The Neolithic Rock Art Petroglyphs of Angono | Rizal

When Benelyn and I was planning our mini road trip in Rizal, we came up with a handful of places to visit. I pitched the Wind Mill Farm in Pililla while she suggested the Petroglyphs in Angono. “You haven’t been?” I asked her in a surprised tone since she live in the same town. “Never been” she answered me. “Great, same here”, I told her. Problem solved. Ditching spontaneity, we now have a road trip destination.

Petroglyphs of Angono
The Petroglyps of Angono was included in the 1996 World Monuments Watch

After taking our lunch at Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery, we drove off to the site of the Petroglyphs located in a forested hills spanning the boundary of Angono and Binangonan.

The Re-discovery of the Angono Petroglyphs

Shrouded from the world by the thick woodland for many centuries, the Petroglyphs re-emerged in 1965 after a group of boy scouts accompanied by the National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco stumbled upon an interesting cave during a camping trip. It is said that while resting, Botong Francisco, who surely knows an art when he sees one, noticed an arresting set of deeply-carved lines and patterns hewn on the outer walls of the cave. Upon further probing, he recognized the outlines as a form of primitive drawings.

Petroglyphs of Angono
The Petroglyphs of Angono was also declared as a National Cultural Treasure in 1973
After reporting his discovery to the National Museum of the Philippines, a team of archaeologists led by Alfredo Evangelista trooped to the cave to conduct a research.  Excavations on the site revealed fragmented bits of earthenware, flake stone tools, obsidian flakes and other blunt instruments believed to date back as far as the Neolithic Age—or before 2000 BC.

Celine Murillo live in the same province
The rock-art are believed to have been created by using stone tools
The Angono Petroglyphs also revealed a total of 127 drawings engraved inside the cave's rock shelter occupying an area of 63 meters wide and 5 meters high. Many of the rock-art depicted thin-sized human and animal figures. A few were left indistinguishable because of the occurrence of erosion.

An educational Road trip

After we arrived at the location of the Petroglyphs, a group of school kids pointed to us the tunnel beside the signage, where we should enter. The tunnel around 150 meters long appeared dreamlike as if one would enter into another dimension. We alighted out of it with a view of a golf course (the construction of it contributed to the deterioration of the nearby Petroglyph stone wall) before proceeding to the tourism center where we met the guide who accompanied us to the exact site of the Petroglyphs and narrated its history.

For some reason, long tunnels give me the creeps
It was an educational road-trip indeed to a place I’ve been meaning to visit for the longest time. Making this brief exploration of Rizal more special, was the fact that I was with a wonderful company in the person of Benelyn.

Benelyn Javier in Angono Petroglyphs
with Benelyn at the view deck of Angono Petroglyphs
Imagine, being in a place where some of the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines used to take shelter—like more than 2,000 years ago. I grew up knowing our history started only when the Spanish came in 1521, but I know that we have been charting our own history a long time before that. 

I’m confident that along with the Tabon Caves in Palawan, the Kalanay Cave in Masbate, the limestone tombs of Kamhantik in Quezon, and similar ones in Butuan, our country still hides archaeological relics that will suggest the presence of more ancient civilizations.