History Maker : Tata Raymundo D. Gaspar

There was a time when I posted something about Eric and I aka EM Productions doing a documentary shoot for a teacher client in facebook. I actually got excited for this project in an instant. First because it’s Eric and I’s first love, documenting life in its most raw and natural form, and Secondly, I got permission from the client to take personal photos! Like I said, it’s something Eric and I enjoy doing more because we get to meet amazing people, learn a bit about culture and other peoples’ lifestyles, experience something different and a whole lot of perks. There is something fulfilling when you absorb something good and learn from immersing in it.

This particular project is not new. It’s actually about our province’s cultural traditions like the “banga” making in San Nicolas which we shot first, Salt making in Pasuquin and the likes. This September, we focused on “Calesa” (horse carriage) making in Cabungaan. We were privileged enough to have witnessed the actual process of making a calesa by the ONLY man who had the passion to keep the legacy alive.

His name is Tata Raymundo “Mundo” Domingo Gaspar. He has made more than a hundred calesas already. If that is not enough information to have the honor to meet him, I don’t know what else should be.
Tata Mundo is known as the man who has received special recognitions for his outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Ilocano Cultural Heritage in Ilocos Norte particularly Calesa Making.

We have not finished yet documenting the calesa that Tata Mundo specially made for the documentation. This morning, 9AM exactly, Eric and I were all prepped up to shoot the continuation of the work of his hands. On our way close to his workstation, his grandchild approached told us that the old guy already passed away 2 days ago. It was totally heartbreaking. We were dumbfounded and speechless. The moment we parked the car on the side of the street and entered his little home, stood in front of his coffin, I literally can not stop myself from tearing until we got to sit down.

Tata Mundo was 88 years old. A couple of weeks ago just after the tropical storm, he got really sick and was sent to the hospital where he stayed for 5 days. What was amazing was how timing took its place. The moment he got out of the hospital, they said that he wanted still to continue the unfinished calesa he was assembling during our last shoot. He had a helper named Manong Mario and he assisted him during the days of our documantation. It was even his first time to actually make a calesa with Tata Mundo and now, he actually realized that the old man has passed on the heritage to him.

Manong Mario showing to us the unfinished calesa they started with Tata Mundo during the past weeks.

I was absolutely tearing up every once in a while during the short chat we had with their grandchildren, Manong Mario, and their neighbours even though we’ve only met and got to mingle with them for less than a month. It was a pleasure to have met Tata Mundo. He is the definition of a history maker.

I am so thankful…really really thankful to have had the opportunity to meet him and experience first hand watching him assemble a calesa while bragging us how proud he is of his passion.

In loving memory of Tata Mundo, who would always offer us a seat and a plastic full of biscuits every time we arrived to capture his amazing work, it was more than a privilege to have witnessed his undying love for keeping our calesa culture live long. I am still in awe. May his legacy live forever.

Categories: photography

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