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6 Contemporary Religious Icons For Your Altar

Create a modern-day altar with religious figurines that are tasteful but divine

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Photography: Michael Angelo Chua (main photo)

Most devout Roman Catholic Filipino families almost always have an altar in their home, be it an entire altar table, or a corner or shelf within a room (usually a bedroom or main hallway) that houses religious figurines of saints, votive candles, and a crucifix or two.

But if a massive, traditional mesa altar with Spanish colonial-era saints bedecked in velvet don’t quite fit into your tropical-modern home, there are many other contemporary religious figures and icons available.  

Delicate porcelain: Lladro



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Graceful lines, beautiful faces, and soft, pastel colors are the hallmarks of the highly collectible Spanish porcelain brand Lladro.

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The fine-featured faces of the Baby Jesus and Madonna make these figurines lovely additions to your altar, and precious pieces you can hand down to your children as keepsakes. “Little Jesus” and “Madonna,” both by Fulgencio Garcia, prices available upon request, Lladro.

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Ethereal crystal: Swarovski


The 122-year-old, Austria-based company creates cut-crystal pieces of unparalleled clarity. Swarovski crystal has a special coating that gives the finish an iridescent, rainbow-like luster. The pieces are mostly in miniature, like this crystal angel, which is just three-inches-tall. “Angel Emily” by Anton Hirzinger, price available upon request, Swarovski (some Swarovski pieces are also available at Rustan’s).

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Nostalgic and antique-style: Chrysara Nest


Pampanga-based export company Chrysara Nest sells a wide range of religious icons and figurines, including crucifixes of different sizes, angles and cherubs, various saints, and religious figures in the form of old-fashioned marionettes that come in vintage-style, patinated finishes. Anita Angels, P2,600 each, Chrysara Nest, 776 East St., Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City, tel. (02) 724-0172.

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This retablo-style rendition of a Madonna and Child is similar to the antique retablos seen in old churches, but the bright, folksy colors add a charming feel to it. If you don’t have space for an entire altar table (like if you are living in a condo, for example), you can just mount this on your wall, to serve as your devotional space. Trevo Orna with Crown, price available upon request, Chrysara Nest.

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Artistic modern: BenCab


If you want a truly modern altar, go for a plate printed with National Artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera’s contemporary rendition of a Madonna and Child; this design also comes in pillow forms, and was launched for Rustan’s “Our Very Own” collection of Filipino handcrafted pieces. “Madonna,” 2014, Plate 13, price upon request, Rustan’s.

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