Do you love to travel but feel frustrated that you can’t do it as often as you want to? Are factors like work, limited resources, and other obligations hindering you from scratching those itchy feet? Well here’s some good news — you don’t always need to get on a plane nor embark on an 8-hour bus ride to travel or explore (I’m borrowing this line, by the way, from Martine who posted it before on the Make It Blissful Facebook page).
Why do we travel anyway? I’m sure we have different reasons, but I travel to broaden my horizons — to immerse myself in fascinating cultures, to learn about people, to experience a place’s rich history, and to explore new sights. I have a full-time job and am only allowed a couple of days a year for vacation leaves, so I used to feel that frustration of not being able to go out of town as often as I want to — until I realized that I can actually travel in nearby places, and that I can do it even more often than I want to (I’ve been “traveling” almost every month this year)!
Last Sunday, I went on a little trip to Angono, Rizal. I never thought there’d be so much to learn about a little town that’s just 30-45 minutes away from my house (on a traffic-free Sunday, of course). I’d like to share with you some photos from my excursion to the riveting Art Capital of the Philippines! Enjoy the photos and I hope you can visit Angono too!
We started off our morning watching the Higantes parade. During the Spanish era, the Spanish landlords forbade the residents of Angono to hold non-religious festivals. They only allowed one festival, which was celebrated during the Feast of San Clemente, the town’s patron saint. The residents then took advantage of that sole festival and created GIANT caricatures of their Spanish landlords out of paper mache, and paraded them all over town as a sign of protest. The tradition has been carried on up to this very day.
There’s an “artsy” vibe all over town, even at the restaurants. Our next stop was at this lovely place, a restaurant cum art gallery of Nemi Miranda (“Nemiranda”), a figurative artist and an art leader from Angono.
Mr. Miranda’s subjects for his paintings and sculptures speak loudly of Angono. You’ll see the characters from stories that shaped the culture — tikbalangs, mermaids, Maria Makiling, etc. He also has pieces that depict significant events in Philippine history such as the three Edsa revolutions.
That’s me with Mr. Nemiranda himself! That mermaid sculpture is one of his creations!
This is the workshop where some of the higantes are being made. It’s found on the third floor of Balaw-Balaw, another resto cum art gallery.
Only in Angono can you find an art gallery street! In front of the houses on Dona Aurora Street are murals like this, created by National Artist Botong Francisco, who hails from Angono. (Angono takes pride in two of our National Artists — Mr. Francisco and Lucio San Pedro who composed the song Sa Ugoy ng Duyan)
Speaking of Botong Francisco, this very familiar painting (The Bayanihan) was created by him, and this shot was taken inside his art gallery. This is only a replica, of course. The original gigantic painting is displayed at our office. We met Mr. Francisco’s grandson who is also a talented artist himself.
Too bad we weren’t allowed to take photos of the Blanco family’s paintings, but they are a family of crazy talented painters. You’ll see each of their paintings from when they were 11 months old (!!!) to the more recent ones.
We don’t have photos of the paintings, but we were able to talk to one of the sons, Mr. Martin Blanco himself! Thank you, Sir, for your time and for answering all of our questions!
Our last (and my personal favorite) stop was the studio of Mr. Orville Tiamson, another Angono artist.
His studio is one of a kind. There’s a drum set and guitars along with his painting materials. Shows that he gets inspiration from music, and how much meaning he puts into his art. He says that other local artists hang out here to “jam”.
Mr. Orville treated us to a little “art jam” activity. He’s my personal favorite because he’s so inspiring — he said that there is no right or wrong way to create a form of art, and that there’s no beautiful or ugly work of art, whether it be visual, music, or writing. What’s important is that you were able to use it as a form of expression, that you were able to be yourself while doing it.
Special shoutout to Culture Shock Philippines for an enriching trip! I’m so glad to have found an organization that shares my outlook on travel and culture. Please visit their website at http://www.cultureshockph.com to check out their other tours.
Just 45 minutes away from where I live and I discovered an entirely unique culture in this little town called Angono. Surely, travel and exploration don’t always have to be long journeys. I read somewhere that there is no “ordinary place” for a real traveler — he/she knows how to find wonder and delight wherever he/she goes, no matter how near or far.
Where was your last trip to a nearby town? How was the experience? Feel free to share below and have a nice weekend and week ahead!