In the eastern part of Laguna province, there is a town that lies in the mountains of Sierra Madre which is known for artistic and ornamented woodcarvings. This is the town of Paete. It is one of the lakeshore towns in Laguna de Bay where it is known as "The Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines" because of the ornamented and well-shaped wood works made from the town. Surrounded by Pakil on the north and Kalayaan on the south, Paete is a town where you can feel the ambiance of verdant mountains through the Sierra Madre, as well with the refreshing view of Laguna de Bay.
The town named after the Tagalog word "paet" meaning chisel where it is used as a tool for woodcarving. It is also the home of skilled craftsmen who had an expertise in woodcarving and its embellishment. In addition, Paete is also a place where you can appreciate artworks through the town's masterpieces like statues, pulpits, murals, papier maches and bas reliefs. Most of these artworks are used in cathedrals and churches in different parts of the world such as the Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. The town's hero is a woodcarver named Mariano Madrinan who made the artwork Mater Dolorosa who honored the King of Spain and won a major award in Amsterdam on 1882. In 2005, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared Paete as "The Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines."
I went to the town of Paete after thirty to forty minutes travel from Santa Cruz City. The first thing I've done is to visit a carpenter shop where the woodworkers made their woodcarvings such as handicrafts, furniture and statues. In addition, I also visited the stores where authentic and embellished woodcarvings and colorful paper maches are sold. In addition, I also entered the art gallery which shows that Paete is not just only focus on sculpture but also in painting.
|The vibrant and colorful papier maches of Paete.|
I also visited the Paete Church which considered as one of the Baroque churches in Laguna. The brownish gray color of the church and the Sierra Madre mountain range on the background seems to be captivating. Paete is not just only known for woodcarving industry, farming and fishing are the other sources of living among the people in this town.
|The busy scene in the town proper of Paete.|
|The view of Laguna de Bay from Paete.|
|Sierra Madre mountain range reaches from north to south including Laguna.|
|The Paete Church.|
This travel experience in Paete shows that we should appreciate the Filipino talent in visual arts particularly in sculpture, woodcarving and even in painting. The town is a perfect nature getaway as well with the fact that it is the art capital of the province.
|The effort of woodcarvers in creating artworks from wood. Courtesy: Cagayat Woodcarving Shop|