Angono, Rizal Mayor Gerardo V. Calderon served as the guest of honor during the formal opening of the exhibit titled “Angono in FEU II” on November 29 that features the works, life and town of  National Artist for Painting Carlos “Botong” Francisco.

Mayor Calderon, who is an FEU alumnus, extolled Botong’s great contribution and presented as well his “Angono Vision.”

Angono is known as the “Home of the Higantes” and the “Art Capital of the Philippines.” In September 2010, it received the distinction of being the “ASEAN Culture Capital” from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Cultural Center of the Philppines.

Apart from Mayor Calderon, Prof. Reuben Ramas Canete also served as the guest speaker. Canete shared his insights on the relationship of Botong and FEU.

After the opening of the exhibit, a symposium was held tackling various topics. FEU Prof. James Owen Saguinsin presented his theory that the “Higante” of Angono was inexistent during the Spanish period and argued that the popular image was a post-World War II creation of Botong Francisco.Peter Natividad, resident conservationist of the Lopez Museum, talk about the strategy of restoring the works of Botong.

“Angono as a tourist haven and art center” was discussed by Angono Municipal Tourism Officer Patnubay Tiamson. Artist Michael Blanco, meanwhile, discussed the projects and programs of the Angono Council for Tradtion, Culture and the Arts.

Carlos “Totong” Francisco II, an artist, was also present and represented Botong’s family. Totong is Botong’s grandson.

The exhibit and symposium were initiated by FEU’s Department of Literature and Humanities, Office of the Student Affairs, IARFA Student Council and the Municipality of Angono. (Richard R. Gappi)