While preparing for the Holy Week, I was reminded of an annual joke in Camp Phillips:
“Who crucified Jesus Christ?
This is an insider joke. Engr. Damian Macatol, a Del Monte supervisor was the best sculptor in town. And he carved the Crucified Christ that occupied the church altar in our town.
There were a few artists and artesans in Camp Phillips, at least in our time. I knew Tita Merlyn Paluga was a piano teacher. There were ballet lessons every summer taught by ballet dancers. But the most famous artist in our time was probably Engr. Macatol.
I am not so sure now whether he made a career out of his talent. He was an employee, so probably sculpting was a hobby, and he specialized in religious icons, probably because he was such a deeply religious person. He is known for his faith as much as his craftmanship.
Later, Engr. Macatol also taught at the College of Engineering in Xavier Univeristy. XU students from Camp Phillips were always proud to claim that the St. Francis Xavier golden statue that greets the students at the gate is made by Engr. Macatol. He also crafted that beautiful Our Lady of the Poor, if I am not mistaken.