Tourists are expected to flock the Visayas as the mural that adorns the ceiling of the Saints Peter and Paul Parish Church in Bantayan Island, Cebu City nears completion this month.
The mural, said to be comparable to those seen in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, stretches across the whole parish ceiling, from one wall to another. It is split into many sections, with images depicting the Gospels of God and stories of how Catholicism grew in the Philippines.
Father Joselito Enriquez Danao–the parish pastor who came up with the idea of painting the church ceiling with murals–calls the artwork “visual catechism” (a medieval practice wherein paintings are used to teach Catholicism and faith). He says that while people nowadays are more engaged in online culture, nothing still beats the arts when it comes to touching the hearts of people and helping them better understand the profound notion of God’s love. “I hope the visuals, the mural, will touch something in the lives of people and give them hope,” he says in an interview.
To make his vision for the parish come to life, Father Danao tapped a group of 12 local artists to work on the mural that was to be called the “Dibuho Kisame” project. The lead artist, Aris Avelino Pastor, even tells La Croix International that the project was a dream come true for him. “When I was a kid, my mother often bought us children’s books with drawings of Jesus’ life and the lives of the saints,” he said. Hence when Father Danao reached out to him to work on the mural project, Aris said that he was “eager to do it no matter at what cost.”
Now that the mural is almost complete, more tourists are expected to flock the island of Bantayan. Tourism Consultant Vince Escario even confirmed that they are now looking into faith-based tourism to further promote the island. “Faith tourism is an experience most well-promoted by word of mouth because it is experiential tourism. It is something very personal. It is not something that you can put on tarpaulins or on social media,” he said in an interview.
Planning a trip to Bantayan, Cebu already? We at My Pope can’t wait to see the murals ourselves!