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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