THE TOWN THAT GAVE THE WORLD THE YO-YO
It is common knowledge that the yo-yo, a most popular international toy, was invented in the Philippines - but where exactly in the Philippines? In Paete, most likely, because it has always been known for its fine wood products. In Paete, most definitely, because we have it written down in our history. Dr. Eugenio Quesada (1880-1965), the pharmacist-inventor of fountain-pen ink marketed by Parker Pens under the trademark "Quink", writes in his book, PAETE (Author's Publication, 1956, p. 24):
Even the very toys during the early days, which are no longer made at the present time, were noted for their novelty and artistic finesse. Take the yo-yo, which was invented and first made in Paete; and the paper jumping jack which was said to be a toy of our grandfathers. At that time, 1890, no one of us had been abroad because transportation was extremely difficult and yet these (yo-yos and jumping jacks) were so perfectly mechanized and so well polished and painted at home that they looked as if they were imported from Paris..
Another famous toy made in Paete is the "taka" or papier mache in the shape of people and animals (chickens, horses and carabaos, mostly.) Of taka, Quesada writes:
In Paete we likewise had woodcarvings of figures of animals, carts and men or women. The carvings were molded in paper and paste, dried out in the sun, then the molds were surgically taken out of its cast. The product were then put together again, dried another time and painted brightly to be sold as toys.
The taka is perhaps not altogether Filipino. It is the belief of Paetenians that the idea originated in Mexico, and with good evidence: Taka is much like the Mexican "pinata", except that it is painted instead of decorated with cut-out colored paper. And taka is much smaller - small enough for little girls to use them as dolls.
In the early 1970s, taka came of age. Exported to Germany as souvenir mascots for the 1974 Olympic Games, the taka then assumed many more shapes and colors, such as the golden cherubs and reindeers that are now sold in the tonier European and U.S. shops as Christmas ornaments. A filmmaker from the neighboring town of Pangil, who goes under the nom de plume of "Kidlat Tahimik" (Silent Lightning), made a cult movie of Paete's taka industry which was distributed by Francis Ford Coppola and shown in American movie art houses and PBS channels. The movie is entitled, "Turumba", named after a celebration in Paete's next-door neighbor town of Pakil
BACK TO THE PAETENIANS HOME ON THE NET