Art Capital of the Philippines

The Higantes Festival

            The month of November is the busiest time of the year for the Angono folks. This is the time when people prepare themselves for the celebration of the Higantes Festival.

            The festivity got its name from the paper-mache giants that is always brought out to include in the celebrations. The origin of these giants were said to be the paper-mache giants used by the Angono natives before against the Spanish oppressors as a form of protest against them.

            The preparations start as early as September, During this time, you can hear a faint sound of drums and lyres practicing their parade piece, whether a traditional parade piece, the classic Voltes V theme song or something from the latest array of music, such as Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

            During the month of October, more preparations are becoming visible. Besides the sound of the drums and lyres, the sound of the majorette’s whistle can now also be heard. The participants of the parade are starting to hold their routine practices, including the parehadoras. Parehadoras are participants who usually wear wooden clogs (bakya in Filipino), colorful attires, and they hold wooden paddles, which signifies the history of Angono—that the town was once a fishing village.

            At the same time, the installment of banderitas are being held. These banderitas are pretty important because aside from the fact that these give the fiesta feeling a little more boost, the banderitas used in Angono are made out of recycled materials, which is great, because it minimizes use of paper, therefore, it saves a lot of trees from being cut. These recycled banderitas also proves that Angono is an environment-friendly town, which is synonymous to one of the current mayor’s advocations: Zero Basura.

            And then, come the month of the festivities.

            The town of Angono buzzes with so much life once the month of November comes in. People prepare their houses for the arrival of friends and relatives who will celebrate the fiesta with them. Mothers keep themselves busy with budgeting their money for the food to be prepared during the fiesta feast.

            The festival starts on the 22nd of November, and it starts off with the Bisperas Mayores, which is a parade of the marching bands and drum and lyres sponsored by each barangay of Angono. It is done in the morning and in the afternoon, and some of the giants and local officials join in the parade in the afternoon. 

            The celebration of the festival starts off with a mass the next day—and this mass is celebrated together with the Bishop of Antipolo, and a parade happens right after the mass (also, the festival coincides with the celebration of the feast day of Christ the King, which is the reason why under the slogan VIVA SAN CLEMENTE, there is another slogan that says MABUHAY KRISTONG HARI as a commemoration for the other special event). This includes all of the paper-mache giants, the officials, and this includes paper-mache carabaos (that are beautified by extending eyelashes and putting on capes) and, just recently, paper-mache vegetables (these paper-mache vegetables hold races on the streets).

Written by: Carissa Fuentes