Saturday, July 5, 2008

the man behind the colors of the philippine islands

the Philippines has 7,107 islands to journey but here's one of the person who has already been to all the islands. "i was here when the late president Ferdinand Marcos ordered the construction of the man made lake with a replica of the Philippine islands" as manong Nephtali narrates.it was late in the afternoon when i decided to pass by this huge man made park in Luneta park Manila. i saw this man painting the signs that indicates the names and the location of the provinces found in the map. i approached him and asked if he also painted the whole man-made island replica. he said "yes" and started to tell stories about it.he proudly narrated me how he was hired during that time which he considers as his most memorable experience in this job. while i was listening to him, it was like we were going back to those days as he explained it in detail. "it was in November 14, 1968 when the city officials asked me to do a trial paint. for just a short time, i finished one island and they were impressed. on that same day, they hired me" manong Nephtali recalls.he was at the park during the Marcos' downfall but luckily they were absorbed by the Aquino government. he then took his wallet and showed me his identification card. he is an Ilonggo who at the age of twenty transferred to the city of Manila. he was hired to paint the islands in the late 1960s along with other painters and sculptors. he had a wife who died from a goiter disease and asthma leaving him four of their children. his four children were able to finish their studies in college of whom one is still under his care today. "i worked here for about 43years now, repainting the island-replica 9times from the time it was constructed" he said at the same time pointing the island of Romblon which was the first island assigned for him to paint.he also did other painting jobs for the other structures managed by the National Parks Development Committee under the Department of Tourism of the Philippines in Manila. but he already retired from this job but still chose to work for a contractual job on painting the replica of the archipelago. he just turned 65years old last March but i'm amazed at how he retained that experience in his mind and even shared it to me in detail.i asked him what he'll do next after finishing all the painting job, he said "i'll ask the park official to allow me to fix some of the damaged parts of this man-made lake. the holes causes the water to reduce a certain level everyday because of the damage". he was so determined to continue working even at the age of 65.brought him some food on that day and i asked him if he wanted something else. "i simply want a copy of these photos" he said. i asked if that was all that he wanted, he said "yes, that's all". what a simple wish?
he said that it meant so much to him that i was able to take time and listen to his stories not knowing how fortunate i was to have listened to his stories as well.

40 comments:

KRIS JASPER VAN DYKE said...

65? i hope he'll be rewarded well so that he can retire.

anyway, Happy weekend.

Steven and Aisha said...

oh wow! that's really cool! at first, i couldn't understand what was in the photo. lol! this man knows a lot about what happened during those times.

redlan said...

ilonggo pala siya. hindi ko alam may man-made island pala sa luneta.

interesting yung mga storya ng matatanda. I heard different story bout world war 11. war, natural disaster.... tao ang gumagawa. gumawa na alng kaya sila ng bagay tulad nephtali.

nakakatouch ng post na to. lalo na yung huling linya. so noble. salamat sa pagshare!

lagal[og] said...

thanks for sharing this dom. i've always wondered about and wandered around that replica of the philippine islands at what we called then luneta. keep it up bro.

R-yo said...

it's nice to know you just don't take pictures of your subjects - you also get to know their lives. Thanks for sharing this. Makes me appreciate the efforts of the people normally ignored by society.

Senor Enrique said...

What a wonderful feature! Thank you for sharing :)

Karen of Sillymonkeez said...

What an amazing man! I'm pretty positive that, by the time I'm his age, all I'll be interested in doing is napping. LOL!!

SandyCarlson said...

What a humble man. And what a story. I hope he enjoys good health and happiness all his days.

caryn said...

hey, thanks for this really interesting post; you've humanized the map! ;-)

its really great to get to know the people behind public art, or art in general. it gives you a whole new perspective on things.

jericho said...

swerte mo to have the chance to talk to someone like him ...

the donG said...

>jasper, he just retired and i was not able to ask if he got a retirement pay for that. i hope he did.

>hi aisha, he surely does.

>redlan, yes. ilonggo sya. sana makita mo ito pagpunta mo rito.

napakamakwento nya dahil na rin siguro sa bihira syang may nakakausap.

>oggie, dapat nga yung replica talaga ang paguusuapan ko nung pumunta ako dun pero napansin ko na mas maganda ang kwento ni manong nephtali.

>r-yo, this is just one way of how we can value the ordinary people. i hope many will learn to take some time talking to them.

>senor, my pleasure to share manong nephtali's life here.

>hi karen, hahaha... maybe in a beach house.

>hi sandy, we hope for the same thing for manong nephtali.

>hi caryn, that's true. sometimes we only appreciate the landmarks and not the people behind it. thanks for dropping by my blog.

keep in touch!

>jericho, oo nga. most of the time nasa park lang naman daw sya. nag iikot.

leo said...

During the 70's, my parents would bring us kids to Luneta for relaxation and have a good time. There was a playground behind the grandstand where we would play at the swing and seesaw area. I rember the concrete dinasours and the part of the park near Taft ave, the Rado watch made of flowers, the deaf-mute staffed refreshment area besides the concrete map where we would buy hotdogs and freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. Most of all I remember Luneta as a clean and safe place to visit then.

Rio said...

a salute to manong nepthali!
ang galing at ang astig!..
bait mo talaga dong nilibre mo pa si manong nepthali=) astig ka talaga!..saludo din ako sa mga taong tulad mo=)

BlogusVox said...

During my college days, I'm always in Luneta. I took my jeepney ride there from school to house and vice-versa. I knew about the islands but never give much thought to it until now. Thanks for sharing the story of Manong Neptali, donG.

Isadora said...

That is an amazing career. Talk about job security!

the donG said...

>leo, i can imagine how beautiful it was during those times when the island replica was still new. thanks a lot for sharing. im not sure if the rado watch is still there. the freshly squeezed sugar cane must have tasted really good.

>hi doc rio, it was a day before father's day nung nakausap ko sya. burger mo yung binigay ko sa kanya. hehehe...

>blogusvox, ayos ah. memorable nga itong lugar sa yo. sana mabisita mo ulit ito ngayon.

>hi isadora, maybe it is.

Joshua said...

ASTIG ang job nya! imagine napagtapos nya yung mga anak nya dahil sa job nya astig!

may man made islands pala sa luneta..hmm now i have a reason to go there! hehehe

dave said...

omg! yan pla yung sinasabi ng mom ko na replica of the philippine islands... they were cleaning it up or doing some repairs when we last went there... tsk... Uswag Ilonggos!

Sandy B & Dick said...

I'm glad that you documented and shared this interesting piece of history. What talent...and what a humble man. I hope his children appreciate him.

Lyzius said...

naks naman dong, at talagang mindoro island pa ang model mo...

Selerines said...

Awesome one friend.... Who is he actually?

acey said...

wow, so this is the guy who made the mini-philippines! so cool, kuya dong!

the donG said...

>joshua, astig talaga. malamang dahil sa sipag at tiyaga. oo meron. makikita mo ito pag sumaka ka ng lrt.

>dave, oo. yan nga yon.

>hi sandy, his story is definitely worth documenting.

>hi lyzius, naka timing lang na nasa ma midoro sa nung nakita ko sya.

>selerines, you might as well read the whole post.

>hi ace, he was part of the team who built this replica and has been part maintaining it for quite some time now.

BW said...

Spending some 40 years doing the same job is pretty heroic to me :) Well, at least he had job security with his painting skills - not so stressful I think that;s why he's still doing it at 65 even after retirement !

Lalaine said...

kakabilib naman si manong... sa edad nya na yun, dapat nagrerelax na lang sya at hindi na masyado nagpapakapagod... pero mukhang enjoy sya sa ginagawa nya... masyado syang dedicated sa trabaho nya...

salamat din sau sa pagshashare mo nito sa amin =).

the donG said...

>bw, really heroic that's why i was thinking if he really did got his retirement pay.

the way i see it, he is enjoying what he's doing.

>hi lalaine, oo nga naisip ko din yon. pero totoo ang sinabi mo dedicated talaga sya. dami pa nyang gustong gawin sa replica na ito. parang parte na yata talaga ng buhay nya ang pag alaga dito.

collapsingbarrycade said...

i will never look at that country map in luneta the same way again.

your people stories always humble me. it's one of those little unexpected things that ground me to reality.

Tink *~*~* said...

It's quite an extraordinary project. No wonder he's so proud of his part in it.

Tink *~*~*
My Mobile Adventures *~*~*

eastcoastlife said...

How cool! I would love to see this mini Philippines. I have never heard of it.

This man is really paasionate about his work.

the donG said...

>barry, it is usually humbles me as well. these people are simply inspiring how they live a simple life.

>tink, that sure is true.

>hi eastcoastlife, it's at the luneta park. just a walk away from the rizal monument.

he surely is.

Panaderos said...

Dong, through your efforts, we now know a bit of the history of this replica of the Philippine archipelago. I always admired it as a child and thanks to you, I know a lot more about it now.

Thanks to Manong Nephtali for his continued care of this landmark. Without him and the others who maintain it, this would have turned into an eyesore a long time ago.

Thanks for sharing! This was a great post! :)

Anino said...

Ang ganda naman nito.May nalaman ako tungkol sa kasaysayan ng replica na iyan.

Ibinoboto nga pala kita at si Dongism sa poll.

the donG said...

>panaderos, we can learn a lot from manong nepthali's experience. in fact he still has many to say but it was already late afternoon that we have to end our conversation.

>anino, maraming salamat sa pagboto. buti rin at nakakatulong ito sa iyo.

beero said...

interesting story...

never been to that place yet. hope i could drop by someday...

manong nepthali does his job so well in restoring the structure.

Heart of Rachel said...

I think it's wonderful that you meet many interesting people. It's remarkable that Manong Nephtali has been in that job for many years. I'm sure he loves his job very much.

Toe said...

Wow, this is an amazing story! Shucks! I really need to go and see that manmade lake. Thanks for this info!

The Islander said...

dong, how big is the replica? im sure it looks good in full view. kopyang kopya ang mga bundok.

the donG said...

>beero, sana nga makita mo rin ito. sa may luneta lang sya also near the manila city hall.

>hi rachel, yes he is so dedicated to it. i can see it by the way he shows his feelings and his thoughts.

>hi toe, thanks! i agree. it's in luneta opposite end to rizal's monument.

>islander, it's huge. not sure how long and how wide it is but it occupies 3/4 of the width of luneta park.

zherwin said...

wow, this is one good post. talking about being at the right place at right time. sakto ang timing mo dyan.

he needs to be featured in a magazine or two, for his outstanding and dedicated work on this landmark in a national park. i think i'll visit the place and make a blog post about it and i will make a reference to your post, okay lang ba?

milkphish said...

what a wonderful story, with wonderful photos to document it. you made him feel "big" that day. what an incredibly nice thing to do. thank you.

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