OUR country’s independence was paid for with blood from years of fighting by our ancestors. The struggle continues, however, in managing the independence we now enjoy that, this nation at one point, could only dream of.
To remind the current generation and the generations to come of the glorious past which bore the present, Palm Grass The Cebu Heritage Hotel thought it would be best to etch these stories on wood so that it may never be erased. The hotel unveiled the first wood relief sculpture of a series of seven sculptures that show important events in Cebu’s history from the arrival of the Spaniards until the end of the colonization in 1898. The artwork entitled Leon Kilat ug ang Kagubot sa Sugbo sa 1898 (Leon Kilat and the revolution of Cebu in 1898) was revealed to the public on June 12 for the celebration of Independence Day in Palm Grass, the only heritage hotel in Cebu.
“I am not originally from Cebu but I have been residing here since I came to take up my college education back in 1989. It’s only recently that I became interested in local history particularly in this place I now call my home,” said Radel Paredes, the artist behind the series of sculptures for Palm Grass.
Delighted in the corporate advocacy of the hotel for the Heritage of Cebu, which he shares, Radel was led into a discovery of not only the specifics for his artwork but also of his own heritage despite having originally come from Surigao.
“This project on Cebu’s history has led me to do further research. For this particular work, I had to find out exactly what kind of rifles the Spaniards were using or how the Cebuanos looked like and what they were wearing. The release of the events that led to the Tres de Abril revolt led me to discover the story of Florencia Gonzales who was one of those that inspired the revolt and eventually became one of the first martyrs. Incidentally, the Gonzaleses is a family who were also Surigaonons. We found out later that they were actually the descendant of the same family who also resided in Surigao del Norte in the place where my Lola also came from. So, in the course of my research for this series of artworks, I have been led to discover the story of my own family. It makes me proud to know that my own forbears actually took part in the glorious moment when finally Filipinos; Cebuanos and Surigaonuns rose up against foreign intimidation back in the late 19th century,” said the artist.
Having etched the stories of glory of the beautiful history of Cebu, they remain to be told and remembered for more years to come.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2017.
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