Raymundo “Mundo” Gaspar – Awardee 2008
Raymundo “Mundo” Gaspar, the man who is receiving special recognition for his outstanding contribution to the enrichment of our Ilocos Norte cultural heritage, was born on March 15, 1925, in a small farming community of Cabungaan, Laoag City.
Life was simple then, but young Mundo was a boy full of energy who enjoyed having fun outdoors with his friends. He attended the Zamboanga Elementary School. Although he only finished the third grade, life had other things to offer outside formal education. He started tinkering with carpentry tools and quickly became good in carpentry work with the guidance of men in the neighborhood skilled in the trade. He was a teenager when World War II broke out and today he can tell stories of hardships and horrors during the Japanese occupation. He married a young lass named Magdalena Gaoiran with whom they had eight children. His wife is now deceased.
Like the proverbial Jack-of-all-trade, the enterprising man ventured different lines of work and businesses. He tried designing carts, built capiz windows, repaired farming machineries such as dadapilan and coconut scrapper, and then started repairing calesas. When he finally owned a calesa, he did all the maintenance and repair. The idea of building a calesa hit him and using his own calesa as a model, he completed his first master piece in 1960. Because of the fine workmanship of the calesas he built he soon had a continuous flow of orders that he lost count of how many calesas he has built.
Today calesas are still a great part of the local scene in Ilocos Norte. Other vehicles from pedicab to Mercedes have come and gone but the horse-drawn calesa, providing taxi service, has survived their competition.
It is not without sadness that to Tata Mundo the future of the calesa is uncertain. It is his wish that the calesas will not dwindle, fade away and be just a memory. Whatever the future is, the calesa will always be a treasured legacy of Tata Mundo to our Ilocano cultural heritage.