In Remembrance of Botong

National Artist for Visual Arts Carlos "Botong" Francisco. Photo courtesy of Vibal Foundation.

Yesterday This week, I went on a media tour to Angono, Rizal, touted to be the “Art Capital of the Philippines.”

Angono has produced two National Artists, namely Carlos “Botong” Francisco (for visual art) and Lucio San Pedro (for music), and several well-known artists such as Nemiranda, the Blanco family of painters, and Perdigon. In recent years, younger generations of artists have emerged in Angono and art galleries and studios are a familiar sight in this municipality.

The subject of our tour was Angono’s most famous son, Botong Francisco, best known for his sprawling murals (some up to 200 feet!) that are a familiar sight to Filipinos as a lot of them are displayed in prominent institutions. His masterpieces, which depict historical scenes and Filipino communities, include the MalacaƱang mural “Fiesta”, “Blood Compact” (Yuchengco Museum / RCBC Building), “First Mass at Limasawa” (National Museum), “The Martyrdom of Rizal” (Fort Santiago), and “Stations of the Cross” (Far Eastern University).

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