Tarlac State University has been consistently displaying skillfully designed Belens in front of the Administration Building for the past years to show solidarity with the Belenismo Festival in Tarlac — a highly regarded event by the Department of Tourism which gave the province the name "Belen capital of the Philippines” in 2007.
For the past eight years, Mr. Oscar Ubusan, Jr., a painter from the Facilities and Maintenance Unit of the Facilities Development and Management Office, heads the designing and crafting of the university’s Belen diorama which features designs ranging from traditional to modern styles.
Ubusan first started painting signage for the university until he was asked to work on the diorama of the nativity. He then applied his skills in painting using available discarded plywood and plywood cuttings in the university.
In an interview with the Office of Public Affairs, Ubusan shared that he was once a head artist at Décor Plus Inc. in Pasay City for six years working for export quality handicrafts, housewares, and other seasonal decors. He also used to join exhibits in some conventions in Hong Kong where he represented their company’s designs along with other exporters. The medium he uses for his paintings are acrylic and oil.
He also shared that he has done murals and signage for the past years. He was even commissioned to do a mural for the Heaven in a Cup milk tea business in Laguna.
Even when he was kept from doing what he loved most, the passion inside him kept on finding an outlet to be released into a new form of art.
“Kasi kapag nandoon na ‘yung skill, nandoon na ‘yung, ano mo, passion mo, madali na eh. Kasi siyempre sa umpisa, maninibago ka ‘di ba? Pero kapag nakasanayan mo na, ‘pag hilig mo talaga, nakakatuwa. Lalo na kapag natapos mo na, ang sarap sa pakiramdam. Namimiss ko rin ‘yung ganoon eh,” Ubusan said.
Ubusan studied Bachelor of Science in Architecture at Rizal Technological University but only finished the third-year level.
Aside from Ubusan, other carpenters, painters, and electricians also worked to build the university’s Belen. They are Mr. Reynaldo Navarro, Mr. Jesus Natividad, Mr. Pablo Martinez, Mr. Vic Jacinto, Mr. Cris Cataina, Mr. Ardy Espinosa, Mr. Rodrigo Magawa, and Mr. Alvin Agalindo who are also from FMU.
64-year-old Jesus Natividad said the Belens they have made will be one of his souvenirs since he will be retiring next year. He shared that sometimes, they would spend moments staring in awe after putting up the Belen, marveling at what they have formed out of their creative ideas and hard work.
In preparation for the 15th Belenismo Festival in November 2022, Ubusan said he will carefully craft and plan his next Belen design for TSU.