Papier mache art is synonymous with the town of Paete, Laguna which has been churning out colorful papier mache figures of all shapes and sizes for many decades now. The industry peaked in the 1970s, when Manila antiques and art shops included these colorful, folksy figures to supplement their dwindling supply of genuine antiques. The horses were painted in red lacquer then the body was further decorated with folksy patterns.
Along Mabini, the place to go for these decorative figures was Junque, whose proprietor was no less than writer-culturati-book publisher Gilda Cordero-Fernando. Silahis Arts and Crafts in Intramuros not only carried these painted paper equines, but also other figures, like roosters, rabbits and later, women in Philippine costumes, angels and Santa Claus. In due time, even the solid wood molds on which newspaper strips were glued became hot collectibles. The example shown above shows a mold for a seldom-seen rooster figure. This "takaan", as they are called, was collected from Paete and found its way to a Mabini shop, and then to a shop in Angeles. where I found it. It is too plain and heavy to become a "manok ni San Pedro", but it does make a nice doorstop!