Exploring the pre-historic Angono Petroglyphs

Posted by on April 6, 2008

I recently joined a tour which allowed us to discover the beauty of Angono in Rizal, Philippines. The highlight of our tour was the visit to the Angono Petroglyphs.

Angono Petroglyphs

The angono Petroglyphs is said to be the oldest rock art in the Philipines today. Dating back as early as 6000 BC to 2000 BC. The art sketches were not actually done inside a cave but on a? rock shelter that is very open to the harsh weather conditions like rains, strong winds, etc.

Angono Petroglyphs

Various formations can be found at the petroglyphs site. There are human-like figures and those which seemed like animals. I was so amazed at what I see. I must admit, for the longest time, the Angono Petroglyphs has been on my must-see places list. And thank God, My wishes were fulfilled last week!

Angono Petroglyphs

The Angono Petroglyphs were originally discovered by the Philippine National Artist for Viual Arts Carlos Botong Francisco. The place was then placed under the administration of the National Museum of the Philippines. Several adzes, jars and fossils were found in the area. This can now be viewed at the Angono Petroglyphs Museum located nearby the rock shelter.

Angono Petroglyphs

These petroglyphs are of animate figures interpreted as representing juveniles or infants on a rock face in a rock shelter. The shelter is located southeast of the city of Manila, three kilometers from the town of Angono, and some 235 meters above sea level. The shelter if formed by quaternary volcanics, located on the eastern limb of an anticline. The cave faces 305 degrees west and measures 632. 84 meters, 4.68 meters in height and 8.2 meters in depth. The cave was formed at the close of the Pleistocene, early part of the Holocene, at a period when the quaternary alluvium was not yet extensive.

Angono Petroglyphs

The petroglyphs occupy 25 meters of the rockwall with a height of 3.7 meters from the floor level. The engravings are executed into all the available space on the wall with no orientation nor association with one another. There are no relationships in scale and size, and no baseline.

The engravings are made on the tuff layer of the wall with “v” and “u” cross sections, depending on the sizes of the images, the largest of which is 63 centimeters. There is no attempt at making relieves. The general typology of the images is a rounded head on a narrow neck, rectangular body with a lower taper, linear flexed limb with three digits each. There is a total of 127 still discernable figures. There are non-cognitive incisions. There are 51 distinct types.

Angono Petroglyphs

The engravings are not decorative but are symbolic representations, executed by different individuals using a single mental template, apparently with the same cultural persuasion. Associated with healing and sympathetic magic.

The dating of the petroglyphs is probably late Neolithic Age. Only highly fragmented low-fired pottery was recovered, a number of Paleolithic cobble and flaked tools, and Neolithic Age polished adzes. The Philippine Neolithic ranges from 6000 BC to 2000 BC.

The petroglyphs of Angono Rizal are similar in configuration to those found in southern Thailand, Sulawesi and Malaysia. All are co-eval being approximately done during the span of the Neolithic Age of Southeast Asia.; while those of Alab Mt. Province have counter parts in the Pacific Islands and Hawaii, dating later than the Philippine Metal Age.. The charcoal petrographs of Cagayan province are of different configuration that cannot be related exactly elsewhere and which at present could not be dated, while the red hematite hand prints are comparable with those found all over Asia, Australia and Europe.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Tentative List

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Comments (1)


  1. philippine girls says:

    wow! it’s like in egypt… we really have that? nice, so cool!

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