Celebrating BAO

The Chinese Metal Ox is hardworking, active, always busy, and popular among friends. Him and BAO, like two peas in a pod.

It is told, at a party thrown by the Jade Emperor, the ox arrived second of 12 animals. Second to the rat, and for good reason. Along the way, the solicitous ox offered the rat a ride. And when they arrived, we suppose the rat jumped off and crossed the finish line first. Some say the ox was fooled. We say the ox obliged, out of the goodness of his heart.

Keeping the Chinese New Year allows us to reflect on a culture that influenced our national heritage long before all other colonial masters came. And in 2021, finding affinity to the Chinese Metal Ox, we celebrate BAO.

BAO: The Unbowed Carabao, is the proud figure that stands guard at the door of The Negros Museum in Bacolod City. Vignettes of life in sugar farms rendered in mosaic by Lisa de Leon-Zayco, wrap this five-ton sculpture by Rafael “Paeng” Paderna. BAO was commissioned by the Angelica Berrie Foundation as a gift to The Negros Museum in 2019. Thus was planted the seed of the Negros Season of Culture, whose mission is to celebrate Negrense heritage, the talents of its people, and what makes Negros Occidental unique.

BAO is one. He is king of the farm. The carabao dictates work hours, patiently weaving through furrows early in the morning then later in the afternoon, skipping the sun in-between. And so, his human master follows. This peculiar work arrangement, where man follows beast, is just one of many surprising stories depicted all over BAO, a singular work of art that acclaims centuries of integrity, industry, and innovation.

We invite you to join us in a series of delightful stories and engaging activities surrounding BAO: The Unbowed Carabao. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram  and visit our website at www.negrosseasonofculture.com

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