7 Awesome Reasons Why You Should Absolutely NOT Miss Angono's Higantes Festival

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 23 is arguably the most exciting time of the year for the Art Capital of the Philippines. And who could disagree? November 23 marks three important celebrations from this lakeshore town, namely: the Feast of San Clemente - in honor of the town's patron saint; Viva Cristo Rey or the Feast of Christ the King which is held on the Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent; and, of course, the climax of the month-long Higantes Festival. So, while it may seem a little overdue, here are seven reasons why you should join in on the festivities!

7 Awesome Reasons Why You Should Absolutely NOT Miss Angono's Higantes Festival

7. The Colorful Higantes

It wouldn't be an Angono fiesta without the multicolored Higantes. Once used as a sign of protest against the Spanish hacienderos, the higantes had evolved into a symbol of the townspeople's unyielding spirit and larger-than-life artistry.
Among Giants. A boy looks out into the line of higantes
These higantes, manned by local men (and sometimes children), flaunt their way across the streets of Angono, never failing to delight onlookers. They are definitely postcard-worthy!
A boy happily carrying one of the higantes
Photo courtesy of Carlo Briones

6. The "Stomping" Girls and Boys

As any proper Filipino fiesta, Angono's street parades are fully equipped with marching bands sponsored by local schools and baranggays. Accompanying these bands is another feature unique to Angono: the lines of girls and, most recently, boys stomping their way all over town. 
Make way! This marching band looks really cool in their red and black uniform
Photo courtesy of Carlo Briones 
Wielding wooden and miniature boat paddles, the girls are called parehadoras. They do an exaggerated march, the act emphasized by wooden clogs or bakya. The parehadora is a salute to Angono's history as a fishing village.
The parehadoras not minding the heat
Photo courtesy of Patnubay Tiamson

5. Menudo for Everyone!

A feast is not a feast without the food. And like most Filipinos, folks from Angono are gracious and hospitable. So much so, that even the day before the fiesta, delicious aromas fill the Angono air. Everyone is busy preparing ulam and dessert for tomorrow. Households will make sure that their handa will be enough and delectable for the onslaught of feast-goers.

Growing up, I've noticed that in Angono, these seem omnipresent on every table during November 23: hamunado, macapuno, leche flan, and menudo (not the 70s band, the dish). A friend from Facebook even posted that it is only in Angono that one will taste various versions of the saucy viand that is menudo. He even claims that there was one house he visited which had SIX variations of the dish on the table! Talk about putting a twist on a well-loved dish. Well, one thing's for certain: hearty and delicious food will be served!
Menudo is everywhere!
Photo courtesy of www.barangaysg.com

4. The Pagoda

The parade on November 23 will include a fluvial procession which features the image of St. Clement being carried on a makeshift platform called the pagoda
The pagoda docked on the banks of the Lakeside Park
Photo courtesy of Patnubay Tiamson
The lake procession will begin on the banks of Wawa in Brgy. San Vicente. The image of San Clemente together with the devotees and several members of the marching band will be aboard the pagoda, leading up to the other side of the lake in Brgy. Poblacion Ibaba. Not all can participate in this activity, but it's still a fun and interesting sight to witness!

3. The "Taong Putik"

Another tradition during the town fiesta is the group of men (and women) covered in mud. They make the event more thrilling by smearing people with mud. Seriously, they come out of nowhere!

Watch the video below of some taong putik (mud men) joining the crowd for a chant of "Viva!"

Don't worry, this is done in the spirit of good and, erm, clean fun. Kill joys don't really have a place in fiestas. Also, this goes without saying: better come with a change of clothes!

Speaking of which...

2. The Wet and Wild Atmosphere

This is perhaps the most anticipated part of the festivities. Being drenched, doused, and dunked in cold water during the parade remains a tradition for the people of Angono. I'll give you 20 pesos if you survive the parade without getting wet! I kid you not, even the young ones are armed with water guns. You simply can't escape.
Tubig! Tubig! The festival isn't complete without the water fun
Photo courtesy of www.adolfodeguzman.com
And for those of you who are starting to raise their eyebrows for this apparent willful wasting of a precious resource, well, the locals found a solution for this: we use recycled water. I know that sounds icky, but, hey, YOLO, right?

1. A Chance to Be Part of Something that's Both Fun and Meaningful

I know, I know. This sounds boring. But I really can't overlook the fact that all of the aforementioned activities had been done for generations. What we're all going to witness and take part in is something that is, basically, Angono's culture in a nutshell. By joining in on the fun, you not only get to experience one of the important aspects of Filipino life, you'd also be nurturing a tradition - taking part in its preservation, to some extent. And isn't that just the best reason to join any cultural event?
The higantes is Angono's culture in papier-mache
Photo courtesy of Patnubay Tiamson
Got other reasons why we shouldn't miss out on this gigantic celebration? Share them on the comments section below. And when you finally decide to join in on the fun, take as many pictures as you want and use the hashtag #angonohigantesfestival.


For the schedule of activities, visit Angono's official Facebook Page

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  1. Did you have fun, Jarred? :D

  2. I am always honored to be a resident in Angono. I really enjoyed this Ma'am. :)