The latest tourist attraction in Maragondon, Cavite are the Stone Carvings near the riverside of Barangay Caingin.According the some tricycle drivers that we met, the place is also known as “ukit-ukit”. We had an amazing experience riding on the tricycle because the driver was like a tourist guide to us. On our way to the stone carvings, we saw the Bonifacio Trial House. Additonally, Maragondon is the town where Bonifacio, the Supremo of the Katipunan and first recognized leader of the Philippine Revolution, was brutally executed.
There finally! We reached the famous stone sculptures in town after 2 hours of travel. We received a warm welcome from the neighborhood. Our team was so mesmerized with the Biblical images on stones.It was marvelously made by the Suarez Brothers; Valerio (57) and Oscar Suarez (60), native of Bry. Caingin. They carved replicas of the Last Supper, Pieta, Virgin and the Christ, and Jesus Christ.
We are so fortunate to meet and have a short interview with Mr. Valerio ‘Val’ Suarez, one of the famous stone carvers in Cavite. We asked him what motivated them to do such great sculptures. “Ano kasi, sa yelo talaga kami ng kapatid ko nag-uukit , tapos naisipan lang namin na i-testing yung bato dyan”( Well, my brother and I used to carve on ice. Then one day, we thought that maybe we could try carving on stone. Just for the fun of testing it), Mang Val said. “Eh sakto naman na malapit na mag semana santa no’n kaya ayon!”(Eh it just so happened that Holy Week was near so we started carving), he added. From the time that the Suarez Brothers created the carvings, the tourism of the town undeniably increased.
The Suarez Brothers were former ice sculptors, but when they retired, the two decided to clean and curve the Adobe like soil in the town famous for Bamboo farming. They started doing different Biblical images in a stone last March 2014. The Municipality of Maragondo supports the Suarez brothers in their projects. In fact, the Municipality is finding a right site for them to continue making stone carvings in the entire town of Maragondon. Mayor Rey A. Rillo, Municipal Mayor of Maragondon, awarded a Certificate of Recognition to the Suarez brothers last April 14, 2014. The Sangguniang Bayan also presented an SB Resolution as an acknowledgement of their efforts in boosting the tourism in Maragondon.
Maragondonians are unquestionably hospitable. Mang Val’s neighbor, Nataly Mark Novelo accompanied us to Caingin Hanging Bridge which is parallel to Pinagsanhan Hanging Bridge. Kuya Mark assured us that the hanging bridge is safe for us to have a walk, but Ichan and Yanyan has a yellow streak up their back. Joyce, Mey and I continued to walk with Kuya Mark. It was a great experience! Kuya Mark also toured us to their barangay.
Before we say goodbye to the beautiful town of Maragondon, we decided to drop by the Maragondon Church, the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church, which is identified as one of the National Cultural Treasures for their cultural significance and distinctive architecture. We didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities, so we went inside the church. We are captivated for its intricate retablos (Latin; an ornamental screenlike structure above and behind an altar) located at the main altars. My most favorite among its unique features are the impressive doors with very interesting carvings and the pulpit which is richly carved with symbols of the Virgin done in red, blue and gold.
SEPTEMBER 27, 2014
photo credits: yan & chan