Carlos “Botong” V. Francisco was a titan of Filipino iconography. Drawing from pre-Spanish legends from the north and south of the
Philippines, he created a world of noble Filipinos.
He also enjoyed depicting the microcosmos of his beloved hometown of Angono, where he was always in the thick of community life, from the
town fiesta to its many everyday rituals.
Part and parcel of his love for the Filipino way of life was his fascination with our myths and folk tales. In these two works, he depicts the
tikbalang—the half-man, half-horse creature that would lead people astray and away from home. For Botong, the tikbalang would have a
double-edged meaning. One of his most famous works, in fact, is the Tikbalang, which he would often call The Critic.
The second work of a dwarf atop an anthill is none other than the Nuno sa Punso, a sort of guardian of the forest who would heap illnesses on
those who cut down trees without first making offering and asking his permission to do so.
In 2017, León Gallery auctioned a pair of handsome doors portraying the fiestas and myths of the Philippines from the Roces Collection. It included
a tikbalang and a nuno.
— Lisa Guerrero Nakpil