While preparing for the Holy Week, I was reminded of an annual joke in Camp Phillips:

“Who crucified Jesus Christ?

“”Damian Macatol”

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 ย 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.

His name is carved at the bottom of this statue of St. Francis

I was wondering if any of his eleven children inherited this gift. I knew his son Larry, who is my batchmate in his school, was one of the best artists we had together with Troy John Tabanas and Teresa Cabansay. But I am willing to bet none of them made a career out of their artistry.

But if none of Engr. Macatol’s children became artists, I am certain all of them inherited his faith. Daughter Nora is a Carmelite contemplative, and I know Marvin is very active in the Couples for Christ (as with the other three brothers). Marvin also maintains a site called Raising Filipino Boys.

Camp Phillips residents in our time will remember the Macatols, for their faith and for the fact that their father crucified Jesus Christ.


13 responses »

  1. Adonis B. Nicanor says:

    Rey, details may be faint now, but in a number of drops in Larry’s house (we were neighbors in the same street)I saw [there were] progressing sculpture works other than religious icons. Larry’s father’s works were awesome, I often wondered how a human hand could possibly make them.

    Nice write-up of yours too. Regards.


    • Hi Don,

      Wow, I didn’t know he had several collections. All the while I thought it was just a hobby he does for religious icons. Yes, agree, Engr. Damian Macatol was awesome.

      Regards and I hope you are enjoying your stay there in NY.


    • Larry says:

      Bai Adonis, thanks! and thanks to the blog of Rey, yes we were neighbors during HS time. I honored him so much not only from our batch & holicrossins but also from XU website, PPC bloggers, our fraternity newsletters and most esp to our clan. He was so blessed matud pa kay siya man gud naglansan ni Jesus sa cross! hehehehe…I remember last 2008 during our silver jubilee in Camp Phillips in front of the church I asked the kids playing, kinsa naglansang ni Jesus sa cross? they straightly answered, “si Enr Macatol!” what? for almost 4 decades the Camp Phillips internal joke had been passed through generations. One thing they don’t believe when I told them that I’m the son of Engr Macatol, they just laugh! hahahahahha…

  2. Hi! Thanks for this post ๐Ÿ™‚

    I was very small when Papa sculpted the super life-size crucifix. Pictures of his sculpture and paintings may be viewed here: Papa’s Sculptures and Paintings.

    Sculpting has been a hobby for Papa. So far none of us is into active sculpting the way Papa has done it, but a lot of us are into painting. You’re right, so far, none of us has made a career out of these God-given talents. Like Papa, most of us are engineers.

    But then perhaps that’s not very precise. One of Papa’s lesser known talents is writing. That’s the direction I am taking now. Although I have an engineering degree, I have gravitated towards writing and am applying my writing skills in internet marketing.

    Some of my sites are:
    COOL CATHOLICS – Inspiring People Towards Prosperit in Christ
    RAISING FILIPINO BOYS – Setting Paths for the Next Generation of Filipino Dads
    VIRTUAL SIDEKICK – Working at Home

    I haven’t had the luck of thanking you by name, coz I can’t find it. But it’s comforting to know that you are my elder brother’s batchmate. That means most likely we have already met.


    • Hi Marvin,

      Of course we have met ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you for this enlightenment. I didn’t know your Papa was a writer as well. I like your Raising Filipino Boys – inspirational and practical at the same time. Thank you for the link on the works of Engr. Macatol. If it is okey, I would like to use those for future entries. God Bless.

  3. Oh, I wish to add one more confirmation. Yes, I’m active in Couples for Christ, but there are four of us siblings who are active here. Larry is one of us.

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  5. lucybarnidocalingasan says:

    i stayed in camp phillips for 17 years…the macatols that i knew and if i remembered right was rudy macatol and his wife naiding who was working in personnel dept….not sure how they are related with the sculptor damian

  6. albert says:

    my uncle….always be remembered..

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