CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The much-awaited 225-page book on the life and works of premiere Ecclesiastical artist Willy Layug that aims to capture the life of one of the giants of Philippine woodcraft art will be out this July 9.

The book will be presented before bishops of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines while a soft launch is set at SM City Pampanga on the second week of July.

The book, written by Laya Boquiren, chronicles Layug's rise to fame from his hardships as a struggling artist and his eventual rise as one of the country’s most sought after wood carving artist. The book is also a catalogue of the artist’s many works all over the country and abroad.

Layug’s works could be seen as far as Mindanao and even in Rome. Layug said that the book is aimed at putting into print his life lessons as an artist.

Boquiren, he said, was able to write his life story through the proper artistic light and in the context of contemporary events. Boquiren has authored three textbooks on art under one of the leading publishers in the country and has two other art history publications on the way. She started her career as a curatorial consultant for Gallery Genesis, a gallery specializing in aquarelle, in addition to having an extensive collection of selected masterpieces spanning turn of the century, modern, and contemporary periods.

The book’s photographs were handled by internationally-awarded photographer Ruston Banal who is a friend of the prolific sculptor. It could be remembered that Layug was tasked during the recent Papal Visit to create the images used in the various Papal Masses. Chief among these was the image of Our Lady of Hope that has now become the icon of the Yolanda disaster and has become a subject of devotion in Palo, Leyte.

Layug donated the original image to the Archdiocese of Palo. The original image is seven feet tall, including the base of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus.

He now joins the elite rank of four other “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” Filipino awardees, which include musician and composer Ryan Cayabyab, noted liturgist and theologian Dom Anscar Chupungco, OSB, Jesuit composer and Cebu politician-writer Mariano Jesus Diosomito Cuenco and musician Rev. Fr. Eduardo Pardo Hontiveros. The Kapampangan artist from Betis, Guagua is the first Filipino to up the first ever Filipiniana-inspired altar dedicated to Filipino Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Pedro Calungsod at the prestigious Pontifico Collegio Filippino.

He has done major retablos including that at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Nueva Ecija, the St. John Cathedral in Lingayen-Dagupan, San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod and Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

Layug, a presidential merit awardee for his outstanding achievement in Ecclesiastical Art, was also named Outstanding Guaguaeño for sculptor, Most Outstanding Kapampangan for ecclesiastical art and Best Actor in the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival for “Dukit,” an autobiography of his life as an artist.