Tom Joven, the most accomplished ecclesiastical artist of Pampanga, has been at the forefront of major restoration projects for churches not only in his native Bacolor but also in other places of worship all over the Philippines. Joven's expertise has been sought by parishes from Luzon to the Visayas, and his original works are prized by the country's most formidable collectors of sacred art. A few rare creations in ivory have also been presented as gifts to high ranking church dignitaries from here and abroad.
Here, he shares with us some fine examples of his restoration projects:
The wooden image of San Nicolas Tolentino in one of the retablos of San Guillermo Parish in Bacolor was heavily damaged during the lahar inundation of the town, which almost buried the ancient church.
Joven performed a laborious 6-step process in restoring the antique image that included stripping the multiple paint layers, sealing, re-priming and painting.
Our Lady of Good Success (Virgen de Buen Suceso) is a centuries-old image brought by Augustinians to Palanyag (now Paranaque) as a gift of the King of Spain to Filipinos. It is now housed in St. Andrew's Church and is known today as the "Patroness of Paranaque City". It is one few Virgins that have received the Canonical Crown in 8 September 2000. Joven was commissioned to restore this important image, inlcuisve of its vestments, and the results are shown in the pictures above.
The church of San Guillermo was heavily damaged in the succeeding lahar flows that engulfed the town after the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption. Lahar almost buried the magnificent retablos of the old church, which eventually were recovered and restored to their full glory by Joven, who did it all for the love of his hometown and his Church.
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Orani was another one of Joven's most memorable restorations. Brought by Dominicans to Bataan in 1587, the miraculous image was canonically crowned in 1959. It has been restored many times, but the results were not exactly up to par--until Joven was requested to step in to work on the Virgin and the Holy Child anew.
Joven, a stickler for tradition, adhered to the original look of the image, keeping the dark tones of the complexion as well as the colors of the vestments of both Mother and Child.
(My thanks to Mr. Tom Joven for providing all the photos for this article)