, Public Employment Service Office-Community Training and Livelihood Office (ESO-CTLO), and civil society groups in Angono.

For its success in providing quality integration and innovation, the program has conducted 40 disaster risk reduction trainings and seminars to around 10,000 residents, listed 15, 778 beneficiaries in PESO-CTLO jobs and livelihood referrals, 47,000 beneficiaries of Bottom Up Budgeting projects, 22, 200 recipients of Angono Health Center’s services, and 197 graduates of Tourism-related trainings and seminars.

In his speech during the flag raising ceremony on October 10, 2016, Mayor Gerry Calderon expressed gratitude to various sectors for crafting and implementing a comprehensive and integrated alternative literacy program.

The mayor also credited the spirit of volunteerism and strong partnership that the stakeholders have shown which contributed to the success of the program.

Similarly, the Angono Department of Education won 1st place for having the best Alternative Learning System in the province. 

The awarding was held at Cainta Elementary School on December 12, 2016.

2015 Gawad KALASAG: Search for Excellence in DRRM and Humanitarian Assistance by the DRRMO Region IV-A

Gawad KALASAG Search for Excellence in Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Humanitarian Assistance given by DRRMO Region IV-A features four major points: Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Rehabilitation and Recovery.

Disaster Prevention and Mitigation includes risk assessment; plans, policies and budget; early warning system; risk financing; environmental management, and infrastructure resilience.

Risk Assessment includes the availability of maps and tools such as multi-hazard, vulnerability, capacity/resource, risk maps and established Geographic Information System (GIS) and database of elements at risk. Plans, Policies and Budget includes Local DRRM Plan, updated Zoning Ordinances or Safety Regulations, and Fund Utilization. 

Early Warning System should have been established and functional. Risk Financing includes the insurance facilities and equipment and extension of calamity loans to the DRRMC. Environmental Management includes the environmental ordinances, programs or policies. Lastly, Infrastructure Resilience includes the inspection and assessment of existing infrastructures.

Disaster Preparedness includes the mainstreaming of DRRM programs and projects, LDRRMC Organization, Institutionalized DRRMO, Approved Plans, Capacity Development activities conducted, and Partnership Mechanisms.

Mainstreaming of DRRM programs and projects must be available to provinces, cities and municipalities except barangays. LDRRMC Organization includes functional DRMMCs base on requirements of RA 10121 and barangays should prove that the Barangay Development Council has assumed the role of a Barangay DRRM. 

Institutionalized DRRMO includes DRRM Office with basic equipment, permanent staff, and budget and training. Approved Plans include the implementing plans supported with the IEC and Advocacy Plan, Preparedness Plan, Response Plan, Contingency Plan, and Pre-Disaster Recovery Plan include Business Continuity Plan and Capacity Development or Training Activities. Partnership Mechanisms include the participation of NGOs, private sector, and Resource Mobilization.

Disaster Response includes the review of Demonstrated Capability of those LGUs with no disaster response; the other is to review the Demonstrated Capacity with disaster response operations.

Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery includes the Restoration, Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), Validation of Pre-disaster Recovery Plan, and Recovery Plan if the LGU has suffered any major disaster.

Engr. Arnnold Piñon serves as Angono DRRM officer.

The Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance of Angono

The Seal of Child-Friendly Local Governance national award which Angono received was given by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Soliman and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento on June 20, 2016. 

Angono was able to comply with the criteria set to rate a certain municipality as child-friendly, which include reduction in deaths among children below five years old (under-five mortality rate), reduction in the number of children under-six with below normal weights, completion rate for elementary schooling and absence of child labor or percentage reduction in child labor cases.

Angono also succeeded in terms of decreasing in the number of children victims of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and an ordinance was set to establish Barangay Violence Against Women and their Children (VAW/C) desks.

A Registered Social Worker handles reported cases and undergo counseling, stress debriefing, complainant for filing legal case and referral networks for child caring institutions. There are also drop-in center that serves as temporary shelter to protect rescued women and children.

The MDRRMO is also equipped with training and logistics for disaster and emergency response. A professional medical practitioner is also stand-by and has complete facility and logistics to give attention to mortality rate. 

All these efforts are result of good practice and teamwork. Angono Municipal Social Worker Luisita Vestra said the award will not be possible without the will to protect women and children and the whole community of Angono led by Mayor Gerardo V. Calderon.

MSWD programs still continue to help and new programs are introduced such as GABAY program for drug surrenderees and Migration and Development for the OFWs and their families.

“Marapat lang na competent staff ang nagpapatupad ng lahat ng programa para sa lahat ng sectors ng ating lipunan upang mas higit nating madama ang kaligtasan, at maunlad na bayan ng Angono,” Vestra said in an interview.