An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who works for a cruise restaurant in France recently won an international ice sculpture contest held in the country, earning him the title “King of Ice Carvings”.
Born and raised in tropical Philippines, the win is extra special for Rogel Cabisidan. The 46-year-old native of Paete, Laguna, bested nineteen other sculptors at the 28th edition of Valloire International Ice Sculpture Competition in the southeastern city of Valloire Savoie, France.
Cabisidan began carving when he was still 14 years old. His training in making sculptures is quite special as he hails from Paete, known for being the “Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines”.
In his hometown, he used wood to practice his craft. But as he worked for his diploma for Hotel and Restaurant Management in Laguna, he learned to use other types of carving medium, such as food items like butter, chocolate, fruits, and vegetables.
When he became an OFW, Cabisidan began to study carving using a new medium: ice. He has been joining ice carving competitions since 2012.
King of Ice Carvings
In the competition held from January 15 to 18, Cabisidan won with the piece he called “Sitting”. It is a sculpture of a woman with an abstract body and spiky hair that looks like a crown on her head.
“Sinabi ng jury na dapat yung ice ko transparent. Ang mga jury kasi gusto nila abstract. Ako naman ang gusto ko realistic. So pinaghalo ko yung abstract at realistic. Buong tao, pero ‘yung katawan niya cube-cube siya tapos yung buhok niya diretso. Tapos, minentain ko yung transparent. Ayun, lahat ng jury sabi nila ang ganda ng ginawa ko,” Cabisidan explained.
The sculptors had to work day and night to finish their creations and keep the design steady despite the changing temperatures.
“Nagustuhan ng judges kasi transparent ang yelo at walang crack kasi maganda ang temperature lalo sa gabi -12, -8 kaya na-maintain namin ang ganda ng yelo. Nag-stay kami hanggang 1 o’clock para kasi doon ang maganda ang yelo. Maganda magtrabaho kasi matigas tapos pwede kang magdikit ng yelo. Hindi siya matutumba kasi malamig,” Cabisidan shared.
Ecstatic about his achievement, Cabisidan said that he dedicates his win to the Filipinos and his home country.
“(Of course, I’m very) proud, 100% proud Filipino!” the King of Ice Carvings declared…