Monday, January 5, 2009

The Viva Filipinas Collection

I would like to thank my friends and the Florentino Family for contributing a lot of their family photos.

Some are also found photos, some are from my personal collection. Some come from the archives of schools in the provinces.

People think of me as strange for keeping pictures of dead people. I am very fascinated with vintage memorabilia- the photography involved, the details in the subject's clothing and the expression on the pinoy's faces.

I got my knack of nostalgia from my late uncle George who would resurrect old Manila from memory when I was a kid. His imagery became very vivid in my head.

In the 90s, we lost most of our family photos to the lahar floods. I felt it was a great loss. So I know how these lost photos would mean to the families that once owned them, maybe through the internet I could find the answers and even details how they came about. Or simply enjoy an interesting glimpse of the past in pictures.

Cute Kid on a Radioflyer Bike

A little boy aroound six or seven years old, his hair greased slick in pomade, happy in his classic radioflyer bicycle.

This was someone's childhood and from the looks of this photo, it was a happy one.

A Portrait of a Filipina Mother and her Sons

I am guessing this was a group photo then enlarged, to cut out and frame in oval the figure of the mother. Her eyes are distant, looking away from the camera while her young barefoot boys in their cotton shirts, look curiously into the lens.

I am guessing this was their only photo of her- the mother with her boys.

Note the obscured face of one of the sons, forgotten by time.

Estrellita De La Torre: Radio Star

She looks so glamorous, her eyes sparkle like Jean Harlow, and yes before TV, Estrellita De La Torre was a radio star!

This photo of her is a replica. What I have in the collection is a vintage replica. This photo came out for an ad, she was endorsing some beauty product called Purico and this photo from what I surmised, was what she gave out to her fans!

She signed it "Ang Iyong Lingkod, Estrellita De La Torre". A rough translation would be "At your service, Estrellita De La Torre."

Portrait of a Filipina

A very poised Binibini (young lady) sitting like a queen on a rattan wicker throne. The long train from her dress is sprawled to one side; her shoes stepping on the fur of a dead animal. Her eyes towards the lens, her lips almost a half-smile like the Mona Lisa herself.

There's a handwriting scribbled at the back of the photo, the portrait was taken as a memento for her sister who lives far away.

My grandma told me that getting your portrait done back in the day meant saving up for it, spending that amount of money in the province and traveling for hours to reach the Kapitolyo required much planning. It was an anticipated event especially for young women. This was a step up from the previous generation who would do a "sitting" with painters for a portrait.

Manilenos often have the opportunity to get their photos taken, studios were more accessible to them. They would have clothes tailored just for their photo sessions. As for the average low income or provincial Pinoy, most only have their wedding portrait as the sole occasion to have photos professionally done in a studio.

She could be from a well-to-do familia and can afford her own elegant terno made for this shot. Or like the enterprising studios of today, they have props and some wardrobe ready for their customers.