National Holidays & Celebration

January 1 - Bagong Taon (New Year's Day)

January 9 - The Black Nazarene procession

March or April - Semana Santa (Holy Week)

November 1&2 - Undas (Day of the Dead)

December 24 - Noche Buena (Christmas)

December 25 - Araw ng Pasko (Christmas)

National Holiday
February 25 -E.D.S.A Revolution

April 9 - Araw ng Kagitingan

May 1 - Labor Day

June 12 - Independence Day

August 28 - National Heroes Day

November 30 - Bonifacio Day 

December 30 - Rizal Day



Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions, and one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling.

Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions, and one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, and often represents the majority of the surviving works (other than pottery) from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished almost entirely. However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, and this has been lost.


Philippine Sculpture HIstory


Of all the new art forms introduced, the natives took to sculpture instantly. The carving of anito was transformed into sculpture of the saints. These santos were used primarily for the church altars and retablos. It also replaced the anitos in the altars of the natives’ homes.

Carvings for churches include altarpieces called
retablos (usually with niches for the icons), the central point of any Catholic church. The retablo houses the tabernacle and the image of the town’s patron saint. Usually referred to as a "cabinet of saints",one would see a hierarchy of saints depending on their importance to the townspeople. The patron saint would be in the middle; less important saints would be in the periphery. The most elaborate retablos can be seen in the San Agustin Church in Intramuros.

Other parts of the church that may have carvings are church doors, pulpits, and
carrozas (floats that carry the saints for processions). The façade of churches may be carved from adobe, coral stone, and volcanic rock, among others. It may have carved images of saints, floral decorations or leaf decors. In the case of the Miag-ao Church in Iloilo, the façade is decorated with a carved image of St. Christopher carrying the Christ Child on his shoulders under a coconut tree. Relleves (carved images in relief) usually depict the Via Crucis. It may also show holy images in religious scenes. The earliest known sculptor in the Philippines is the 17th century sacristan, sculptor and silversmith Juan de los Santos (ca. 1590 – ca. 1660) of San Pablo, Laguna. A few of his extant works may be found at the San Agustin Convent museum.


Except for de los Santos, carvers were anonymous artisans before the 19th century. But in the mid-19thcentury, with the rise of the ilustrados and the opening of the country to international trade, higher artistic standards were demanded from the carvers/sculptors. A number of Filipinos found fame in sculpture such asCrispulo Hocson, Romualdo de Jesus, Leoncio Asuncion and Isabelo Tampinco.


The second half of the 19th century, as travel in and around the country considerably improved, saw a marked increase in the demand for non-religious souvenirs. Tipos del pais (human types of the country) sculptures, showing ordinary people doing everyday activities and wearing their local costumes, became the favorite. They also depicted the heads of the various ethnic groups.


The inclusion of sculpture in the Academia de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado de Manila’s curriculum in 1879 formalized training in sculpture. Known sculptors during this time were Bonifacio Arevalo, Graciano Nepomuceno, Marcelo Nepomuceno, and Anselmo Espiritu. Philippine National Hero Jose P. Rizal was a sculptor. He took up woodcarving lessons from Romualdo de Jesus and Paete master carver Jose Caancan.

Paete, a small woodcarving town in Laguna, Southern Luzon, produced the finest santo carvers during this period. The most prominent name is Mariano Madriñan who won a gold medal in the 1883 Amsterdam Exposition for his Mater Dolorosa (Sorrowful Mother).


In 1889, the first woman student, Pelagia Mendoza y Gotianquin, was accepted in the Academia de Dibujo Y Pintura by then Director Lorenzo Rocha. In 1892, Pelagia Mendoza won in the 1892 Columbus Quadricentennial Art Contest with a bust of Christopher Columbus




Engraving was introduced in the 1590’s by the Spanish colonizers. In 1593, the Dominicans published the La Doctrina Christiana en la Lengua Española y Tagala (The Christian Doctrine in the Spanish and Tagalog Language), first book printed in the country. On it was a woodcut engraving of St. Dominic by Juan de Veyra, a Chinese convert.


The religious orders owned printing presses and printed mostly prayer books and estampas. The estampas(prints of miraculous images) usually featured portraits of saints and religious scenes. Estampas andestampitas (smaller version of estampas) were distributed during town fiestas to the natives.


In the 18th century, copper etching became more popular. Filipino engravers like Francisco Suarez, Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay, Laureano Atlas, and Felipe Sevilla were the first Filipino artists to sign their works. And with words like "Indios Tagalo" or "Indio Filipino", affixed their social status on their works.


Francisco Suarez (ca. 1690 – ca. 1762) and Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay (1702 – ca. 1765) collaborated to depict landscapes, genre scenes and flora and fauna on the borders of maps commissioned by Fr. Murillo Velarde in 1733. These were probably the first secular images done in the country. The two also illustrated the pasyon written by Gaspar Aquino de Belen entitled Mahal na Passion ni Jesu Christong Panginoon Natin Na Tola (The Holy Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Verse), possibly the first pasyon written in the country.

Laureano Atlas made religious scenes and images. He did one of the earliest known portrait engraved on copper, a portrait of Archbishop Juan Angel Rodriguez in 1743. Phelipe Sevilla depicted scenes from the life of Christ.


Filipino engravers were the first to depict and reproduce brown madonnas. The Nuestra Senora de Guia was made in 1711, the oldest Marian image. The natives worship this icon like an anito.

Copperplate engraving remained popular until the introduction of a new printing medium. Lithography was introduced and this facilitated the printing of newspapers and periodicals in the country. It also enabled the printing of the local edition of Fr. Manuel Blanco’s Flora de Filipinas in 1878.

One of the popular newspapers during the 19th century was La Illustracion Filipina published by Don Jose Zaragosa. It had more than 100 issues from November 1891 to February 1895. It usually featured lithograph prints of people, landscapes and genre scenes. Since most of the family members know how to draw (including Carmen Zaragosa mentioned earlier), some of their works must have been published here.