ANGONO: at the midst of the Philippine Art Capital

Dreaming to become painter myself when I was young, surrounded by amazing and detailed masterpieces could spark again that youthful liking. Grouped per artist that is grouped at birth order from this renowned family that made this cliche famous “a family that paints together, stays together”. The Blanco Family, with its patriarch, Sir Jose, has spread the artistic chromosomes to all, yes, all of his seven offspring. The skill was even passed on his better half, his dear wife.

Entering the museum hall, you would be welcomed with the iconic paper mache giants that are paraded during their yearly Gigantes Festival. This festival is rooted way back during the Spanish occupation, wherein depicted with condescending expressions with the arms and hands at the waist. The museum was once their private dwellings, and would you believe that it has an indoor garden with a pond.

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The Gigantes

The curator would welcome you whilst explaining the meaning of the museum’s logo with an inverted fish. A bit of history as well, on how some of the paintings are done from scratch are things you would definitely hear. Each phase of the museum is clustered with each family member’s masterpieces, from their early years up to their intricately and huge canvasses, with the patriarch’s like the last part, of course. It is with complete and utter fascination to get to hear how this family, with humbleness, are able to express their craftsmanship.  I was actually blown about this colossal painting with the sheer number of faces, as explained, are actual individual faces that the Sir Pitok, has met and interacted with, and one by one he placed strategically on the huge canvass. The painting depicts a group of people on a riverbank.

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One of the Major Paintings of the patriarch

We are lucky enough to have met one of the siblings, Sir Michael Blanco, in a short interview, we are amazed to listen about his personal accounts about his family and how to intends to share and continue the passion in art. He holds usual painting classes with a considerable number of learners.

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One of the Blanco children, Sir Michael.

Apart from this amazing family museum, the craftsmanship of the Angono locals does not end at the four walls of these structures. A street within the downtown holds replicas of the Rizal’s artisans amazing masterpieces – the Angono Street Murals. Instead of canvasses adoring the streets, the replicas are done on concrete walls. Best to enjoy during the early hours of morning and sunrise, and on dusk. Lucky you are if you own a property in Dona Aurora Street.

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The street art in Angono Rizal

The “Botong” Francisco Museum, another private dwelling transformed to be a haven of the masterpieces of a National Artist. Earning the title the last 1973, Sir Botong Francisco also was the key to the discovery of the famous Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs. The structure holds not only his paintings but his other masterpieces in photography. There are also antiques and other important artifacts on display. If you are art and historian fanatic, this is a place to be.

This tour is sponsored by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, and the Philippine Information Agency.

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