In a small corner in Divisoria in Cagayan de Oro city near its kiosk, there lies a former pastor that has an innate and hidden talent that you won’t get to see if you look at distant, you have to come closer to see what he is scribbling down on a piece of paper.
His name is Alfred Abiera, who hails from the City of Whales, Cadiz in Negros Occidental, he now permanently resides here in this city along with his wife Marieta and his three children for almost a decade after his retirement. Alfred, now 72 travelled from places to places for his church. He is a retired pastor of the Missionary Alliance Church and is now a full-time artist.
“I was assigned too many places, I was assigned in Opol, in our mother church, and lastly I was assigned in Gingoog for 10 years. Didto ko nag retire sa Gingoog nga pastor. Sa pagka pastor nako sir, kaning pag drawing hubby nalang ni nako. Full time ministry gyud ko, once nag retire nako sa church nag full time nako niini, wala naman koy ministry, libre nabale ko, wala napud koy income. Nag devote nako sa akong time sa Art nalang gyud,” he said.
He learned to draw at a very young age in Cebu, where he studied through observing other artists, and from then on developed an interest in the arts. He was in his 20s when he first started using charcoal as his medium. But he shares that he is not only skilled in using this medium, he’s also efficient in using others such as oil, pastel and acrylic painting.
“Sa gamay pako sir, it so happen didto ko sa cebu nakatoun ug drawing, didto naa’y daghan mga artist gapang drawing sila – I learned to do this while I was in Cebu. Nagapaint gyapon ko ug oil painting, canvas, mga view, landscape, still life, abstract ug duna gyapon koi mga lain-lain nga medium gihapon, pastel, acrylic ug kini dayung charcoal,” Alfred shared.
Adding that “Kay dili naman ko pastor so kaning pag drawing nako mao ni akong main job sir. wala naman koi lain source of income na hibal-an ug medjo nasad nanakoy idad.”
The 72-year old’s passion has brought him to art exhibits
around the city, where he would display and sell his painting.
“Diha sa Limketkai, tung summer last year naka apil ko ato na exhibit daghan ko gipang display dadto sad ug ako pud guina baligya to ako guina pang-display sa mga exhibits,” he shared.
What really is astonishing is his ability to complete a piece that usually takes a day or two complete. He makes it look so simple that he finishes a piece in about 3 hours, depending on how many people are in it. We ask why? He smiled and replied.
“I do not know. mao na ang nature sa akong pagka artist dali ko maka drawing usahay matingala ko pero normal ra sakoa. Kani ako guina drawing karon I think, I finished this within 2 hours,” he said.
The father of three also revealed that his drawings are only worth 300 pesos depending on the number of people in it, but if it’s a family portrait he gives them a fair discount.
“300 per person, like this (showing one of his drawings of a little girl), double if a couple basta family na. gahatag nakog discount, pero mag depend gyapon ko sa medium na ako gi gamit sir, because if oil ilaha gusto medyo expensive to siya. medyo mahal kay mahal ang materials,” Alfred concluded.
What we learned during our interview with Alfred Abriaga that it’s never too late to follow your passion. At the age of 72, he placed God, and family first before he could completely devote himself to his art. For over five decades he honed his skills in silence serving as his hubby throughout his career as a pastor, and now, he finally has an opportunity to showcase his talents not only to this city, but through Mindanao.