Ricardo San Rafael Bagabaldo
August 7, 1951
Paete, Laguna (Maytoong)Father's Name : Rosendo Balquiedra Bagabaldo
Mother's Name : Leoncia Afu San Rafael (Asing)
Address (Paete) : 63 M.H. Del Pilar St., Paete, Laguna
Address (USA) : 8521 N. Ashley St., Tampa. Florida 33604
It was 1964 when I was started as "magkukutsara" at Flor Umali's woodcraft. In 1966, I worked as "maglilinis" at my cousin's [Rufing Bagalbaldo] woodcarving shop. In 1969, I went to Angono, Rizal with Celing Fadul to help him work with Carlos V. "Botong" Francisco on a 14-panel painting depicting the history of the Philippines. The painting started with the image of "Si Maganda at Si Malakas" which is the Filipino version of Adam and Eve. The last panel comprised the Marcos History.
In 1971, I decided to return to Paete, Laguna to learn more about woodcarving. I worked with different shops, two of which were Ka Doro's and Ka Rufing Bagalbaldo's. Both taught me different styles of making religious items since at that time, religious articles were so much in demand in the market. It was in that same year that I got married to Sally, daughter of Maura and Sianong Dilaw. Sally and I lived in Barrio Bangkusay and that was where I started my own business. One of my masterpieces was the Last Supper.
Then, in my desire to improve our quality of life, I applied for work at a cruise ship in 1989 but was not given the chance. So I moved from state to state in the USA until I met this guy in Chicago who owns one of the biggest religious stores in the U.S. I showed him some of my works and he liked them so much that he even promoted them. Every year thereafter, as we attended catholic retreats in different places in the U.S., we told other people that the Filipinos could excel in the art of woodcarving and that we don. t need to go to Italy to see products of excellence and workmanship.
Now, I'm still working with this guy in Chicago. My cousin was right when he said, "Once you learn this kind of art, you will survive anywhere you go. I am proud to tell anybody that I come from a small town where citizens are full of talent and ability."
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