A unique “Belen” or Nativity scene in Baras, Rizal, has been attracting people, both residents and visitors, day and night.
This is because the life-size Belen characters — the Holy Family (Mary, Joseph and infant Jesus) together with The Three Wise Men — are all sporting the “Sikaran” uniform (white upper garment and the red pants with the matching black belt).
“Sikaran” is a traditional Filipino martial art that uses kicking as the primary means of attacking an opponent. This art of self-defense has been known to have originated in Baras prior to the Spanish colonization. The contact sport has also been introduced in some parts of the world.
The statue makers, twin sisters Lorichelle Alapad and Lorily Darag, said the life-size “Sikaran” Belen statues are their latest collections under their “Carika Dolls” line of uniquely crafted and designed dolls made of foam materials.
Since its official unveiling to the public last Dec. 1 along with the lighting of the Baras local government unit’s giant Christmas Tree made of recycled materials, hundreds of people would drop by the municipal grounds just to have their pictures taken in front of the Nativity scene.
The twin sisters said the idea of making the Nativity characters look like the “Sikaran” fighters came from Vice Mayor Kathrine “KC” Robles herself.
“Nagulat po kami sa dami ng tao na pumupunta sa plaza para magpa-picture sa Belen tuwing gabi (We were amazed at the number of people who visit the plaza to have their photos taken at the Belen every night),” Alapad told Manila Bulletin.
The “Sikaran” Belen, along with the giant Christmas Tree is the town’s entry to the annual Christmas display contest initiated by the provincial government that encourages the local government units in Rizal, including their residents, to practice recycling in making holiday decorations.
Rizal Governor Nina Ricci Ynares-Chiongbian was among those who were amazed at how the twin sisters executed their works in producing the uniquely costumed Nativity scene characters at Baras town plaza.
Among the “Carika Dolls” line of creations were the doll versions of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., former President Duterte, Pope Francis, among others.