A five-minute immersion in Philippine history
LET US EXPLORE OUR
Resourcefulness, Creativity plus Artistry
Meet Our Man from Pangasinan
Jose Sison Luzadas
Delray Beach, Fl
Let us have a parade of great Filipinos of the past! Start with the ghost of our ancestors from the Sri-Visayan and Madjapahit times. Were they not gunpowder experts? They designed their canon called LANTAKAS and built strong forts for defense known as “KUTA” thus the province of COTABATO probably derived its name. Literally means “stone fort”.
Though by now were relics of history, these artifacts remind us of the glorious past of Muslim Mindanao.
Remember the name Panday Pira? He was a celebrated artisan, a heavy metal guy when Rajah Soliman and Lakandula were the native rulers of Manila and Tondo, two kingdoms that existed long before Adelantado y conquistador Miguel Lopez Legaspi surfaced to the Philippine shores. Legaspi was sent by the King of Spain to warn other colonizers that Spain is seriously establishing a permanent settlement of her overseas colony after forty-four years of inactivity. THE YEAR WAS 1565.
We FAST FORWARD our history to surf the events when General Aguinaldo and his army were waging a protracted war against the Spanish colonial government. He has a Chinese ammunition expert named General Paoa who complimented the services of another general, General Jose Alejandrino, Dr. Jose Rizal’s contemporary who studied military science and tactics in Belgium. The latter served well using his talents taking care of the ragtag Katipunan army in the use of guns and ammunitions.
Try to remember when problems of violence and peace and order in the provinces accounted so much death because of loose and unregistered guns. Did the PALTIKS in Ilocos and the deadly BALISONGS in Batangas contribute to the stats on crime?
WELL, on the brighter side of our current history, here is an article from eBALITA on the subject of Filipino craftsmanship as reported by Carlos Marquez Jr.
Take a good look to this gifted provinciano from Pangasinan whose special and unique skills are providing sparkles, “special”effects” and genuine entertainment tools to Hollywood and London’s Pinewood studios.
‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Braveheart’ swords made in RP
By Carlos D. Marquez Jr
CABIAO, Nueva Ecija – The breathtaking beauty of New Zealand and Scotland may have provided the memorable backdrop for the blockbuster Hollywood films The Lord of the Rings, Braveheart and First Knight, among others, but the swords that were so indispensable to them were designed by a Filipino mechanical engineer—and made in a small blacksmith shop in this town.
The designer, Rodrigo Revote, 44, said he made the Gandalf swords used by “Frodo” and “Aragorn” in winning the throne of Gondor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings from metal scraps he picked around his neighborhood in barangay Entablado, in Cabiao town.
For some other knife and sword designs, he simply used lahar and other debris from Mount Pinatubo’s eruption.
“They were laughing at me, scorning my appearance like a scavenger,” Revote recalled, while holding a replica of the sword used by Mel Gibson in Braveheart. He knew from his American export broker that his custom-made products would be used in those movies.
Now, his Revote Enterprises ships an average of 700 to 1,000 custom-made swords to the US every month. A Gandalf sword costs $300. It takes the Revote Enterprises, now with about 75 workers, at least three days to finish a Gandalf sword.
“Swords, knives and armor are favorites of some interior decorators. The swords and knives displayed in the house of Fernando Poe Jr. came from here,” he said, adding that he also drew inspiration from Poe’s Ang Panday in designing his world-class swords.
Revote said the original Flavio (Poe’s main character in Ang Panday) was Servillano Revote, his deceased father. He said his father started as a vaciador, going from house-to-house in their hometown Pozzorubio, Pangasinan, sharpening scissors using the pedal stone grinder, and calling for customers by shouting at the top of his lungs, “Ha-sa! Ha-sa!”
“Out of necessity, because he was sending us his children to college, he learned knife-making the crude way, using metal scraps for the blade and carabao horn for the handle,” he said. Among Servillano’s eight children—six females and two males—only Rodrigo, who graduated with a mechanical engineering course from Feati University in Manila, inherited and applied the skills—also by sheer necessity.
His family was broke when they moved from Pangasinan to his wife’s, Irene, hometown in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, in 1985, with their two children. They tried putting up a piggery from a loan from relatives, but it failed. “Kahit P100 walang magpautang sa amin noon, he recounted.
His innate creativity helped a lot. He spent his time collecting metal scraps from neighbor’s automotive shops and shaping them to “something that could be useful in the future.”
One time, he recalled, he found a four-inch nail which he forged into a kitchen knife. From it, inspired by the memory of his father’s perseverance, an idea flashed in his mind. “I, too, could do it,” he said to himself. When Pinatubo erupted, he conceptualized some souvenir knives, whose handle he crafted from ‘lahar’. It sold like the proverbial hot cake. I just labeled it with something like ‘Pinatubo knife’ and it clicked,” he recalled.
Some servicemen-friends in Clark Air Base, where he worked briefly as a mechanical engineer, suggested that he export his products to the United States—and later helped him to do so. There, somebody whom he refused to name introduced his knife and sword designs to a production designer in Hollywood.
Revote has more than 300 sword and knife designs. The longest
sword he crafted is the two-meter landesknetchte used by German
by warriors in the 14th century.
Revote’s advice during the time when the country is in economic
“Pick up every scrap on the ground. They could make you survive”.