When we drove south last week, I came upon a group of eight horses that I immediately fell in love with. I bought them all. It was tempting to go online with my iPhone and post a message on Twitter and Facebook but since I won’t have the opportunity to respond to comments, being on the road and all, I decided not to post a message at all. I didn’t want to leave the impression that I was bragging about buying horses and not be there to explain that I bought them for a song. I’m a hard bargainer after all (read the table cloth story) — a nightmare to sales people. So, I was able to bring the price down — by almost 40%. No kidding. How much for eight horses?
Two thousand and five hundred pesos. The original price was four thousand pesos.
Resin cast in paper mache. If they were made from solid wood they’d cost over ten times as much.
What — did you think I bought live horses? How in the world would I bring them home? They wouldn’t fit in the back of the pick-up. Besides, I can’t afford real horses. Not even one. So even though Sam and Alex have been dreaming of owning a horse for years, this is about as close as they’ll get to owning horses.
Yes, I bought them in a shop in Paete. When I was young, Paete was synonymous with lanzones. For non-Filipinos, Paete is the name of a town in the province of Laguna, south of Metro Manila. Lanzones is a fruit that grows in clusters. These days, Paete is more famous for its wood carving industry. Its products are not only sold locally but exported as well. And products include sculptures made from solid wood as well as figures cast by paper mache, an addition that may have to do with warnings to stop cutting trees and denuding forests.
The solid wood figures are pricey. But they are beautiful. Really beautiful. The bust above which is about twelve inches tall cost something like six thousand pesos.
Of course, there were lots of sculptures with religious motifs too, the Philippines being a pre-dominantly Catholic country. And the wood carvings were not only sold in shops but along sidewalks as well, especially in areas where crowds congregate.
Like this Last Supper sculpture which was being sold outside a church.
Church? Since when did I go to church? Oh, I love marveling at the architecture of old churches. So, the two old churches we passed by, we went to. And took lots of photos. But that’s for another entry. Stay tuned.