Kublai Millan – master cement sculptor

Travel to just about any one of the 7000+ islands of the Philippines and you will find traces of some local ‘artist‘ who thinks he can create a 3D masterpiece out of a bit of chicken wire and some wet cement. To be truthful, most of these works of art rate somewhere between dreadful and well-at-least-they-tried.

Someone thought it would be a good idea to scare tourists away from the 100 Islands off Luzon's northwest coast

Someone thought it would be a good idea to scare tourists away from the 100 Islands off Luzon’s northwest coast

I too clutched my head when I saw this

I too clutched my head when I saw this

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Most schools in the Philippines have busts of Jose Rizal and some other national heroes – mostly fairly badly executed (the busts, not the heroes!).

Heroes from another planet

Heroes from another planet

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The park next to Davao City Hall has, until recently, hosted a fairly grotesque zoo of cement animals. A sudden unexpected burst of good taste has (or will) see the demolition of these carbuncles.

 

Kublai Millan

All is not a lumpen concrete canyon, however. Davao has a native-born cement sculptor extraordinaire (Kublai Millan), whose works can be found dotted around the Davao provinces in some unlikely and likely places. His style is consistently distinctive and unique. If you arrive in Davao via the international airport, pause a moment to view the giant durian in the carpark (on your left as you leave the terminal).

Davao International Airport

The giant durian outside Davao International Airport

The giant durian outside Davao International Airport

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Damosa Gateway, Davao City

Not too far from the Airport (in fact at the nearest McDonald’s in Angliongto Road, Damosa) you’ll find another recent KM sculpture – celebrating peace and goodwill between Japan and Mindanao, outside the Philippine Nikei Jin Kai International School and MKD campus.

MKD College in the background

MKD College in the background

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People’s Park, Davao City

 

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Many of the sculptures in the People's Park show the different native tribes of the Davao Gulf region

Many of the sculptures in the People’s Park show the different native tribes of the Davao Gulf region

What I particularly like about this place is that people are encouraged to interact with the statues

What I particularly like about this place is that people are encouraged to interact with the statues

The Philippine Monkey-eating Eagle (a statue, they're not quite as big as this one)

The Philippine Monkey-eating Eagle (a statue, they’re not quite as big as this one)

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Bukidnon Road, Davao City

Up a busy highway, miles from any major urbanisation

Up a busy highway, miles from any major urbanisation

Eden Nature Park, Davao City

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Ponce Suites Hotel Gallery, Davao City

Just in the last week, I’ve accidentally found the home of the artist sculptor at this location (Corner Road 3 and 4 Dona Vicenta Village, Davao City)…and what a find! Better known as the location of ‘Korea Town‘ Davao, opposite Victoria Mall and behind the Bureau of Immigration offices on JP Laurel Avenue. This is KM’s home and the seat of the family business – you’ll guess as much as you approach the hotel from either of two roads as the buildings along the road host so many sculptures. There should be signposts guiding tourists here.

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The hotel

The hotel

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Learn more about Kublai Millan at this Rappler article and video.

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5 thoughts on “Kublai Millan – master cement sculptor

  1. Pingback: The Metaphorical Durians – Durian Writer

  2. Pingback: Durians & Southeast Asians | Life in Malang

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