Ang Bakya Mo Neneng
The Filipino in Me - Insights into Living Heritage
Entry by Antonio (aka Tony/Val) Caday Ludovico. Edmonton, Alberta
Ang Bakya Mo Neneng
Oil on Canvas
The Bakyâ or wooden clogs were once the most commonly used footwear in the Philippines before the introduction of rubber sandals. This footwear is made from local light wood like santol and laniti. It is cut to the desired foot size before being shaven until smooth. The side of the bakyâ is thick enough to be carved with floral, geometric or landscape designs, a unique method in Southeast Asia for the artist's application of oneself towards the clog. Afterwards, the bakyâ could then be painted or varnished, traditionally, on the specification of the person who would wear it. Uppers of traditional rattan or tight cloth (or modern plastic or rubber) will then be fastened using clavitos (tiny nails). The finished product has been a symbol of the masses since its popularity. However, since the early 21st century, the usage of the bakyâ has been revived by the upper classes of society, effectively changing the symbolism of the footwear from mass representation to holistic societal representation. A bill in the Philippine Congress described the bakyâ as having 'reference to the Filipinos' humble beginnings.
Before our father went into wood sculpture, he started carving bakyâs, as our town Binan was famous for slipper wear, our town was in competition with Marikina for their famous shoes and slippers. I had the chance to wear one of those, the simplest one, and I remember that my bakyâ broke and my Nanay bought me a brand new one. I started to cry loud as she threw them away along the riverbank as we crossed the bridge from the market. She laughed at me and why cry as I bought you a new pair. These were the memories of my childhood, a humble beginning and remembering the little girls wearing them and dancing through the nice Kundiman song "Ang Bakya Mo Neneng".
As an artist, I will always be proud of our cultures and I will always be a Filipino, a true blooded Paetenian, with arts in my blood and our family.
About the Artist
I'm Antonio Caday Ludovico, born and grew up in the small town of Binan, now a city in Laguna. My parents were Victor Baldemor Ludovico and Concepcion Caday Ludovico. Both were from Paete, Laguna, the Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines. I studied Architecture from University of Santo Tomas and migrated to Edmonton way back in August 1982.
Having a father who's a wood sculptor of religious icons like the famous La Pieta of Nichols Air Base Church and Canlubang Church, with his mentor from Paete too, Master Toti Cagayat that arts is in our blood. Our Dad is related to our National Artist of the Philippines Mr. Manuel Baldemor, who is my uncle and Wilfredo Baldemor, sculptor, were cousins of my Dad.
Our Mom's father, my grandfather/Lolo, hailed also from Paete. He was a master carpenter making those well-known architectural windows known as "Bintana/Window with Capiz Shells". I grew up watching them and very sweet memories of the past which was depicted in my painting "Ala-Ala, Bintana ng Kahapon - Memories, Window of the Past".
Being here in Canada for 40 years that I will not be able to forget the cultures and traditions of being a Filipino. I will always be proud to be one and of our country, regardless of the political status in our country. As I'm getting old, I was inspired to paint this to reminisce on my childhood, picking mangoes on a tree, flying kits in the green fields under the sunny skies and cool breeze. Remembering my pet dog "Puppy" and my pet turtle. I thought being in Canada will make me happy but I knew there's something missing. I missed many of my friends and relatives now that our parents are both deceased and many relatives gone too, that in my sadness, I turned into arts, started to paint.
* We would love to hear what you think of this entry. Leave a comment below.