Text by Richard R. Gappi
Five-year old Justin of Barangay San Vicente, Angono, Rizal tests his trumpet as he and his colleagues in the Angono Unity Band prepare for the procession at the patio of St. Clement Parish Church, Tuesday evening, Nov. 14, 2017.
Tonight marks the start of the novena Mass honoring St. Clement, the town’s patron saint, whose feast falls on the 23rd of November.
A procession was held after the celebration, in which devotees carry the images of Mother Mary and Angono’s two patron saints — San Isidro and San Clemente.
San Isidro and San Clemente represented the once farming and fishing Angono lakeshore community during the Spanish period until Post-War period in the 1950s, when thereafter industries, services and business establishments sprouted and are now defining Angono’s economic landscape.
Angono is home to two National Artists — Carlos ‘Botong’ Francisco for Painting (1973) and Maestro Lucio D. San Pedro for Music (1991).
The municipality is led by Mayor Gerry Calderon and Vice-Mayor Antonio Rubin.
It has achieved three unprecedented awards this year namely three-time recipient of Seal of Good Local Governance, two-time awardee of Gawad Galing Pook, and 3rd Most Competitive among 1st-2nd class municipalities in the Philippines.
The Mass every night starts at 7:00PM.
The church of St. Clement started with cogon and mulawin wood materials when it was constructed in 1865 and finished a year later, according to Eugenio Lara’s book ‘Readings on the History of Angono.’
The church, located in Barangay Poblacion Ibaba, was the second center of Catholic faith in Angono, after the Biga Church in Barangay San Roque was constructed in 1751 and which was badly damaged during the widespread 1863 earthquake in Manila.
The Catholic tradition and festivities have become persistent subject and inspiration of many artists here, particularly on the murals and compositions of Botong and Maestro Lucio.
Works of art in Angono inspired by religious themes started during the Spanish period, with Juan ‘Tandang Juancho’ Senson and Pedro Piñon as its foremost practitioners.
Senson and Piñon were also considered as the roots or father of Angono artistry in this town known as the Art Capital of the Philippines’ and ‘Home of the Higantes Festival’.
The Higantes Festival is held alongside the town fiesta that features giant papier mache and serves as secular celebration initiated by the Municipality of Angono to express its gratitude to St. Clement.
As a cultural icon, the meaning of ‘higante’ has evolved from the orally held tradition as symbol of protest to festivity and ‘giant’ aspiration of Angoneweños to bring about meaningful change and inclusive growth while remaining keen on their sense of history and artistic community as well as steadfast on traditions deeply held by their foreparents and ancestors.