Over the weekend, SM City Batangas hosts awarding of winners of Batangas City Photo Contest and Children’s Art Exhibit 2013, which is a yearly project of the city government. This year’s theme is the “Sto. Niño of Batangan Fluvial Procession” which took place last January 7. The Batangas City Photo Contest and Children’s Art Exhibit was to capture the solemn parade at the historic Calumpang River followed by a novena mass at the Basilica Immaculada Concepcion later in the evening. Local photographers submitted a total of 97 entries while students from public schools in Batangas participated the Children’s Art Exhibit with the Sto. Niño as their subject.
The awarding was held at The Atrium, SM City Batangas today, January 12, with no less than world-renowned and global visual artist Aris Bagtas as the head of board of judges for the photo contest. Bryan Yabut, graphic artist for Dickies clothing and Wilfredo Rufon, also a visual artist who hails from Mindoro, joined Bagtas in selecting and judging the winnable entries. Five entries were given Special Awards with Php 3,000 and medals each; and 3 bagged the major awards (Php 10,000 + trophy 3rd prize; Php 15,000 + trophy 2nd prize; and Php 20,000 + trophy 1st prize). Winners for the Children’s Art Exhibit were awarded prior to today’s event.
The Batangas City Photo Contest and Children’s Art Exhibit 2013 was a joint project by the city government Cultural Affairs headed by Mr. Ed Borbon and Office of Mayor Vilma Abaya Dimacuha held at SM City Batangas supervised by Ms. Gemina Buenaflor, Assistant Mall Manager.
The story of Sto. Niño of Batangan
In the year 1581, when Batangan or Batangas was founded, the Sto. Niño was proclaimed as patron saint of the local parish, according to Batangas Basilica records.
Story goes that the holy statue was on board a Spanish ship reroute from Manila to Cebu when a raging sea storm forced the vessel to seek refuge in the natural coves of Batangas Bay. The superstitious crewmen took the image of the Sto. Niño to a small church shore, that was the old Batangas Catholic Church. Placing the Holy Image on the altar, the visitors asked the priest and church goers to sing the “Te Deum” hymns. Miraculously, the storm subsided and the sea became very calm. The ship left for Cebu.
A few months later, a deaf-mute child playing along the Calumpang riverbank found a Sto. Niño image aboard a floating log, locally known as “batang.” Sometime later, the parish of Cebu reported that their image of the holy infant was missing. Officials of both Batangas and Cebu diocese presumed that the image was lost at sea and drifted back to Batangas. The accounts said, the efforts to take the Sto. Niño back to Cebu proved futile because every time it was taken aboard the ship, a storm blew hard and the sea went very rough. It was later decided, according to the story, that the Sto. Niño stayed in Batangas. and it did after negotiations approved by church officials and the gobernadorcillo of Cebu.
Batangas City holds its annual City Fiesta in honor of its patron, the Sto. Niño. A fluvial procession re-enacting the Sto. Niño’s entrance into the city through the Calumpang River is held every January 7, the first day of the novena.
Aris Bagtas – Global Visual Artist
Aris Bagtas’ origin traces back to Obando in Bulacan where he grew up to draw inspiration, is a man who is spiritually guided, a very evident characteristics which he most share in his artworks. As a visual artist, his paintings evolve from the fertile vision of Obando to the Passions of Christ and into the realms of local churches with his murals. A gifted artist who already made numerous solo exhibits under his name and continues to showcase his masterpiece, not just in the Philippines but also abroad, such as London and Vienna, just to name a few.
His works are best describe as folk, religious, and abstract arts in the league of Picasso and Van Gogh. We are honored to meet the creative artist in the persona of Aris Bagtas. Follow through for a separate article featuring Aris Bagtas.
Special thanks to Jesse Herrera, Digital Marketing Officer – SM Supermalls; Kristel Silang, Marketing Officer – SM City Batangas; Darlene Mangubat, Group Marketing Manager, Shopping Center Management Corp.; Bill Perez, Project Coordinator; Aris Bagtas; and to everyone who made this event coverage possible.
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