The 51-meter high Saint Vincent Ferrer statue made of bamboos being constructed at barangay Bani in Bayambang, Pangasinan is near completion.  This will be inaugurated on Apr. 5, 2019, in time for the 400th founding anniversary of the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church in Bayambang and the 600th year death anniversary of Saint Vincent Ferrer. (Photos by Liwayway Yparraguirre)

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan -- A 51-meter-tall Saint Vincent Ferrer statue situated at Barangay Bani here, which will be an entry to the Guinness World Record for tallest structure made of bamboo, will be finished and inaugurated on April 5 this year.

Mary Clare Judith Phyllis Jose-Quiambao, wife of Mayor Cesar Quiambao, said the blessing and inauguration ceremony is in time with the 400th founding anniversary of the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church here, and the 600th year death anniversary of Saint Vincent Ferrer.

Jose-Quiambao, the brains behind the project, said they initially thought of flying thousands of sky lanterns on that day. However, they shelved the idea for environmental reasons.

She recalled that she came out with the idea of constructing the tallest St. Vincent Ferrer statue while discussing with Mayor Quiambao, fiesta hermano mayor Henry Fernandez and some companions, on what activity to hold on that historical day.

"I was browsing the internet and saw a statue of St. Vincent Ferrer. And I thought it fits well as my husband Cesar is a devotee of Saint Vincent Ferrer. There were many instances of little miracles in his life because of the saint. Also, we got married at the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church. Also, I am a devotee of Saint Vincent and Mama Mary," she said in an interview Tuesday.

"It will be a historical milestone for the Bayambanguenos which the present and next generations will see. We bought the land, the project is privately funded by the Kasama Ka Foundation, no fund from the local government was used," Jose-Quiambao added.

Architect Gerry Suratos, the project manager, said the prayer park where the statue is being constructed measures 21,000 square meters (2.1 hectares).

Based on the masterplan, it will have five meters wide pathways for persons with disability (PWDs) that will pass through the 15 Stations of the Cross. It will have a chapel, three Events Place, and a parking space that can accommodate 120 cars.

"The project was conceptualized on November 2017. The project plan was finalized on March 2018. We mobilized on April 2018. Mayor Quiambao told me, Gerry i've been working with projects na halos miracle na natapos (completed miraculously). I don't know if you can finish this project on time. I assured him we can do it with the help of the people ... and prayers," Suratos said.

Suratos said he assured the mayor they can finish the project in less than a year if they do it through digitalized image.

"We employed 3D (three-dimensional) scan and 3D image making use of polygon. All of the locations of the image or statue are polygons, so we don’t need a sculptor. If a sculptor would do the statue, it will take three to five years,” he said.

Accordingly, the height of the St. Vincent Ferrer statue is 51 meters from the base up to the statue's tip. The image itself is 42 meters high from the feet.

For the materials, 60 tons of engineered bamboo were bought from China; while 600 tons of steel were used. The foundation is 7.5 meters deep, and they used 768.99 cubic meters of 6,000 PSI cement.

"Its core is super structure, it can withstand even a signal number eight typhoon," Suratos said.

"The reason why we used polygons is because the materials are panels of bamboos (bamboo panel), like the flooring. It’s all flat surfaces and not curved. There are 5,000 polygons (triangles, irregular shapes) for the whole statue. The biggest challenge is the head because of the hair of St. Vincent, which is curly. The head alone has about 700 polygons," he added.

The St. Vincent Ferrer statue facing the east will be illuminated with lights. It can be seen even from the neighboring towns of Bautista, Alcala and Basista. (PNA)