Untitled, (Pista ng Angono, The Fiesta of Angono)
signed and dated 1960 (upper right)
oil on canvas
20” x 30” (51 cm x 76 cm)
Private Collection, London
With an authentication provided by Mr. Salvador “Badong” Juban, protegé and artist assistant of Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco from 1959 until his death in 1969.
About the Subject
Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco is often compared to Diego Rivera, the Mexican painter he, too, admired — and for good reason. Botong created massive murals as well as created an archetypal Filipino character, mythic as “Malakas” and as heroic as Bonifacio and Rizal, and molded in their images.
As the clay for these statues, he relied on the cast of characters of his beloved hometown Angono. He would paint tillers of the soil, even camote-diggers; fishermen pulling at their nets (in the “Mampupukot”); also families gathering around their favorite meal (in the fishing-town of Angono, that would be none other than “sinigang”, the painting of which resides in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas collection) as well as the making of Christmas rice-cakes of puto bumbong.
The Fiesta of Angono was a central event in the town’s life, as well as in Botong’s. And as Salvador Juban, his long-time protegé and artist assistant, would recall, Botong always painted from life and the things he knew.
The Fiesta ritual consisted of a parade carrying the sacred image of San Clemente to the lake’s banks at the edge of the town, under a bamboo arch and accompanied by uniformed devotees and a brass band. That would be none other than the famous Banda Uno put together by Angono’s other favorite son, musician Lucio San Pedro — Botong’s cousin. (Angono is the home of not just one but two national artists, Botong being one for the arts and San Pedro, the other for music) Higantes, or giant papier-mâché statues, were also introduced in the 1950s, although Juban says they started off only as a pair and were not the horde they are today.