To recognize the forgotten sculptor from Jasaan

The heirs of Kagay-anon Patriot Apolinar Velez y Ramos have restored the monument of their esteemed ancestor at the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS).

The restoration was coordinated by Ruby C. Santos and Tingting Muñoz Maandig in coordination with MOGCHS Planning Officer Roldan Magsacay.

The project arose when the Velez kin headed by Ms. Santos, Jocelyn Y. Velez and Gil Blas M. Velez entertained their relatives Noel Velez Tiano and his wife with a trip to the school but were aghast to find the monument in a state of disrepair.

Right then and there they decided to mount a crowdfunding drive among her cousins to restore the monument.

With the help of a skilled mason, carpenter and painter, the project was jointly undertaken on July 10-16, 2023 with the assistance of the  MOGCHS headed by Abdon R. Bacayana, PhD, Secondary School Principal IV, who contributed porcelain tiles for the base of the monument.

The restoration was directly supervised daily by Ms. Santos and Mr. Magsakay.

The blessing and unveiling of the restored monument has been scheduled on August 22, 2023 to accommodate the descendants of Col. Velez coming from overseas who would be in town for the Cagayan de Oro town fiesta.

Ramon Cabello with the sculpture of Col. Apolinar Velez y Ramos outside his house in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental (photo courtesy of Bing Mendoza)

Among the highlights of the program will be the presentation of a plaque of recognition to the surviving kin of Ramon Icayan Cabello, the forgotten sculptor from Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, who has all but faded into oblivion despite the continued presence of his sculptures in the public spaces of his hometown, as well as in Cagayan de Oro City.

Origin of the Monument

The monument was originally conceived by the MOGCHS Alumni headed by Virgilio V. Neri for the 72nd Foundation Anniversary and General Alumni Homecoming (1922-1980) of the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (formerly the Misamis Provincial High School and Misamis Oriental High School).

As explained by Mr. Neri during the March 21, 1981 turnover of the monument to MOGCHS, it was explicitly created to honor Don Apolinar Velez Y Ramos who founded it in 1909 during his tenure as the Provincial Governor of Misamis (now divided into Misamis Oriental and Occidental).

“On this occasion of our homecoming, we also singularly honor the man whose love and devotion to his community and fellowman must always be remembered and emulated. I am referring to no other than the late Governor Apolinar Velez . It was Governor Velez whose unselfish love for the moral, physical, social, and spiritual development of our youth who donated the land and building where our school presently stands. To Governor Velez and his family, we owe an immeasurable and eternal debt of gratitude,” Mr. Neri said in his dedication.

“It was Don Apolinar Velez, who in mobilizing the whole province (Misamis Province in 1906-1931) into action, fervently preached the gospel of self-reliance and hard work, who told our people then that only by the sweat of their brow would their dream of a high school for their children become a reality,” stressed former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor and later Assemblyman Reuben R. Canoy.

“For the admirable qualities of Don Apolinar Velez-his shining integrity, his devotion to duty, and his spirit of sacrifice – qualities which were also the hallmark of his administration- have become the proud badge of services worn by former students of Misamis Oriental High School,” he added.

Then MOGCHS Principal Francisco commissioned sculptor Ramon Icayan Cabello of Jasaan, Misamis Oriental to do the statue of Gov. Velez which was originally colored white as related by his daughter Eusebia, due to the white cement he used to finish the statue. However, extant pictures of the unveiling show the statue was later painted in gold/bronze.

The status of Col. Apolinar Velez as it looked like during the day of its original unveiling on March 21, 1981. (Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Y. Velez).

Aside from Messrs. Canoy and Galarrita, the unveiling was also graced by relatives of the late former governor and local dignitaries, led by Mrs. Lourdes Velez-Corrales, daughter of the late Gov.Velez, then Misamis Oriental Gov. Homobono Adaza, Dir. Leo Y. Mabulay, Asst. Dir. Frank  Rebosura, MEC Asst. Dir. Francisco B. Concillo, Division Supt. German A. Guazon, Atty. Macrobio Chavez, Atty. Angel Quimpo, and Engr. Plutarco Velez. 

The late Dr. Vicente Jose Y. Velez, grandson of Col. Apolinar Velez, delivers the response on behalf of the Velez clan during the March 21, 1981 unveiling. (photo courtesy of Jocelyn Y. Velez)

The monument was then blessed by Rev. Fr. Marcelo Tubac, OFC after which Dr. Vicente Jose Y. Velez, grandson of the late Gov. Velez, gave a response on behalf of the Velez clan.

This was followed by the formal turnover of the monument to MOGCHS by Mr. Virgilio V. Neri to MOGCHS Principal Francisco C. Galarrita.


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