There are paintings everywhere in downtown business areas of the capital town each having its own message, mostly on the personalities of the town, history, and culture.
Mr. Michael Declarin, a Pangasinense and a member of an artist group “DUENDE” in Manila, was engrossed with the culture of the small town. He only wanted to carve his place in the boondocks, he made the paintings on his spare time during a cultural immersion in the capital town of Bontoc.
Take for example this painting that is the portrait of Albert Chakas aka Apo Ganipis; in front of his establishment. He was a semblance of industriousness and perseverance who was awarded two times by the provincial government during the time of then Governor Maximo Dalog.
He was noted for his diligence in sweeping his road frontage every morning. Later, he was seen including the whole length of the main road from the Circle to the frontage of the municipyo.
His portrait reminds all and sundry that there was a man who once in his lifetime conveniently served the town voluntarily with his cleanliness unreplicated at present.
Another, take this portrait of the long serving public servants Board Member Alfonso Kiat-ong, former governor Alfredo Gayagay Lamen, Sr., and civic leader Petra Macliing, in one package. In an interview with Declarin, he said that he did it to serve as a memento for the public to eternally be grateful and remember the public figure.
Alfonso Kiat-ong is a living legend himself being a long time mayor of the town who is a current Board Member of three terms. Lamen was a long time politician in the province who has served alternately as governor and congressman while Macliing was a long-term member of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) who fought for Indigenous Peoples Rights on her own terms and who protested the construction of Chico Dam during the Marcos’ years.
At the Lopez bilyaran by the Loc-ong is a couple of male playing gongs and a farmer harvesting farm produce as a cultural exposition.
Nearby street in Loc-ong is a replica of an Igorot deity Lumauig holding a rooster as a dog sits beside. It bespeaks of the Igorot god-deity garbed in native attires.
Lumauig with Dog and Rooster by the Loc-ong made a promotional poster of a business establishment.
Declarin’s works is a blessing for the town that bespeaks of cultural heritage only the old recognizes and talk about. It is a reminder to the youth and young people of the rich cultural heritage and history of the town that should be preserved.
Other drawings in town transmits agricultural heritage as well; scattered around town in the streets and walls depicting history and culture.
Besides being decorations that beautify the town, the works of Declarin cites culture, history, and personalities that only adds on to the cultural heritage of the town to be told to the incoming next generations. By Roger U. Sacyaten