Blast from the Past: Isko Moreno and Claudine Barretto Love Team

Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso or Yorme Isko Moreno long before becoming a successful politician and father of “Manila” the capital city had a colorful television and movie career.

During his early years as a budding movie star, Isko signed a contract with Seiko Films producer Mr. Robbie Tan and starred in several movies, and was paired with Ms. Claudine Barretto, notably Muntik na Kitang Minahal (1994), Eat All You Can (1994). Other films included Siya’y Nagdadalaga (1997), Exploitation (1997), Mga Babae sa Isla Azul (1998) and Misteryosa (1999).

According to some movie insiders, The pair was an instant click among movie goers that time.

Blast from the Past Photo

iskomoreno

This was a group photo of then Yorme Isko Moreno together with Ms. Claudine Barreto, Ms. Rica Peralejo, Ms. Camille Prats in school uniform. The other guy at the back could be Mr. Gio Alvarez.

I got this photo together with couple of old photos during a collecting club auction/ subasta few months ago.

Just sharing this vintage haul while arranging my old photo collection.

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (Part 4)

The arrival of the Americans in 1898 saw the increase number of colorful postcards, these gradually replaced printed postcards during the last decade of the Spanish regime. The postcards were first printed in the United States, while other foreign postcards like French photo postcards, British painted postcards, Germany and Japanese sponsored postcards followed in the local market.

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Paco River with bamboo raft

American Regime Postcards

There were at least 30 known companies which printed and distributed postcards from the early 1900 to the mid- 1950’s in the country. This does not include the Japanese sponsored postal cards which were printed during the Japanese controlled republic from 1943 to 1945.

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Raphael Tuck and Son Postcard printed in England ( Suspension Bridge )

 The first bridge started its construction in 1849 and was completed in January 4,1852. It used to be called Puente de Claveria (Claveria Bridge)named after the Governor General Narciso Claveria y Zaldua; who was governor-general of the Philippines from July 16, 1844 to December 26, 1849. It was built and owned by Ynchausti y Compañía.

It was built to ease the traffic going to the north side of the Pasig river which includes Binondo, Quiapo and Santa Cruz districts.

the old suspension bridge had two lanes that allow passages of horse and carabao drawn carriage during that time. It was also opened for pedestrians from Quiapo going to Intramuros and nearby areas. The total length of the bridge was 110 meters.

Its old name was Puente de Colgante, and became the first suspension bridge not only in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia as well. This was later replaced by Quezon bridge in 1939.

The suspension bridge was one of the famous landmark in Spanish and American era, Manila.

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Pasig river postcard

Mr. Raphael Tuck and his wife started the business in Bishopgate in London in October 1866, The company eventually expanded into printing, distributing and featuring landmarks from all over the world.

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Denniston’s Manila, Philippines ( Binondo Canal)

Denniston is one of the printer and distributor of American era postcards in the country.  The code for the company Denniston Philippine Postcards with numbered “D” with at least hundreds of featured landmarks from different parts of the country.

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Binondo canal with native cascos and rice

Binondo canals and Pasig river was very popular subject in many of the early postcard issuance. The river is still clean and there are native cascos which ply the river.

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Quinta Market is located in the Quiapo district, It is one of the larger public market and it is still around. However the old structure was demolished few years ago to pave way for a newer public market.

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Plaza Lawton or Liwasang Bonifacio during the early part of 1900 during the early part of the American administration.

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Old Spanish Gate within Intramuros – This was printed by Philippine Educational Company ( PECO).

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Botanic Garden– This is one of the oldest known botanic garden not just in the country but in Southeast Asia.  This used to be called Jardin Botanico de Manila then changed the name to Mehan Garden.

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Botanic Garden by Photo Supply Co.

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Manila Central Post Office – This building is one of the first neo-classicial style built during the American regime.

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Tanduay Fire Station – This fire station is another iconic landmark and still around.

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Calle Palacio – This is one of the most important street in Intramuros.

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Manila Cathedral – This is one of the most featured cathedral in the country.

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Manila Cathedral with Pope Pius XI

This was a postcard issued sometime in commonwealth the mid- 1930’s. Pope Puis XI served from 6 February 1922 to his death in February 10, 1939.

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Manila Cathedral facade

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Bilibid Prison –  This correctional institution is another well-known landmark in Manila.

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Rotunda Fountain and Tranvia – The fountain was built in 1884 to commemorate the inauguration of Manila’s waterworks system. However, in 1976 the Rotonda de Sampaloc paved way to ease traffic congestion and was eventually moved the fountain to the MWSS office in Quezon City. Where it stayed for almost 20 years, until it was moved again in Plaza Santa Cruz in 1995 during the second term of then Mayor Alfredo S. Lim.

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YMCA Building Postcard– This was the old building by  Young Men’s Christian Association in Manila issued in the 1907.  The old building location is near Sm Manila which is at the back of the Manila Cityhall.

According to a postcard and stamp collector, This type of postcards used to be quite common in many curio stores and even old bookstores in Metro Manila even until the mid- 1970’s.

Sources and References:

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (part 1)

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (part 2)

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards ( part 3)

Collins English Dictionary : Postal Card

Littrell, Robert, Ed; Postal Cards of Spanish Colonial Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico, UPSS, 2010.

Personal interview from postcard collectors

Philippine Postcards page 130 to 137 Consuming Passions

Philippine Postcards.com: https://www.philippinepostcards.com/

Puente Colgante. ( 2005). In Virgilio Almario ( Ed.), Sagisag Kultura ( Vol 1). Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

PostcrossingPH Leap Year Meet-UP at Manila Central Post Office

PostcrossingPH had a special leap year meet-up get together at the Philatelic and Resource Center within the Manila Central Post Office.

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PostcrossingPH members

A special postcard was created by some members of the group to commemorate the special meet-up with thousands of postcards send to friends and postcard collectors in every corner of the globe.

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February 29, 2020 is a leap year and it only occurs once every four years. Some of the members came all the way from Laguna, Antipolo, Bulacan and other parts of Metro Manila.

In this age of internet and social media, There are still people who still cherish getting a postcard or greeting card with all the traditional hand writings, stamps and postmarks.

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 PostcrossingPH Meet-Up

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courtesy of Ms. Ali Lao

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Prof. Wil Monzon together with Ms. Ali Lao

There were at least 35 members who came in full force and a traditional jack en poy contest was held.  At the end of the game Ms. Ali Lao from Binondo won the postcards.

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Ms. Erika Jacolo

I also met Ms. Erika Jacolo who sells different kinds of postcards and other collectibles.

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Mr. Xian Lim

There was also a television series shooting entitled ” Love Thy Woman”  inside the post office lobby were celebrity Mr. Xian Lim was there.

Universal Love on Valentine’s Day 2020 Stamps Issued by PHLPOST

4 new set of stamps were issued by Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPOST) last February 6, 2020 to commemorate the Valentine’s Day for 2020.

The stamps were  titled “Valentine’s Day 2020 – The Love We Deserve” with a theme that PHLPost says promotes universal love.

Valentine’s Day Stamps 2020

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PHLPost’s new special stamps feature digital art using the popular character of the human heart bearing four types of love.

The four heart-shaped designs show the values important to contemporary society, focusing on current issues and are intended to touch on subjects the public – especially the youth – can both relate to and reflect about.

“We see the familiar symbol of love everywhere — from eating heart-shaped chocolates to sending text messages to a special someone with the iconic heart of the popular ’emoji’ or symbols,” says PHLPost referring to the symbols of love used in digital platforms such as the internet.

Each stamp denomination is Php 12.00 while block of 4 stamp would cost Php 48.00 for the entire set.

The four topics in the Valentine’s Day stamps are:

  • Love Nature in the color green, with a background of a tree that symbolizes life
  • Love for Country in a nationalistic theme where the color and design of the Philippine flag and map are reflected in the background while little doves fly around to symbolize peace and love
  • Love Knows No Gender theme indicates that Love has no sexuality, race, skin tone, color or gender
  • Love Yourself inspires people to have self-respect, a positive self-image, and unconditional self-acceptance. The magenta/purple inspired color illustrates a person holding one’s head high.

Considered as one of the most awaited Philatelic releases, this year’s Valentine’s Day stamps were designed by PHLPost in-house graphic artist Ms. Irma Jane Junio, deviating from the usual romance theme but focused more on the universality of love.

The 2020 Valentine’s Day Stamps, Souvenir Sheets, and Official First Day Covers are available starting February 06, 2020 at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office, all Mega Manila Post Offices, Postal Area 2, San Fernando, La Union, Postal Area 4, San Pablo, Postal Area 5, Mandaue, Postal Area 7, Davao, and Postal Area 8, Cagayan de Oro”. Go to Pilipinas Philately for the latest update.

Collection of Religious Chalkware in the Philippines

Chalkware is a molded figurine or statues from  plaster of paris or gypsum. These chalkware items were cheap, popular and mass produce in the country. There are still some local makers of chalkware in the country but confined to small items like figurines, souvenir items for baptism, wedding and zodiac sign statues sold in Divisoria or Chinatown during Chinese New Year celebration.

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year of the rat zodiac sign made from plaster of paris

Chalkware, Eskayola, Plaster of Paris, Carnival Chalkware

Chalkware started the rise in popularity in the later half of 19th century, in  Staffordshire, England, France, Spain, Italy and the United States.

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Photo courtesy of Professor Dennis Maturan

Chalkware is also called “Plaster of Paris” since large quantities of the material is found in Montmartre near Paris, France. Some would also refer the items made from these items as “Carnival Chalkware Figurines”. Small figurine items would be given as prizes in carnival and games during that era.

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Photo courtesy of Professor Dennis Maturan

It was late 19th century when local artists and craftsmen would use the medium and eventually became more common in the early part of the 20th century.  It is much cheaper compared to wood and can be mass produce in just within few days or weeks.

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photo courtesy of Professor Dennis Maturan

Locally referred to as”Eskayola“/ “Escayola”, The material has a centuries-long history in artist’s sculpture studios as well as interior architectural decoration, folk and religious art.

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Santo Niño de Prague made from eskayola ( photo courtesy of Professor Dennis Maturan)

Among the more famous artisan includes Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Mr. Isabelo Tampingco, Mr. Guillermo Tolentino and Mr. Maximo Vicente who would the medium in a lot of their works. Most of their artistic works are exhibited in the National Arts Gallery and other prominent galleries in the world.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/5we2yTnMkdChrJLc6

Sacred Heart of Jesus made from eskayola / chalkware probably in the 1970’s

The downside of eskayola/ escayola is that it is soft, breakable and heavy. According to a local artisan, who specializes on wedding figurines and small religious chalkware statues. During the height of their production in the late 1960’s to late 1990’s. They can make hundreds of figurine in just a couple of days ( small figurines 1 to 3 inches height).

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Blessed Virgin Mary made from eskayola / chalkware probably in the late 1970’s ( courtesy of Mr. Carlo Yap)

For small and medium sized religious figurines, It can take between 4 to 7 days. powdered gypsum is mixed with water, the gooey substance can be molded, shaped, or spread on surfaces. Molds are then removed and the surfaces are sanded or worked in various ways and with a range of tools, to smooth, refine, ornament and painting.

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Buddha figurines- the one at the left side was made from chalk ware

Among the popular countries to source these religious chalkware  were from Spain, Italy, France, United States, United Kingdom and Portugal. Some of the items were sold in pre-war Estrella del Norte in Escolta street. The items were an important conversational pieces in pre-war Manila. The collector would focus on the items which had brand name or those with signatures of famous makers or artisan.

Chalkware fragility, and art form is part of the overall appeal. In this regard, they seemed almost human, evoking the characteristic like frailties, hardship and mortality.

Local artisan would also craft wall decor, statues, coin banks,Buddha figurines and nativity scenes from plaster of paris materials.

My aunt told me that almost everyone would have these types of figurines during its heydays.

Catholic Trade in Tayuman, Santa Cruz would specializes in these types of religious chalkware until in mid-1980’s, while some local religious stall and peddlers would still have these types of chalkware until the early part of 2000.

Engineer Celso Buccat was among the first who started making fiber resin statues in the early 1980’s and the technology quickly spread among local artisan and prices of statues drop significantly. 

I can still remember that my mom was able to purchase a holy family statue in Evangelista street, Quiapo early part of 1994 for just few hundred of pesos.

Several superstitious belief from religious chalkware is that whenever one breaks the statue, one must bury or burn the broken statues within the property. One must not throw the religious images on the garbage bin. Another belief is that one must offer the broken image at the nearest chapel or church.

Now, A big portion of religious statues are made from fiber resin, plastic or imported from China or Taiwan.

It is a dying craft and only small items such as those sold for souvenir items are being made. Those who have these type of chalkware must try to cherish them.

Bibliographies and References:

Tara Hamling’s Decorating the “Godly” Household: Religious Art in Post-Reformation Britain (Yale University Press, 2010) explores the uses of large-scale religious figural and ornamental plaster moldings, mantels, wall panels, ceilings, and other interior architectural decoration in Protestant domestic spaces from 1560 to 1660.

Personal communications: Mr. Carlo Yap, Professor Dennis Maturan, Edgardo Gamo Jr., Diana Religious Supply Store, Maro Adriano, Salvacion de Vera and Mr. Peter Andres.