Reviving Stone Age in Binangonan, Rizal

After centuries of hauling up the pages of man’s civilization, Binangonan native finds the best niche of reviving the art of Stone Age through sculpturing.

Stone Age is back!

Lasting Smile: One of the masterpiece

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In barangay Limbon-limbon, Binangonan, Rizal, a 30 minutes ride from the town proper, lives a man who revitalizes the work of art by means of rock.

Mr. Manuel Rozal or Simply Mang Manuel, 58 years-old, widow and a father is restoring and still working for rock statuettes in more than twenty years now.

Year 1190, when Mang Manuel had his humble beginning in wood carving industry in Darangan, Binagonan,Rizal there he was hired as a helper who maintained and cleaned the working area. No one taught him on how to carve, he was just watching while the workers were doing their jobs. From watching, he learned to carve and started to do it on his own. He started carving small figurines until he skillfully master it, thus officially bringing him into sculpturing.

Whilst in the peak level of momentum in carving, wood scarcity became the primary problem of local sculpture industry.
The children with the life sized statue.

“ Bigla kasi tumaas ang presyo ng kahoy, kaya humina ang negosyo at umalis ako” (The price of the wood rapidly increase that leads me to resign), he added . Thinking fast, he thought for an alternative way to earn income. He tried to carve those idle stones in the neighborhood until he noticed that he already configured numbers of statues, images and figurines. His relatives admired his masterpieces and brought them right away, hence the commencement of his monumental career.

Because of his relative’ referrals, numerous orders were coming. “ Diko nga akalain ganun kadami ang order” (I was surprised of the innumerable orders) he stated.
Jaycee showcase his talent in carving

Statues of different shapes and sizes which are sculptured at the mountain due to its unrestricted resources were created. From frogs, lions and elephants to Sta. Claus, Budha and Jesus Christ, the pride of Binangonan’s sculptured rocks and stones started to sell and delivered into numerous customers who were fanatics of this kind of art. His well-known buyers were Toni Gonzaga, Michael’s Restaurant, Balaw balaw Exotic Restaurant and different hotels and high profiled personas.

“Isang Beses nga , Pumasyal ako sa Luneta,malapit sa Quirino Grandstand. Laking tuwa ko na makitang nakarating ang gawa kong three wise monkeys at nakalagay pa dun na walang pagbabago” One time, we visited in Luneta near Quirino grandstand, It’s a glory of bliss seeing my masterpiece “the three wise monkey“ was displayed there, and it’s almost the same since the time it was bought from me) he proudly narrated.

Pampang ng Kayamanan : The place where in abundant rocks
for carving are available.
Mang Manuel’s earnings since he started sculpturing, amounted to two (2) million pesos, with these, he was able to fund his children’s education and send them to school. His son, a graduate of Electrical Engineering, is now working abroad and his daughter, a graduate Bachelor in Science in Business Administration is currently working in Mandaluyong and the remaining two are studying computer course.

Hopes and wishes of continuing the legacy of a man who brought pride to Binangonan’s artistry in sculpturing stirs up as Mang Manuel states, “ Tulad ngayon na matanda na ako, gusto kong may susunod sa akin” ( Just like this, Im too old for this and I’m hoping that someone will continue my legacy)

Taas noo : As Mang Manuel tell his story 
He already taught number of trainees in their barangay and currently, he’s training, for almost five months, his niece Jaycee Ibanez, a 17 year old, who stops studying due to financial problem and decided to learn sculpturing instead of doing nothing.

Truly, sculpturing is a gift given by God, by wood or rock, the art of it is lasting, prevailing and lasting.

“Dito umiikot ang buhay ko” he uttered in his melodious voice. However, he’s still looking for more youth who will continue his legacy, hoping that they may follow his footprints of instituting oneself, reviving the culture while keeping the land’s monumental heritage through the works of rock.

As i said Goodbye to the child

📍 Location: Binangonan, Philippines

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