Posted by December 21, 2007on
After visiting the Betis Church last week, I was then asked by my friends where to go next. READ: We had an itinerary at that time but we scrapped it at the last minute.
So I then asked some of the locals about the usual livelihood of the people in Betis and where do tourists often go after visiting church.
The people around the church pointed us to go to the Santa Ursula and check out the wood carving industry thriving around the place. When we got there, a few more locals informed us to go to San Agustin and check out the works of Willy Layug.
Hmmm, Willy Layug. The name sounds familiar to me. Yup, he was the same guy who was featured a few weeks back in GMA 7’s early morning TV Show, Unang Hirit.
So there we went to the work shop of Willy Layug known as the Betis Galleria. Inside his work shop you’ll get to see some of his men doing the wood sculpting job. From the pillars in church retablos, to the Risen Christ, to the Virgin Mary. From the miniature infant Jesus to the life size St. Joseph.
Will Layug is known internationally for his intricate wood works. He is especially known for making stuffs that are being used in the churches, like images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, saints, retablos, or the chair used by the priest. To further enhance his skill in the art of sculpting, He went to Seville, Spain to study.
As a testament to his fame, his works have already made it to the altars in various cities in the Philippines as well as in other parts of the globe like in Italy, Australia, and United States of America.
Mr. Layug also told us that the painting job is always done by hand. No air brush or spray painting. This explains why all of his works have very intricate details. I was even surprised to learn that the eyelashes in one of his works were done in paint and no fancy eyelash was attached. It was so realistic. He told us that all of the paints he is using is imported, and the nearest place to get it is in India.
Byahilo trying to paint the image of the Risen Christ
I then asked him what’s the difference between the wood works of the people of Paete, Laguna from the ones in Betis Guagua Pampanga. He told me that Paete sculptors usually use folk influences in creating their designs. The works in Betis on the other hand has more intricate details owing it to the influences of the West.
It was indeed a great honor for us to be invited by Mr. Layug to check out his home, which is located opposite the Betis Galleria. Inside his house we got to see two life size images getting finishing touches. He also proudly showed us his works and photographs during his study in Seville.
Our group with Mr. Willy Layug (in white shirt) in his house
Betis Galleria is located at 474 San Agustin, Betis Guagua, Pampanga, Philippines. You can contact them at telephone (045) 9003112
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