Demand for Calungsod icons go up ahead of canonizationBy Ador Vincent Mayol
Cebu Daily News
WITH a chisel on his left hand and a hammer on the other, 52-year-old wood carver Ramon Gillangao began pounding on a tree log in front of him.
Ten minutes after, Gillango managed to carve out the face of the Blessed Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod.
“Dose na kabuok ang akong nabuhat nga ingon ani. (I was already able to carve 12 images of Blessed Pedro),” Gillangao said.
With 30 years of experience, Gillangao is among the workers of a carving shop in barangay Basak, Cebu City who are kept busy sculpting images of Calungsod in various sizes ahead of the Oct. 21 canonization of the Visayan martyr.
Since September 2012, the shop owned by 94-year-old Francisco dela Victoria received 25 orders of Calungsod’s image—most of whom came from various parishes in Cebu and Leyte.
Dela Victoria is presently confined in a Cebu City hospital after he suffered a stroke last Sept. 21. His shop is being managed by his grandson Gerber Cabañero.
Prices of the images ranged from P8,000 to P35,000 depending on their sizes. Small images of Calungsod are also sold at P300 to P650 at the Blessed Pedro Calungsod Shoppe beside the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Cebu City.
At a shop in barangay Duljo Fatima, Cebu City stood a four-foot wooden image of Calungsod clad in an all-white camisa de chino.
Sculptor Loloy Ebdalin said the image will undergo several repairs within the week.
While most of the images carved in the shop are made out of mahogany, others were produced from fiberglass and plaster of Paris mixed with cement.
He said a few devotees who commission image sculptures add their own personal requests even if it doesn’t conform to the Church sanctioned look of Calungsod.
One such image is a three foot tall wooden image of Calungsod which holds a rosary and has blood stains covering part of the body.
“It’s one of their requests, it is said to demonstrate Calungsod’s martyrdom,” Ebdalin said.
For his part, Cabañero said Cebu Archbishiop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal personally gave an image of Calungsod to his grandfather during the latter’s birthday last August 21.
Cabañero said the cardinal asked them to add a carved Doctrina Cristiana or Book of Christian Doctrines on the image.
He said Vidal has been visiting his grandfather who used to be one of the altar servers of the late Cebu Archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales.
The image of Calungsod given by Vidal to Cabañero measures two feet.
It holds a huge palm leaf and the Book of Christian Doctrines.
Cabañero said the images of Calungsod which they carved are based on the official image made in Paete, Laguna which was handpicked by Vidal.
“Recently, we only receive orders of Pedro Calungsod images,” he said.
An image which measures two feet is worth P8,000 while a life-sized image, usually six feet in height, amounts to P35,000, Cabañero said.
He said the images are carved out from mahogany trees which lasts for a long time.
As of yesterday, at least five images of Calungsod that were made in dela Victoria’s shop are still unclaimed.
On the base of the images were etched the words “San Pedro Calungsod.”
Some of Calungsod’s images already have a golden “halo” to signify the Visayan martyr’s looming induction into the pantheon of saints.
Cabañero said it took them two weeks to one month to finish one image of Calungsod.
“Carving images of Blessed Pedro has been seemingly a blessing to us,” he said in Cebuano.
Cabañero is hoping Calungsod will help them in praying before the Lord for the fast recovery of his grandfather. “I hope my grandfather will be discharged from the hospital,” he said.
Cabañero’s wife Josephine said Calungsod’s images may not have exactly the same forms.
But she said there is nothing wrong about it as long as the salient features of the Visayan martyr are present.