Finally, I reached Malolos City at 11:30am. I headed straight to the office of Armand Sta Ana, Artistic Director of Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation, Inc and the Head of Arts and Culture Division of the Province of Bulacan. I met Armand Santa Ana there, as well as Nikko Zapata, Sonny Cristobal and Riya Brigino of CCP Outreach Division.
In the afternoon, I went with Nikko and Riya to see Mang Kiko (Francisco Eligio) and Nanay Luz (Luz Mendoza-Ocampo). They are among the national living treasures of Bulacan, if not in the whole country.
We went to Hagonoy, Bulacan to see Mang Kiko. But he was not there, because he was in the Malolos Cathedral. Mang Kiko is the oldest surviving singkaban maker of Bulacan. He makes the decorated bamboo arches during town fiestas. We met him at the cathedral. In his middle 80s (I guess), Mang Kiko is still very energetic. While they were talking (Mang Kiko, Riya and Nikko), I sneaked inside the Immaculate Conception Malolos Cathedral. I always have the habit of visiting churches first whenever I am new to the place. And I am always awed with Spanish-built churches.
Riya, Mang Kiko and Nikko
Next stop was the visit to Nanay Luz house. Nanay Luz is the famous pambalot sa pastillas maker of Bulacan. We were treated to a sumptuous food when we reached their house. Riya interviewed Nanay Luz while Nikko was video-documenting the demo work that Nanay Luz showed to us. An amazing woman of 84 years old, she makes pastillas wrapper with her bare eyes without the use of any spectacles. She is still very skillful in her craft, which she said she started doing since her early elementary days.
Nanay Luz doing demo work
Nanay Luz makes the design of the pambalot. Her early designs were that of Maria Clara, pagbabayo and flowers. That same morning, Nanay Luz was inspired to create a new design which she showed to us : new flower design.
It is so amazing that at her age she can make at least a hundred pieces per day. Truly, Nanay Luz is one example of how ingenuous and creative the Filipinos are. I was awed with the many newspaper articles and write ups about her and her amazing creations. When asked if she would call her work an art, she immediately yes! I agree to it. Indeed her creations are indeed a great work of art.