FELIX Cabusas felt he had sinned for sculpting religious icons, like the Sto. Niño, in exchange for money.

Naka-ampo ko sa una nga pasayloon ta ko niya kay mao ra man ni’y trabaho nga arang-arang og kita (I prayed that he would forgive me because this is the only work that gives me a better pay),” he said.

But Cabusas said he has to continue working because he needs to feed his family.

Nakasabot ra tingali siya nako (I think he understands me),” he said.

Sculpting is a tricky art because one needs a steady pair of hands and eyes that are focused on details, he said.

At 44, Cabusas does not drink too much coffee before sculpting because a high intake of caffeine unsettles him.


He also now wears eyeglasses so he can see the finer details of the statue he is making.

The Sto. Niño statues he made were based on the photographs or replicas of the original icon kept in the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.

Some sculptors just imagined the face of the Holy Child, he said.

Cabusas worked as a carpenter in his youth. “I earned very little then,” he said.

In 1998, the late Teodoro Bentain taught Cabusas the basics of sculpting wooden statues.

Cabusas, a resident of Basak San Nicolas, mastered the craft of sculpting religious icons. He said that he earns about P800 for a 12-inch statue.

But in this year’s Fiesta Señor, he only got a few orders for Sto. Niño statues.

“I pray every day that I would not run out of customers,” he said in Cebuano.

He said that the Sto. Niño must be watching over him because he has never been seriously ill.

He said he longs to have a child with his partner but because of his age, all he is asking is for good health.