One gets a flower and another gets mama or momma.
Garbed in a dressing gown, Kiki Crunch, Francis Lopez’s vocal alter-ego, just received a flower from a policeman, while Jason “Mama” (or Momma) Dumling, this time not in g-strings, gets a dose of his favorite chewable right across.
They are the more recognizable figures now at Carantes Street, once the home of jeepneys bound for Camp 8 and 7, as well as Poliwes and San Vicente. It was also were cheap bars offering a shot of gin for the older people can be found and for young kids, the Fun House.
The 100-meter stretch wedged between the Perfecto and Mabini Streets that once housed a PCI Bank branch within the old DBP building and Cuevas bakery at the other end is partly dedicated now to visual arts.
Venazir Martinez is doing what she does best, bring life to empty walls with lively human figures, of locals in their native attires. This time her work includes Kiki Crunch, Lopez’s alter-ego, who is now one of the top advocates of LGBTQ+ in the city. Her canvas is the wall of the KFC within the new DBP building.
Martinez’s work comprises of children, some in g-strings, some in shorts and shirt, climbing a pole and one already claiming the prize. This is palosebo which a traditional Filipino game where children get to climb a slippery pole and whoever makes it to the top can claim the price, usually money.
And right across is Dumling in the act of garnishing his momma which “he bought” from a sari-sari store owned by an elderly woman. Blas Pagadian with his brush is bringing “to life” Dumling, who some years back was not allowed to enter a McDonald store in Makati for being in g-strings. Pagadian recently finished an old woman-vendor selling herbs just a few meters from Dumling’s figure.
Pagadian’s canvas is the wall of the Tiong San Harrison, the tallest building, which was the Rice Bowl Restaurant building. His earlier work was painted on the shortest of the three Tiong San buildings which was the former Baguio Fun House, the video (pinball) machine shop that replaced an old hotel in the late 70s and were young boys go to.
After the 1990 earthquake, the fun house was demolished and a building was constructed, the first floor was the Prudential Bank. The building is now part of the Tiong San Harrison complex.
There are now newsboys, shoeshine boys and vendors selling balloons, dirty ice cream or sorbetes, peanuts and mango that adorn the wall.
Selling newspapers, shoeshine works and other menial tasks like washing cars and carrying market bags (convoy) were the usual weekend jobs for young boys before. Money earned on Saturday was for movies and snacks, while the Sunday income is for school allowance for the coming week. The long summer could mean more earnings that can be used to buy clothes, shoes and even school supplies for these young boys engaged in such economic activities.
The works are done by 23 Sampaguita Artists Collective which just finished and launched last December 11 the Heroes Mural near the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. The Sining Eskinita at Carantes Street, meanwhile, will be launched on December 18, the project’s Facebook page announced.
The said Facebook page added: “We have lots of cute surprises at Carantes.”
“Venazir leads the Carantes project, while Silvino (Dulnuan) and company do the Heroes mural,” said Lopez, a member of the 23 Sampaguita.
Tiong San Harrison has recently unveiled the refurbished Kilometer Zero park across where Martinez and company are painting. And now the Tiong San branch owned by Mia Lao provides support for the artists as well as Davies Paints which provided also the material for the Heroes Frontliners Mural project.