After lunch at the Balaw-balaw Museum

If you’re a Mac user and you have a WD hard drive to store your files, well, let me tell you that Sam’s 350GB WD hard drive, only three months old and still under warranty, seems to be out of commission already. Her MacBook won’t read the drive’s content and she’s more than a bit problematic. We can have the unit replaced but that will mean losing ALL her files and most of the photos in that drive are for school work.

Sam has a photo project due soon and it was the problematic hard drive that brought us to Angono yesterday. She had to reshoot some 48 photos, I was thinking of a place with lots of visuals and I thought about Balaw-balaw Restaurant which, I knew, had some sort of art gallery. We had lunch at Balaw-balaw then went up to the second floor which, as it turned out housed not an art gallery but a museum. What’s the difference? In an art gallery, the art works are for sale. In a museum, nothing is for sale.

It was a museum of wood sculptures. Small pieces, huge pieces…

… many with religious themes.

I like watching Sam at work…

… so I took photos of the photographer.

Then, I took photos of the wood sculptures that fascinated me the most.

The mother and child above must be well off because the child even has a toy.

The mother and child in this next piece, well… my imagination ran wild.

Notice the child’s eyes? Not exactly Filipino eyes. And I wondered if he was part-Chinese. In the 19th century, people of mixed races weren’t accepted the way they are accepted today. And I wondered if the torn umbrella and the hole in the mother’s sleeve mean they has been cast out by her family and were living in poverty.

Now, this next piece is obviously the figure of a warrior. Why two faces? Looking at the expression on the faces that share one eye, and both faces wear the same expression, I think the artist is trying to convey motion — as though the warrior was swiftly looking left and right at two or more enemies in front of him and assessing how best to defend himself.

And this last piece… I can’t quite decide if the woman is in agony or in pain, or both.

I have a very vivid imagination? Well, I studied Humanities under THE Ricaredo Demetillo. For an entire semester, we did nothing but look at slides of paintings, sculptures and architecture. I may not have been his most diligent student but I did learn a lot about art appreciation in his class.