Art Capital of the Philippines

The House of the National Artist

In Angono, Rizal, there was this house built in memory of the National Artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco. It is located along Poblacion Itaas Street, wherein you can see the busts of the National Artist and National Composer– Carlos “Botong” Francisco and Lucio D. San Pedro. After a few steps, beautiful fences from both sides were shown. The residents said that it runs along the whole street of Poblacion Itaas. 

As you stroll along the street, you will see the house of Carlos Francisco that was built in cooperation with the government.  Half of this was renovated that serves as a studio and museum. The fences were decorated with his name, awards and works of art.

Once you have entered the house, the first thing that you will notice is the studio. The Second Gallery that displays the master pieces of his grandson Carlos “Totong” Francisco II that shows abstract expressionism.

Next are the art mediums such as paint brushes, paints and canvases. Third, the mural paintings, self-portraits, unfinished art works, magazines, collection of National Geographic Books, walking sticks, hats, shoes, wartime artifacts and different awards that he received.

 At the second level, cabinets are filled with old books, newspapers, filed documents, medals and plaques. Then, there is a small desk that carries religious statues and an old crucifix. But one thing that occupies a lot of space is the actual drafting table that Carlos Francisco used. It is a bit deteriorated, dusty and old. It has a lamp attached to it and a chair that he actually sat on.

On the floor, there is an old electric fan, a wooden rooster for display, and again, a pile of books and magazines. As you look at t the lower level, you can also see his canvas and foot stool. He has a lot of memorabilia displayed, even the portrait of his wife.

After my meticulous observation, his great-grandson toured us around the house. He showed us the lower part of the apartment. It is a bit flooded due to the river near to it. It is a typical home for a common family. There is the dining room, a mini-garden or a backyard. Different framed paintings and even the normal things that you can see inside a house.

Totong Francisco restored the house due to the frequent flood. However, there are no paintings of his grandfather that was left in their crib, only a few sketches. The family is having a hard time keeping funds, and it is absolutely ironic that Mr. Francisco’s paintings are worth millions but still their purpose is to keep the legacy of Mr. Francisco from being forgotten.  Totong hopes that in due time, the house will be converted into a national heritage site, though they do not require an entrance fee from visitors.  

As I leave the place, I pondered. Through the years, the notable people in our history are still given importance. Their works are preserved for the benefit of the future generations and they remain important individuals that serve as inspiration to the youths like us.

Written by: Shane Valerie G. Pastoral