Monday, September 21, 2009

A Culture of Paper and Wood Shaping in Paete

It has been a while since the clan had an excursion. So when prospects of going to Pangil in Laguna surfaced, my siblings and cousins immediately expressed their willingness to come. At 9 am on a Sunday we found ourselves following a Rizal province route to Pangil. We were warmly received in the Diaz family household and were treated to a sumptuous lunch of broiled pork, spring rolls and fish dishes. After the lunch, Ralph (my niece Cindy’s husband) took us on a short tour of neighbouring town Paete.

In Paete, we visited the really exotic Exotik, a boutique restaurant serving unusual fare like python meat, wild boar, etc. Though we did not get the chance to sample some of the out-of-the-ordinary dishes, we had our eyes full of the vivacious architecture and landscape. My sister even got herself a very nice Paete souvenir from the restaurant shop, a wood sculpture of the Last Supper.

My sister-in-law and my cousins got themselves very much interested in one of Paete’s famous products, paper mache. Come the ‘ber’ months (September, October...), people involved in this craft, concentrate their efforts in shaping familiar Christmas icons, particularly the very celebrated figure in red, Santa Claus. As a result, hundreds and hundreds of Santas adorn the front porches of selling stalls, signaling the start of that joyous season all Filipinos love. The Santa displays also exhibit the ingenuity of the Paete folk in expressing their art through wood and paper.

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