Humanities 2 Fieldtrip to Rizal (July 8, 2007)

It was July 8 and the sun was still hiding among the clouds. It was pitch black in our village. I am hurrying to find a cab to get me to school. Today is our fieldtrip in Humanities II. We are going to Rizal to visit various galleries, museums, a petroglyph cave, and an exotic restaurant.

I can not wait to get to school. My excitement was so evident yesterday when I went to the mall to buy snacks for this trip. I can not wait to see the Art Capital of the Philippines, which is Angono, Rizal. I am not an artist myself but that is my greatest frustration. I have tried and tried to be good in arts but God gave me other talents. He has other plans for me. Anyway, my interest in the arts is still with me. And I guess, it forever will be.

I arrived at school at exactly 5:45 am. The bus was already there but we can not enter it yet. We have to wait for our professor, Dr. Levy Achanzar-Labor. There were already around 10 students when I arrived. I was just so happy to get to school early. Dr. Labor arrived around 6 am and then we were allowed to get in the bus. I took a window seat, my favorite, and waited for my friend JV Lalusis. She is a Pharmacy student as well though not my classmate in Humanities II for she took the 7-8:30 am slot.

The bus was set to leave at 6:30 am. I was calling JV for I was very afraid that the bus might leave without her. Haha. I was acting like a child, fearing that I would be left out. Haha. But JV arrived at last… At exactly 6:30 am.

The bus left the UP Manila grounds at 6:45 am and, while the bus was moving, Dr. Labor talked about the itinerary for the day. Then she introduced to us Rizal and the places we are visiting. There was the house and gallery of Carlos “Botong” Francisco, the Blanco Family museum, the gallery and studio of Orville D. R. Tiamson, Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Gallery, and the Angono Petroglyphs.

Then, Dr. Labor left us to watch “Ice Princess” on the TV. It was a very light movie… but a very touching one.

Anyway, we arrived after an hour at Angono, Rizal. We first walked to the house of Carlos “Botong” Francisco. As we walked to his home, we could see the different murals on the wall done by him. It was great to see such works… and it aroused my interest. Though they were monochromatic, the lines and the curves, the ridges and the overall appearance amazed me. It was good to see such works preserved for posterity. We arrived at his home shortly and we were welcomed in. We saw pictures of Carlos “Botong” Francisco and his artworks. There were also pictures of Angono… pictures taken so many years ago. It depicted the life in Angono as serene, tranquil, peaceful, and teeming with life. It was amazing how the photographer had the foresight to take these pictures. Who would have thought then that Angono would be called the Art Capital of the Philippines, right? Anyway, we visited his gallery next. It was well-lighted albeit small. It was done in white and his paintings were hung on the wall. The walls were covered… and yet there were still a lot of paintings which were found just propped up on the floor. His paintings were done with amazing color expertise. Most of his paintings were vivid with color. He also have a few sensual paintings… depicting humans making love. They were done with some geometric shapes but the overall appearance was of grace, fluidity, and love.

Then, we headed to the Blanco Family Museum. Their logo was that of an overturned fish—with its belly on top. The reason was, I learned an hour later, that the fish is an image of a man; I think it was the great-grandfather Blanco, who has a potbelly and would always lie on his back. Thus, an image of a dead fish. It was an amusing thing, really.

When we went inside the museum, I was overwhelmed with the number of paintings inside. All of the artworks of the painting family were there—including those made when they were still toddlers. They were actually arranged by artist and chronologically. There were paintings of different sizes, different mediums used, and more. I was really amazed by them all. How I wish I could study there… Maybe, I’d be as great as the renowned Jose Blanco. 

My favorite painting there was that of a fluvial procession. It was huge—10×15 feet, maybe. It features 250 people… all real. Those people were painted one by one. Each visiting the house of Blanco for a painting session. I don’t know how many of those were still alive since most of them were old people. I was astounded by how the details were depicted. It was actually like a scene coming to life… It was done with great imagery with focus on so many details. I would like to own it, but unfortunately, it is not for sale—as most of the paintings are.

Next, we went to the gallery and studio of Orville D. R. Tiamson. It was a nice place. Very organized. There was actually a music studio! Mr. Tiamson is an all-around-artist, I may say. He is good in painting, music scoring, and more! He keeps on improving his craft, he said. There was a very large painting done for the present government. It featured the time before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was placed in power up to her accepting the position. Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada was depicted there. Also, a lot of things that transpired then like the opening of the envelopes, the People Power II, etc. It was really a grand painting. But, President Arroyo wants the images of former President Estrada erased! I was astounded… those events were part of history! And I can not think why President Arroyo wants them removed. It was even harder for the artist since it would take him a longer time to finish… I just hope the outcome of the painting would surpass President Arroyo’s expectations. Maybe she wants a painting with images of herself, only herself.

It was now time for lunch, and we went to Balaw-Balaw Restaurant. I tried an exotic dish there called U-OK. According to the owner, it is a larvae of a beetle. I never would have thought of eating one years ago. But I guess, I am brave enough now. There was a 3-level gallery there but most of them were sculptures… They were good sculptures but I did not go around much since my interest in sculptures does not match my interest in paintings.

Next, we went to the Angono Petroglyphs. It was actually a misnomer since the cave was actually in the Binangonan area already. We saw petroglyphs dating back to 3,000 BC! There were etchings of a woman giving birth, a turtle, and several other people.

Since we had more time to spare, we decided to visit Antipolo where we went to a church with an adjoining museum. It was nice to see another church in another place. It was quite different from our village church. It has a very high dome and lots of stained-glass windows. The area was large and so many people were there praying. JV and I had time to pray and so we did.

We went to the bus at around 3:30 pm and we were quite exhausted by then. I wish this kind of trips would happen again soon. This has been a one-of-a-kind experience for me. And I am very glad that I joined the trip.

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