From the Botong of his art
(The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - This year’s holiday collection celebrates Philippine’s greatest muralist of all time, Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco, who comes from the artist town of Angono, Rizal. Freeway’s Holiday 2012 collection of the National Artist Collectors’ Series pays tribute to his life and amazing murals. This most anticipated collaboration collection also marks the Botong’s centennial anniversary. The artist was born in 1912.

From canvas to fabric, Freeway immortalizes Botong Francisco’s paintings as wearable art.  The collection consists of beautiful tailored dresses in woven poplins and soft materials like chiffon, a range of silhouettes of casual and corporate tops, plus fave gift items like accessories, watches, tote bags and more. The 25-piece collection comes in vibrant holiday colors, befitting the color palette of Botong Francisco’s murals and paintings. Like always, an attractive packaging and a biography tag accompanies each item.

Carlos V. Francisco (Nov. 4, 1912-March 31, 1969) was born and raised in Angono, Rizal.  He was affectionately called “Botong” by his family and friends. Botong spent his college years at the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts and during those days, specifically in 1959, he was the recipient of a Most Outstanding Alumnus award. But he actually did not finish his degree and was forced to work. Later on before the war, he became a professor at the University of Santo Tomas School of Architecture and Fine Arts. 

Botong Francisco singlehandedly revived the forgotten art of mural and remained its most distinguished practitioner for nearly three decades.  He was best known for his works depicting some of the country’s impactful historical moments. Botong was the second Filipino to receive the title of National Artist in Painting, after Fernando C. Amorsolo. Botong, the 1964 Republic of the Philippines Cultural Heritage awardee, was hailed as Philippine National Artist for Visual Arts in 1973.

He was one of the first Filipino modernists who revolutionized art and deviated from Fernando Amorsolo’s romanticism of Philippines scenes.  His great works include “Blood Compact,” “First Mass at Limasawa,” “The Martyrdom of Rizal,” “Bayanihan,” “Magpupukot,” “Fiesta,” “Bayanihan sa Bukid,” “Sandugo,” “Portrait of Purita,” “The Invasion of Limahong,” “Serenade,” and “Muslim Betrothaland” the famed “Nose Flute” which set an auction record of P27.8 million and is now owned by a private Indonesian collector. 

Joining Freeway in the 100th anniversary of Botong Francisco are Angono Artists Association, Ayala Museum, Blanco Museum, Botong Francisco Family, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Far Eastern University, Lopez Museum, Municipality of Angono, Museo Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Museum Foundation of the Philippines, Philippine Art Awards, University of Santo Tomas Museum, UP Vargas Museum and Yuchengco Museum.  There will be series of events and celebrations throughout the year staged by each of the institution.

 “Sabado sa Museo at si Botong Francisco with Dr. Patrick D. Flores and Carlos (Totong) G. Francisco” at the National Art Gallery on Nov. 10; Holy Mass at Botong’s grave at Angono Public Cemetery on Nov. 4; Botong Francisco centennial event in Angono on Nov. 4; a painting exhibition by Botong’s apprentice — Salvador Juban, Yuchengco Museum on Nov. 16; UST College of Fine Arts and Design student exhibit on the third week of November; Botong conference in FEU on Nov. 19; CCP Exhibit of Dick Baldovino’s photographs of Botong Francisco; Angono Higantes Festival, Angono, Rizal on Nov. 22; Angono town fiesta, Angono, Rizal on Nov. 23; Ayala Museum “Images of a Nation” exhibit on Dec. 4; Target date of launching of the consortium’s monograph in February 2013; Botong tribute exhibit of Angono Artists Association at SM Megamall/Podium in February 2013; and the UST Museum Annual Inter-School On the Spot Painting Competition and Exhibition from February to March 2013.

For information on the collection and Botong’s 100 anniversary celebration, visit Freeway’s new website, or Freeway’s Facebook page ( and Twitter ( 


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