Higantes Festival

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Delve into a rich artistic tradition, as the Philippine town of Angono plays host to the colourful Higantes Festival, Philippines, that takes place every year from the 22nd to the 23rd of November. This lively celebration coincides with the feast of Pope St. Clement I and is characterised by parading giants measuring up to heights of around twelve feet (3.66m), some of which are made out of paper-mache. 

Colonial history

The story behind the festival dates back to the time when Spanish landlords occupied Angono and allowed the locals to have only one annual celebration. None too pleased by this, the townspeople made huge giant like figures (known as "higantes") out of paper-mache as caricatures of their foreign masters which they paraded around as part of the festivities. While the original paper-mache art form was from Mexico, present construction methods involve more durable material such as plaster of Paris, bamboo, fibreglass and aluminium. 

The procession that takes place during the Higantes Festival revolves around the carrying of an image of San Clemente, known as the patron saint of fishermen. The image which is transported through the streets is followed by devotees known as "pahadores" who dress up as fishermen or wear other vibrant outfits. This lively procession makes its way through the town and ends up at the Laguna de Bay banks where the image of San Clemente is mounted on a floating pagoda.   

Giants racing, water spraying

Apart from the popular race that involves the Higantes, other notable events during the two day celebration include a specially sung mass, song contests, art exhibitions and not forgetting the local custom of spraying participants and passersby with water using any means possible!