BETIS, GUAGUA – Filipino woodcarvers, including those from Paete, Laguna, and Hungduan, Ifugao, joined this year’s National Dukit Festival last December 4-5 at the Guagua Artist Haven in Sta. Ursula.
Betis played host to this annual event as it is recognized to be Pampanga’s pamandukit (woodcarving) and pamaganluagi (woodworking) capital of the province. Known for locally crafted and good quality furniture, installation art, ecclesiastical items, and religious statues, the place has produced renowned wood sculptors or mandudukit, including Ecclesiastic Art Presidential Merit Awardee Willy Layug.
Layug, along with Guagua Mayor Dante Torres and Second District Representative Mikey Arroyo, graced the event. All three emphasized the contribution of woodcarving as a major industry in Guagua, generating millions annually.
Layug also lamented what seemed to be the loss of interest among the younger generation on the craft.
Winners received cash prizes from P50,000, P30,000, and P20,000 for the finished materials for the national level and P30,000, P20,000, and P10,000 for the on-the-spot wood carving contest national level while the local level had P10,000, P8,000, and P5,000. Also, winning artworks will be displayed permanently at the municipal hall and partnered gov’t agencies.
According to the organizers, the event followed protocols on anti-COVID response. No spectators and only limited people attended and were required to wear face masks and maintained social distancing.