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Destination: Angono
      About 40 kilometers southeast of Manila is the former sleepy town of Angono. Formerly a part of another Rizal town, Binangonan, the 236-year-old Angono can be reached from Manila via the Pasig-Cainta Floodway or through Ortigas via Cainta and Antipolo.
    Angono celebrates the feast of its patron saint San Clemente every 23rd of November. Another festive time to visit Angono is during the towns fiesta on 22-23 November. A parade of gigantes (giant papier-mâché puppets crafted by the town’s artisans) and a fluvial procession in honor of San Clemente highlight the fiesta.
A group of costumed girls parade in Angono’s San Clemente fiesta every November.
    During the Holy Week, the town people perform the Christian tradition Salubong at the crack of dawn on Easter Sunday. The event involves giant bird puppets maneuvered to open a flower containing a young girl. The flower is lowered and then the girl removes the veil of mourning from Mary as she passes by.

    In 1965, National Artist for Visual Arts Carlos “Botong” Francisco discovered some 127 carvings engraved on the wall of a shallow cave in Angono, Rizal. The Angono petroglyphs, as they are called, are said to be the oldest known artworks in the Philippines, dating from the 3rd millennium, BC. The 3,000-year old carvings are line incisions of human figures, with the circular heads set on top of rectangular or V-shaped bodies. The figures are without necks but with arms and legs. Whoever carved the figures may have also carved the geometric figures that also appear
Rock art. The Angono petrogylphs is managed by the National Museum. It is open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays.
on the rock wall: rectangles, triangles and circles. Most of the carvings have been eroded by rain, the harsh sunlight, and the wind.
Others have been destroyed by vandals and visitor traffic.
    According to anthropologist Dr. Jesus Peralta, “The engraved drawings are made without any reference to a baseline, suggesting that these were made during different points in time.” Stylized anthropomorphic and zoomorphic forms are etched in the rock shelter.
The Angono Petroglyphs are listed in the World Inventory of Rock Art. In 1996, it was also included in the World Monuments Watch, a list of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World. Established in 1995 by the World Monuments Fund, a private worldwide organization that preserves cultural sites.
  Artists Haven

    Perhaps, the rock carvers were the ancestors of modern day Angono people because the town is home to many artists, including Francisco. At the Blanco Family house gallery located at Ibañez Street, one may see the impressive works of three generations of the gifted Blanco family. Also of interest are Nemiranda’s home-gallery-school at Dona Elena Street and the late Perdigon Vocalan’s Balaw-balaw Restaurant and Art Center. The restaurant, which is made of old wood, is
Nemiranda finishing Sampaguita Gatherers.
adorned with Perdigon’s paintings, sculpture and other art works.
    Angono is also the home of Lucio San Pedro, national artist for music, and founder of the Angono Symphonic Band.


Balaw-Balaw Restaurant derived its name from the namesake sauce made of small shrimps mixed with gruel and angkak (a herb that gives reddish coloring), which, for time immemorial, has been popular in Angono. The sauce is fermented in an earthen jar for three days after which it is ready to eat or sauted with young bamboo shoots.
    Established by the late artist-chef-interior designer Perdigon Navarro Vocalan in 1982, the restaurant is now managed by his wife,

Sinigang na kanduli sa miso and minaluto.
Luzvimin Vocalan, a former high school teacher. It offers traditional Angono recipes such as fried itik (native duck marinated with spices and fried to a crisp); sinigang na kanduIi with soybean curd soured with tamarind extract served with balaw-balaw; dinilawang kanduli or palos (eel) cooked in yellow ginger (turmeric) and fragrant alagaw leaves; barutak, made from pounded shrimp heads and tamarind extract and different vegetables; sinabawang balut with buntot ng baka, duck eggs with cowtail and herbs; nilasing na hipon or palaka shrimps, frogs marinated in wine and deep fried; pinalapot sa gata, different dishes cooked in coconut milk.
    A hit among diners is the minaluto. The term means packed meal or baon in which the rice and viand are packed together and wrapped in banana leaves. Balaw-Balaw’s minaluto is a heaping mound of newly cooked rice topped with pork and chicken adobo, surrounded by steamed mussels, crabs, tiger prawns, oysters, fried pork chop, squid rings, chicken meat, fried fish, sauted kangkong leaves, gumbo or okra, red egg and tomato. Balaw-Balaw Restaurant has also become popular for its scrumptious and exotic dishes such as adobong sawa (python) sa bawang or gata, adobong bayawak (Chicken Lizard) sa bawang or gata, tapa ng baboy damo (wild boar) and usa (deer), adobong palaka (frogs), and palos (eel) cooked as adobo and dinilawan.
    Best seller too is the ginisang balaw-balaw and burong dalag or hito or kanduli. The restaurant also whips up native salads such as ensaladang labanos, which are squeezed the old fashioned way but made more savory with their own sweet-sour sauce garnished with bits of tinapa (smoked fish) and chopped sibuyas tagalog (challots). There are also ensaladang kamias, pinaksiw na ampalaya (slices of bitter gourd, raddish and eggplant cooked in sweet-sour sauce), ensaladang talong (grilled eggplant with vinegar and coconut milk).
Cebu Pacific flies daily to Changi, Singapore
    The Philippines air transport industry soared to new heights as the country’s second largest air carrier established regular flights to Singapore.
    Cebu Pacific Air now calls at the Changi Airport. In its recent maiden flight to the airport, Cebu Pacific unloaded Filipino passengers led by Lance Gokongwei, chief executive officer of CPAir. They were welcomed by Singapore’s famed lion dance.
    Singapore aviation officials hailed the new air service saying it would further improve trade between the two countries.
    “The services of Cebu Pacific Air will enhance the existing extensive trade and tourism links between our two countries,” Ho Beng Huat, acting director-general of civil aviation, said.
    On the other hand, the addition of another airline to the ranks of those operating at Changi was seen as strengthening Singapore’s position as an aviation hub in the region. Changi is linked to 140 cities in 49 countries by 61 airlines.
    Cebu Pacific Air will operate daily scheduled flights between Singapore and Manila, increasing Changi’s connectivity to Manila from 35 to 42 weekly scheduled flights.
Marine life finds sanctuary at Hundred Islands
    Marine life at the the Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) can now heave a sigh of relief. After years of wanton destruction brought about by illegal fishing practices and carelessness, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of Pangasinan finally declared areas of the HINP a fish sanctuary.
    In a resolution passed by the board, PAMB said that all forms of fishing is now prohibited in the 265,209-square meter park to resuscitate its dying marine ecosystem.
    The protected area covers only a portion of the 1,844-hectare park to ensure that fisherfolks from the coastal communities are not deprived of their continuous source of livelihood.
    Authorities said the fishing communities of HINP would be the ultimate beneficiaries of the restoration zone. Drawing inspiration from the marine conservation program being done at the Apo Island, PAMB said the fish sanctuary would not only increase the fish catches of HINP fishermen but would also enhance the park’s marine bio-diversity and thus, would also bring in tourism.
    The fish sanctuary shall be under strict protection from all fishing as well as human activities except for scientific studies, research, restoration activities and controlled tourist viewing, diving and snorkeling activities.
    The covered zone shall be properly demarcated with buoys to warn ships against anchoring or the throwing of anchor in these areas. Mooring, the tying of boats to buoys, shall only be allowed in designated areas to protect the transplanted corals in the area and prevent the disturbance of the underwater eco-system.
    A maximum fine of P500,000 and imprisonment of not more than six years shall be imposed against persons who shall fish or hunt in the protected area.
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