Get ready to dance with the giants in the Higantes Festival!
The Philippines celebrates the Higantes Festival, or the Feast of San Clemente, on November 23 of every year. The people of Angono, Rizal hold the festival in honor of San Clemente, the patron saint of fishermen. The festival celebrants make huge statues with paper-mache to accompany the image of San Clemente on their procession.
These statues, or the “higantes”, are often 10 to 12 feet in height and 4 to 5 feet in diameter. In the festival, devotees also dress as “pahadores”, or fishermen in colorful attires. During the procession, they also carry paddles, fishnets, and other tools that they use on their fishing trips. The procession ends in Laguna de Bay, where the devotees return the image of San Clemente back to its sanctuary.
What can you expect during the Higantes Festival?
The Higantes Festival is part of the two-week-long Angono Town Fiesta. The activities of the fiesta is a Misa Cantada (a special sung mass), novena, song and dance competitions, cooking competitions, art exhibits and other. The Procession is the highlight of the festivities. A procession is held throughout the town, with the images brought to the banks of the Laguna de Bay where they would be enshrined in a floating pagoda for a fluvial procession until the event concludes with the image of San Clemente returned to the church.
What are the other spots you can go to in Angono, Rizal?
If you are planning to see these giants roam Angono, you might as well pass by some of the other tourists spots while you’re at it! Angono, Rizal is also known as the “Art Capital of the Philippines”. Angono is also the hometown of both Lucio San Pedro and Carlos Francisco. They are national artists for music and visual arts respectively. With multiple museums in tow, like the Blanco Family Art Museum and Nuno Artists Foundation Gallery, Angono possesses a great amount of Filipino Culture. Angono also possesses the site of the Angono Petroglyphs, the oldest known work of art in the Philippines. If you appreciate these kinds of things, you’ll surely enjoy your time in Angono Rizal!
Things to keep note of:
To go to Rizal, it would largely be a road trip. Get some wheels and get ready to drive! Buses will also be able to bring you there. The trip usually takes about an hour and a half to complete. When going to Rizal, you only need to be sure to bring comfortable rubber shoes! You’ll be doing a lot of walking when you visit the different sites of art in the municipality. Make sure you also bring a camera with you! There are a lot of amazing visual pieces you can capture in Angono!
Most Filipinos know a decent amount of English but just in case you need to speak in Filipino, here are a few phrases that may help you out!
- Nasaan ang (object or location)? – “Where is the (object or location)?
- Magkano ito? – “How much is this?”
- Tulong! or Kailangan ko ng tulong! – “Help!” or “I need help!
- Magandang Umaga/Hapon/Gabi! – “Good morning/afternoon/evening!”
- Salamat! – “Thank you!”
If you want to experience a fun and colorful part of Filipino Culture, head to Angono, Rizal for their Town Fiesta!
Prepare for good local food and wonderful art exhibits. But most of all, prepare to see giants!