Victorias Milling Looks Back to Its Storied Past in Centennial Coffee Table Book

“The Last Judgement” – the sanctuary mural painted by Alfonso Ossorio inside the St. Joseph the Worker chapel featured an unsmiling Christ with arms outstretched.

Victorias Milling Company (VMC) marked its 100th year by coming up with a coffee table book that showcased its rich history.

Titled Victorious, book discusses its founding in 1919, its flourishing after the second world war, the controversies that hounded it in the 1990s, and its eventual rescue by Chairman Emeritus Dr. Lucio C. Tan through the recollections of its officials, partners, and workers.

“VMC could not have made it this far without the loyalty of farmers, planters, employers, and communities who have helped ensure that the company delivers what is expected of one of the world’s largest integrated raw and refined sugar mills,” Dr. Tan said in his message in the book.

The St. Joseph the Worker Chapel inside the Victorias Milling Company grounds is considered as the first example of modern sacred architecture in the Philippines.

The LT Group took over the rehabilitation of VMC in the late 1990s as the company accumulated PhP6.6 million in debt.

“The story of VMC is worth telling and re-telling, with special focus on the last 25 years, revealing details of the company’s struggles in order to survive, its search for stability and sustainability, and it’s remarkable journey,” wrote VMC Chairman Wilson T. Young in the book’s preface.

Inside the chapel of St. Joseph the Worker, which is more popularly known as the Church of the Angry Christ because of the sanctuary mural, “The Last Judgement”, painted by Alfonso Ossorio.

Apart from the history of VMC, the book also details the construction of the St. Joseph the Worker Chapel inside its grounds. More popularly known as the Church of the Angry Christ, its construction commenced in 1948 and is considered as the first example of modern sacred architecture in the Philippines.

Veteran arts and culture writer Liliane R. Manahan, in the chapter “This Is Not An Angry Christ”, details how the church was built after the destruction of the company’s sugar mills during the World War II.

The cogen facility of Victorias Milling Company (VMC) in Bacolod. VMC celebrated its 100th year in the business in 2019 with a coffee table book that showcased its rich his-tory.

Spearheaded by Frederic Ossorio, one of the sons of VMC owners and founders Miguel and Maria Paz Ossorio, the church’s construction and decoration was done by a “team of internationally prominent creative minds.” They included Czech-American architect Antonin Raymond and Belgian Countess Adelaide de Bethune. Negros-based artist Benjamin Valenciano did the wood carvings in the church, which included the beardless crucified Christ while another local artist, Arcadio Anore, created the decorations for the pulpit.

The cogen plant was inaugurated in 2019 during the centennial celebration of Victorias Milling Company (VMC)

Visual artist and art patron Alfonso Ossorio painted the sanctuary mural that was to be the centerpiece for which the church is best remembered by—“The Last Judgement.” The mural drew silent opposition, Manahan wrote, as “Ossorio’s painterly rendition of church iconography was almost brutal, the central piece being his floor-to-ceiling unsmiling Christ with arms outstretched.”

The book likewise contains a chapter on the testimonials of the men and women who have worked with the company—from the farm owners to sugar mill workers.

Truck-loads of sugar cane inside Victorias Milling Company in Negros Occidental.

Victorious is published by Victorias Milling Inc. with concept and design developed and executed by Eggshell Worldwide Communications Inc.