Mabinoy: Iconic artist of Bantayan, Cebu

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Saturday, May 3, 2014


WHAT impact does an artist have over the community’s cultural life?

A lot, I learned as I finally witnessed a story my father Jose once told me, about “carrozas as big as houses” that still highlight the celebration of lent in his hometown of Bantayan, Cebu. I boarded a plane from Davao City, motored down to the Hagnaya Port in Northern Cebu, and after a one hour ferry ride , arrived in time to see 32 carrozas, 18 on Holy Thursday and 14 on Good Friday.

After the morning mass on Easter Sunday, the tableau of pasos or the life-like statues featured on the the carrozas, were all back in various Bantayanon homes to wait for the next year’s Lenten celebration. Some families have housed the pasos for as long as seven generations.

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As the Lenten celebration was in full swing, a collection of the other sculptures of Severino Carabio (1877-1958) that are found in the altars of Bantayanon homes and the only extant painting of the Sacred Heart on cardboard were fittingly on exhibition in the historic rooms of the 16th century church convent museum of St. Peter and Paul.

Mabinoy as he is lovingly remembered by the people and the artists that carry on his tradition, lived and worked along Zamora street in Binaobao, Bantayan. He sculpted magnificent pasos of four carrozas in mango wood and trained generations of artists in his workshop.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 04, 2014.

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