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Laguna | Paete Woodcarving Capital and its Masters

There’s a distinctive smell of wood amidst the mixture of paint and thinner lingering in the air. I could hear the constant pounding of multiple mallets on chisels carving away pieces of wood to make form to an otherwise large piece of wood. Occasional sawdust fills the air when sudden gust of wind blows through this open air wood carving workshop. Paete Woodcarving has been a thriving industry since the Spanish era until now. A walk at the town’s market road, it is hard not to notice the rows of shops, selling variety of wood work and paper mache. This crafty town of Paete, north-east of Laguna have earned its declaration as the Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines back in 2005. Thanks to proud Paetenians whose generations of wood carvers passed their skills and dedication for elevating the art. Here we meet some of the master woodcarvers that have etched their legacy in the town’s history.

Chisels and Luis at work
Chisels and Luis at work

Luis Ac-ac

From religious images, we go to the life-like fine art wood sculptures of Luisito “Luis” Ac-ac. Describing his work, it is like Amarsolo’s paintings came to life in 3D. Luis depicts Filipino life in amazing detail through is sculptures. Scenes from rural livelihood, children playing traditional games and even our indigenous tribes. Luis, even at the age of 11 has started making wood sculptures as he grew up in Paete, gifted with five chisels from master blacksmith Tandang Nano Madrigal. As a student of UP Fine Arts, he have also worked under acclaimed master and National Artist Napolean Abueva as apprentice. When he graduated, he set up his own studio in Paete.

One of his significant works is the Giant Jubilee Cross that stood in Manila last World Youth Day in 1995. The project led by Pope John Paul II has intricate carvings of scenes from the Holy Scriptures. Another pride of his work is the 5-foot tall piece of Lapu-lapu vs Magellan sculpture commissioned by a private collector that fetched for Php 600,000. Luis has other works from eminent people and establishments like in Ayala Alabang, Forbes Park up to Tagum in Mindanao.

For inquiry on Luis Ac-ac’s work, visit www.luis-acac.com

Portrait of Angelo Baldemor at work
Portrait of Angelo Baldemor at work

Angelo Baldemor

There are paintings and there are sculpture. Then there’s Angelito “Angelo” Baldemor who fused both crafts with such finesse we can call it paintures. As the brother of National Artist for Visual Arts, Manuel Baldemor, Angelo found his own style through painting over sculptures to give life and color to his works. His subjects covers a variety of rural harvest – from rice, corns, vegetable, fruits and flowers.

Angelo’s works have been acquired by collectors like the Abads and has done commissioned works for Ayala properties like Serendra in Taguig. Angelo’s family come from humble beginnings and through his perseverance he finished Fine Arts in FEATI University. His dedication to his craft has brought him places like in India where he was the sole Filipino representative for the India and Southeast Asian and Tribal Folk Arts in 2003 and also the Inami International Wooden Sculpture Camp in Toyoma, Japan. He has done several one-man exhibits already and his works are constantly displayed at Gallerie Y at SM Megamall. Angelo’s work not only represents the vibrancy of rural life objects but a symbol of pure hard work and passion for his art.

For inquiries on Angelo Baldemor’s work contact (+6349) 557.1875

One of Luis Ac-ac's work on display at his workshop
One of Luis Ac-ac’s work on display at his workshop
Some of Angelo Baldemor's work on display at his workshop
Some of Angelo Baldemor’s work on display at his workshop

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