Thursday, October 10, 2013

276. The Bangkal Picker: TIPOS DEL PAIS CARVINGS

One of my most recent exciting finds from Bangkal is this lovely pair of tipos del pais carvings, made from batikuling and standing about 18 inches high. The above photo shows them in restored condition; the farmer figure originally had a broken salakot, and a few missing teeth on his wooden harrow. The woman vendor, on the other hand, had a broken finger. I found these two, largely ignored by buyers, on a table together with newer Nativity figures.
As you can see, they are realistically carved with rich details, right down to the texture of the woman's saya and the fruits on her bilao. Both figures stand on a carved, framed base. I have no idea where these came from, or how old they are, but they seem to be from the 50s. These were definitely made for the tourist market, perhaps made in the tourist area of Mabini, or from caring centers in Pampanga and Paete. Originally priced at Php 2000, I managed to bring down the price to Php1,800.
A few days after their restoration, I chanced upon this picture from a Pampanga dealer, taken over 15 years ago. He kept tab of his sold items by taking photos of them. I was amazed at the similarity of these carved figures with mine; the woman represented a female vendor, while the man seem to be a fisherman carrying a net. Even the bases are identica--both are framed with a differnt wood molding. The dealer told me he sold these pre-war pieces for Php40,000, quite a sizeable amount 15 years ago. This validates that, indeed, I am now an owner of a pair of carved treasures--the only difference being the price at which I got them. That's why if you have the patience to scrounge and dig around the junk heaps of Bangkal, you are certain to find your own surprise treasure too--at a price you can afford!.


  1. Congratulations on an exciting find--enjoy!

  2. I'm so glad I came back for these carvings..I nearly passed them up.

  3. Greetings sir, I am searching for an antique philippine fire piston like the one I came across on exhibit at the Smithsonian institute. I have heard that they were also seen in old Philippine tribal photos worn like amulets around the neck. If you ever happen to find one, i would appreciate a heads up. There are modern ones and replicas available and are easy to make but an authentic one would be a nice find. :-)