Art is synonymous to Angono Rizal. This lakeshore town is home to various art groups, private art museums, restaurants-cum-art gallery and a street lined with murals to honor their homegrown artists: National Artist for painting Carlos “Botong” Francisco, and National Artist for music Meastro Lucio San Pedro. As a town bursting with artistic fervor, it fittingly received its sobriquet as the Art Capital of the Philippines.
Doña Aurora Street in Barangay Poblacion Itaas is home to the late Botong Francisco. As tribute to this national artist, murals casts in cement were installed on the walls that lined the street. These concrete murals were based on the actual paintings of the Botong Francisco.
We first visited the home of Botong Francisco which also served as his studio. His grandson, Carlos “Totong” Francisco II uses the space to continue his grandfather’s artistic legacy, naming the art space as The Second Gallery.
Leaving the gallery, we met with Charlie Anorico, the artist who painstakingly traced, molded, and carved the murals along Doña Aurora Street. Charlie cordially invited us to show his works and expressed his admiration to the national artists of his town.
Botong Francisco is the greatest Filipino muralist. He did research before painting. His mission is to preserve Philippine cultural history from the prehistoric period to the present. From the barrio fiestas and to scenes that form part of the cultural and religious life of the people of country and hometown.
Walking further up the narrow street, Charlie pointed us to a mural he created to honor Maestro Lucio San Pedro. The lyrics and notes one of his famous composition Sa Ugoy ng Duyan (On the Swaying of the Hammock) are inscribed on a wall. San Pedro is known for his “creative nationalism” with Filipino folk songs. He composed “tone poems” and lullabies that extol rural life.
Before leaving Doña Aurora Street, Charlie proudly concluded our walking tour saying, This is Angono, art is everywhere.