The municipality of Angono in Rizal province is home to two National Artists: painter Botong Francisco and musician Lucio San Pedro. But save for this reputation it had little else.
The municipal government did not have a clear goal, traffic congestion was bad, there was no transport terminal, flash flooding was not uncommon, the surroundings were dirty, and worse of all, the people seemed like they couldn’t care less.
Angono was a third-class municipality then, and it was every bit a picture of a sad, pathetic town.
As Mayor Gerardo V. Calderon himself put it: “We had no direction.”
Yet a dramatic transformation took place between 1999 and 2002. Angono was consistently bagging awards for being the cleanest and greenest in the province. In 2001, it was finally elevated to a first-class municipality.
Angono’s road to development started with the basics. With the help of people’s organizations, Angono drafted a statement of its vision and mission as a municipality that became its roadmap to development.
After it identified tourism promotion as its centerpiece program, Angono embarked on a physical makeover. Road obstructions were removed to decongest traffic, the public market was renovated, the public transport system was organized, and volunteers were enlisted to keep the main roads clean.
The town’s physical rehabilitation was meant to uplift the people’s moral motivation and make them feel proud of their hometown, says Mayor Calderon.
“Kapag inspired ang tao, parang in love yan. Lahat ginagawa para marating ang kanyang pangarap.” (“When people are inspired, they seemed in love. They will do everything to reach their dreams,” he says.)
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2003 Galing Pook Awards.