The life and Art of Carlos Botong Francisco

Posted by on July 11, 2009

Last Thursday, I was able to join a media tour to the house where National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco once lived.

Carlos “Botong” Francisco was one of the greatest Filipino visual artists and muralists, best known for his vibrant, sprawling murals specially commissioned by the Malacañang Palace, Manila City Hall, Philippine General Hospital and Fort Santiago.

Botong Francisco Museum

His masterpieces include the Malacañang mural “Fiesta”, “Code of Kalantiao (private collection), “Blood Compact” (Yuchengco Museum / RCBC Building), “First Mass at Limasawa” (National Museum), “The Martyrdom of Rizal” (Fort Santiago), “Bayanihan sa Bukid,” “Stations of the Cross” (Far Eastern University), “The Invasion of Limahong,” “Serenade,” and “Muslim Betrothal.”

Botong was also a multidisciplinary artist, working in the movies as a scriptwriter and production designer.

But more than anything, Botong was an artist who addressed the issue of national identity. Yet, despite his great impact on Philippine art, his works have grown obscure to the younger generations of Filipinos.

totong francisco

Part of the house has now been converted into a museum which cntains some sketches and memorabilia owned by the National Artist. Another section of the house has also been converted into an art gallery for Botong Francisco’s grandson, Carlos “Totong” Francisco II.

The museum houses an impressive collection of Botong Francisco’s sketches, old magazines, photos and some gifts from friends.

From there we then head to the house of Mr. Salvador Juban who was once his apprentice. Mr. Juban was able to retell his story with the art master citing a few anecdotes which we all love to listen. We got to visualize who Botong Francisco is from the point of view of somebody who has directly worked with him.

angono 00006

The art gallery also has a good collection of painting currently on display.

To rekindle interest in Botong Francisco, Vibal Foundation, Inc. (VFI) introduces a new addition to its Art Series of imprints: The Life and Art of Carlos V. Francisco.

The Life and Art of Carlos V. Francisco is set to be launched at the National Museum on Aug. 19, alongside another VFI Art Series title, Francisco V. Coching, which chronicles the milieu of the popular komiks illustrator, also edited by Flores, and accompanied by the full-color republication of Coching’s masterpiece work “El Indio.”

An exhibit, entitled “Telling Modern Time,” accompanies the launch and showcases a focused view of Botong and Coching’s works in the popular context.

The Botong and Coching books follow VFI’s first Art Series release in 2008, Fabian de la Rosa and His Times.

Listen to Salvador Juban as he recalls his life experiences with Botong Francisco:

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Comments (2)


  1. derrick macutay says:

    Thank you for featuring my teachers and my good friend Totong. Botong was my idol and influenced much of my work. Ninong Badong Juban was my mentor and his daughter, Haidee was my classmate in U.S.T. I would be spending my afternoon and even whole days in Angono instead of my class. I have learned much from the maestros including Mang Vicente Reyes, a cousin and assistant to Botong Francisco. hey have instilled in me the aesthetics,history,and morals of the arts. Botong remains to be one of my idolized artist and Ninong’s teachings are my backbone in praticing my art. I still continue to be Juban’s student,assistant and is forever grateful to their generosity.

  2. dan lerma says:

    where can we avail of this book? How many pages and images were included? Congrats to all those who made this endeavor possible…Our hats off to you and most especially to the Poet of Angono, the great Botong Francisco

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