Known as the “Art Capital of the Philippines,” the town of Angono in Rizal province is ideal for those looking for a unique art and food tour near Manila. Home to the famed Angono-Binangonan Petrogylphs (the oldest known work of art in the country), quirky folk art museums and restaurants serving native and exotic cuisine, Angono offers an alternative destination for weekend food trips.
Angono is a bit underrated compared to popular foodie destinations like Tagaytay and Pampanga. But if you’re into folk art and food, it can be an interesting road trip destination for those based in the metro. It’s easy enough to get here by public or private transportation. I prefer driving a motorcycle because you can avoid the traffic. We usually pass Angono going to Art’s hometown in Binangonan, so we’ve managed to sample a lot of the restaurants in the area over the years. But I’m highlighting the ones where you can enjoy food and local art/culture at the same time.
Angono is best known for celebrating the Higantes Festival, a fiesta held in honor of San Clemente, which is celebrated with a procession of higantes or gian paper mache effigies, which have become a symbol of the local culture. You can see Higantes and festival masks and heads decorating a lot of the local restaurants. For those who want to get a taste of Angono’s distinctive folk art with native cuisine, here are my top picks of where to eat there.
Balaw-Balaw Specialty Restaurant and Art Gallery
One of the most famous restaurants in Angono is Balaw-Balaw, which dishes out a healthy serving of folk food and folk art. It gets its name from the condiment made from fermented rice, shrimps, and bamboo shoots, that is a staple in every household in Angono. The sauce goes great with grilled dishes and fish.
They serve a few exotic dishes on the menu including Soup No. 5 (butt and balls of cow), sinabawang balut (duck eggs cooked like bulalo), nilasing na palaka (frogs either marinated in wine or cooked as adobo) and kamaro (crispy deep-fried crickets) which makes the place popular with adventurous foodies.
Balaw-Balaw has extensive collection of folk art work and furniture which are displayed on the three floors of the building.
Balaw Balaw Specialty Restaurant. 16 Doña Justa Subd. Ph. I Manila East Highway Angono, Rizal, Philippines, 1930 Angono, Rizal.
Nemiranda Arthouse and Atelier Museum Cafe
Nemiranda Arthouse and Atelier Museum Cafe is a family art museum owned by renowned Angono artist Nemesio R. Miranda (more popularly known as Nemiranda) who specializes in paintings and sculptures celebrating the rural scenery and figures from folklore.
The Atelier Museum Cafe serves local specialties like fried itik (duck), pesang dalag (stewed mudfish), sinigang na kanduli (a type of catfish), alongside regular Pinoy staples like tapsilog, grilled liempo, chicken barbecue and pork sisig at affordable prices.
You can visit the art gallery and museum for a small entrance fee. Oh yeah, this restaurant has one of the most graphic bathroom signs I’ve ever seen. :p
Atelier Museum Cafe is located at #5 Dona Elena St., Dona Justa Village, Phase 1, Brgy. San Roque, Angono, Rizal.
AngNewNo Arts Design Cafe
AngNewNo Arts Design Cafe gives a more modern spin to folk art and food. The cafe’s name is the shortened version of the term “Ang New Angono” (The New Angono) and the place serves as a gallery for aspiring artists.
The two-story main dining space serves as an art gallery for paintings, woodcrafts and sculptures by talented young artists from the province of Rizal. AngNewNo serves some interesting fusion dishes including pizza topped with tinapa and itik pulutan favorites like red hot itik, sisig, and crispy pata, as well as budget-friendly rice meals.
The colorful Higantes-inspired festival masks in front of the restaurant’s facade and in the outdoor dining/garden area add a nice local touch.
AngNewNo Arts Design Cafe. 6 Manila East Road, Brgy. San Roque, Angono, Rizal.
Art Capital Cafe
Art Capital Cafe is a cozy cafe that serves coffee and non-coffee based frappes and more. They have interesting drinks like Butter Beer, Mocha Mint and Salted Caramel Mocha. The cafe also showcases showcases art pieces from up and coming local artists.
BONUS: Perlie’s Garden Restaurant (Binangonan)
It’s technically not in Angono anymore, but for those who like dining with a view, Perlie’s Garden Restaurant in Eastridge in nearby Binangonan, Rizal is also worth a stop if you’re in the area. They serve home-cooked Filipino meals like buttered fried chicken, panict, tuna sisig and sinigang and the like.
Perlie’s Garden Restaurant is a good stop if you’re heading up to the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs or staying in Thunderbird Resort Rizal.
READ MORE: Thunderbird Resorts & Casino, Rizal