Chisels from the Town Near the Bay – Beautiful Sunday

Chisels from the Town Near the Bay – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

Located near Laguna de Bay in the Philippines, there is a town that is rich with local artists. The town called Paete is known to be the wood carving capital in the Philippines. It boasts of its skilled locals not only in wood carving but in other forms of art as well. Join me today as we walk along the streets of this town to see the artworks from this amazing place.

Chisels from the Town Near the Bay

It was a gloomy morning on our way to Paete. It was cloudy and you feel that it would rain anytime. It would be a more pleasant trip if the sun was shining. The highway runs along the hills with a lot of coconut trees and other large plants. In roads like this soil erosion and landslides are common. I noticed that the hills were covered with nets and blanketing almost every part of the area. This I found out that those nets are used to counter landslides, keeping the soil compact. This was done to parts of the hill that has no trees. As we know trees hold up the soil that also helps prevent soil erosion.

This highway is a refreshing sight, away from the buildings and industrial areas. It is quite relaxing seeing greenery along the way and I wouldn’t mind passing here everyday. The road is a bit narrow, but I noticed how the vehicles here were running around 80-100. Safety first and always keep your seatbelt on.

A view from the top of the town. This town was established in 1580 during the Spanish era and was not formally entitled to township until 1850. The name of the town itself is refers to a tool used for crafting. Paete has been taken from the word “Paet” and in english is a word for chisel. Not only that as I mentioned in my previous post about the town. From a bird’s eye view the town resembles a flying eagle. As the locals said it is like a symbol how its residents soars high in life and dreams.

We arrived around 10 am and this was our second time to visit the town. This time we specifically came here to take photos of the wood carvings. Last time it was our gateway up to the mountain to see the “Tatlong Krus“.

A small quiet town where a river runs thru it from the mountain and ends up in Laguna de Bay which is that largest lake in the country.

Walking around the town I saw lamp posts that is decorated what seems to be like yellow grapes. I would have loved to see these posts lit up at night.

Trees are everywhere including this calamansi tree which is our local lime. There were a lot of fruits and no one seemed to care about it. If that tree was in our city it probably would have been picked already and sold to the market.

A monument of our national heroes stands near the city hall.

The most popular attraction of Paete is the wood carving. Works from this town has even reached parts of the world mostly religious images. There are carvings that are found in cathedrals in New York, Rome, Mexico namely St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. If ever you visit these cathedrals do look around and maybe looking at a carving made from this small town.

Here I stumbled upon  an artist working on a small statue. I asked the man if I could take a couple of photos as he worked. He just gave me a smile and a nod.

Working with wood takes years of experience and practice. What makes the people here different in an artistic way?I asked this question and I was told that the fresh air and water here make the people here more creative.

Careful carving is required as one mistake can mess up a design. There are those carved from one piece of wood but there are also those carved from multiple pieces and connected together later on.

The tools of the trade the “Paet” comes in different shapes and sizes. Just looking at the tools I would not know where to start. Which size of chisel to use?

An artist at work carefully carves each part of this statue. The waves on the robe looks so fluid already and I would love to see the finished work.

The hands are carved separately and will be attached once the body has been completed.

Inside the small workshop are unfinished works. There were also large pieces of wood on the corner to be used in the future. Wood is very precious in this area and you would have a hard time finding charcoal for cooking or roasting. They reserve all the wood for carving as it is more profitable.

Other unfinished works and looks like he is also working on two cannons. Religious works and weapons of war all made in this small work shop.

Now, I am really sure he is working on some weapons. Two bazookas, maybe from a client who will be using it as props. But just looking at the size of it, I know that it would be heavy to carry around.

I wanted to stay longer but we had to move along to see the other works in the area. I thanked the man for letting me take some photos and we went on our way.

This shop specializes in desk signs and desk name plates.

I asked around where we could find the wood carving shops in the area. We were pointed to a street where all the shops where. This is the first shop that we saw and as expected religious images are the most popular ones.

But there are also shops with depictions of culture. The one in the middle is called Bayanihan which is the spirit of community in our country.

A local folk dance called the tinikling, two bamboo poles smacked together as a maiden dances in the rhythm of the bamboo. The fish carving on the right looks amazing and would look good a home. I recognize the fish which is called Tilapia, a local fish that is very abundant in this province.

Walking the streets I felt I was going thru an art gallery. Artworks on display just outside the shops and every art lover would definitely enjoy visiting this place.

You could only imagine the work and time spent just to finish one piece of art. These works should be on exhibit and now I truly know why this town is called the wood carving capital of the country.

A lot of these would end up in churches all over the country and parts of the world.

Now this piece truly blew my away. I was very impressed with the intricate detail on the work done. Scenes from our local culture and I’m pretty sure this is very expensive. If ever Steem rises I would come back here and take this home or better yet have something custom made for me.

Aside from wood carvings, other forms of art are also sold here. Like this shop called “Ang Buhay at Hugis sa Paete (The Life and Shape in Paete)”.

From the entrance you would see masks of different sorts.

I think this is the only wood carving that they had on display. I do not recognize the scene depicted in this work, with a bladed weapon on hand that looks like he has vanquished his enemies.

Masks made from paper and looks like the ones used in one of our local mask festivals. Different colors, styles and designs, masks that has different meanings and  expression.

We all wear different masks and sometimes some of us invisible masks to hide our sadness or frustrations.

The masks on the other side was very unique and reminds me of C3PO with a touch of steam punk. Pieces of discarded pieces of metal has been fused together to make up this art form. I am not sure if someone could actually wear it.

All those pieces of wire, metal sheets and cogs were combined together to make each piece unique. If you love sci-fi you would definitely fall in love with these art pieces.

The facial frame seems to be made from a different material. I didn’t touch it to check if it was heavy as I felt I was visiting an art gallery.

Like a storage room of robot parts, there were more masks inside and would take you a few minutes to check each one. In this town know for carving, sometimes it is good to go against the wave and take a different path. In spite of using a different materials it still showcases the talent of the artist from this town. I would have loved to meet the artist, but was not available at this time.

Inside there were more interesting stuff inside and I definitely needed to check it out.

Colored carabao or water buffalo made from paper.

A jumbo chess board and you would spend a lot of time playing chess with your buddies.

More animal figures made from paper. They even had different colored unicorns on display.

There were also images of the president of the Philippines in different outfits.

Native Philippines costumes also made from paper.

One of the biggest shops in this street and it had life sized wood carvings outside on display.

The lighting inside made a mood feel like a church and looks like this is a one stop shop for church needs. The one in the center is used during religious processions decorated with lights and flowers during a procession.

These images are dressed up, decorated and the placed inside a church as depiction of Saints. I recall visiting a museum with very similar frames on display. It is possible that they have been producing these, based on the old ways of wood crafting.

With those movable parts and joints, I wonder if clients ever requested for life sized action figures.

I wonder how each work costs as the craftsmanship is very beautiful. The facial structure and the completed image would be much more majestic in what I am imagining. Now whenever I visit churches, I would always think where the religious come from. I would not be surprised if they all came from this town.

Just near the corner of the street there were different wooden kitchen tools for sale.

The one at the bottom is a back scratcher and is very useful reaching that itch on your back.

They have wooden gun toys and this is the one that has a rotary handle. Rotating the handle makes a sound simulating a gun sound. I remember having one of these when I was young.

In front of the the store with a lot of religious carvings, Christmas is early. They have Christmas decorations already on sale. I’m just not sure if they have them all year round.

The Nativity Scene, a very popular image during the holiday.

More Santas on display and these looks like the ones the we see in large malls. From the build, the shades of color, and the design, these creations are spectacular. I am sure they export these all over the world due to it’s quality.

Have you been naughty or nice this year? Christmas is fast approaching and don’t tell anyone Santa is coming to town.

Visiting this town has been an amazing experience to see the art of the locals. Although I learned from the people here that the younger generation are slowing shifting to a different trace. Most of them are going abroad to work on luxury cruise lines. Most of them work as food and ice sculptors, which still showcases the art from this town. I hope some of them still stay in town to continue the legacy of the place. It would be saddening the see the craft fade away.

Again I thank you for joining me in this tour. It was an amazing experience sharing the talent from Paete. Just one of the amazing places to visit in our country and there is still so much more to see in this province. Hope to see you again soon and do visit my other content from this province if you want to see more. Until then enjoy the rest of your weekend.

In Search of Fried Duck

A Thousand Steps to “Tatlong Krus”

“Tatlong Krus” at the Summit of Mt. Humarap

Paete Church

A Resting Place at the Foot of a Mountain

[//]:# (!steemitworldmap 14.364401 lat 121.482307 long Paete Laguna d3scr)



Map Image source



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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm kit lens