Last 9 april 2010, a couple of violinists decided to invade Mr. Angel Gabute’s workshop to have their violins checked and repaired, myself included. it ended up having mine “confined” in his “clinic” because LJ was too sick. 😦
looking for his workshop was an adventure, too! good thing carl had a car. after fetching the other 3 fiddlers (marc, clay, and ron), they picked me up from PHILCOA at 10AM in front of McDonald’s and we were on our way to Caloocan. from carl’s communication with mang angel, our landmark would be Precinct 12 — a police outpost near his workshop, no directions, no maps. just a street address of the workshop and that landmark.
i checked my phone (good thing i had Google maps installed) and started browsing for directions. but all Google had was until Malaria street and another major road! (yes, there’s a street called Malaria in Caloocan! LOL). from there, we started asking people along the road. we asked one lady about San Isidro, Tala, Caloocan and said “malapit lang yun!” but later realized a Filipino’s idea of “malapit” differs from place to place, not to mention it being relative on its own.
and finally, after a couple of more stops to ask for directions, we finally found Precinct 12! and the Gabute workshop! my only mistake was i didn’t take photos as we were traveling and taking pictures of other landmarks and not taking ‘coordinates’ through my phone. otherwise, i could have contributed to other people who’d like to go to his workshop but have no cars and taxi fare would be expensive.
once we got inside the shop, syempre manghang-mangha kami sa nakita namen. all the different tools, lots of violin parts, old and new, some violins for restoration were being air-dried while most of them were in their cases in one corner of the shop. while we were controlling our excitement and started to settle down, Mang Angel gave us a preview of his ‘regulars’ — one Suzuki violin from the CCP. i think we were too awe-struck and nervous that we forgot (or we didn’t think about) asking if we could play them just to listen how they sound and respond. or perhaps that was a blessing — so we won’t get depressed upon realizing how horrible our violins were.
after the great treat we got, he started to work on our violins, asking what the problems were and what were to be done. being the nosy kind, we stayed around and watched. madami din pala siyang kuwento. 😀 hehe… but then again, we realized we arrived 11:30 AM. almost lunch time. so by 1PM, we apologized for being insensitive and left for SM Fairview and got back by 5PM. He did say that working on these instruments require concentration and perhaps the quiet and absence of probing eyes helped him do his craft well.
after some cooling-off at SM Fairview, we drove back to the workshop. it took us about 30 mins, i think. when we got there, he was just working on clay’s violin. apparently, another group came to his workshop to have their violins setup and stringed (or is it strung?) as well. of course, i imagine them being their ‘suki’ and they got priority and we understood. nevertheless, we were happy only 2 violins were left for inspection: my LJ and ron’s baroque violin. naaliw ng sobra si Mang Angel sa violin ni ron kasi nga naman, kakaiba. inlaid purfling sa fingerboard, beautiful varnish and a unique bow! he actually considered copying it and making one!
and finally, it was LJ’s turn. all i wanted for her was to have something new. something like an upgrade so i bought rosewood pegs for her and asked them to be fitted. also, since the A string was riding on the D peg, i asked how this could be corrected. Mang Angel wasn’t too gentle with the news but i welcomed his frank opinion. i had to leave LJ for some major operation… 😦 being the relatively cheap student violin that she is, LJ’s fingerboard had lowered to 18mm and the holes for the pegbox need to be moved. Mang Angel said that it was likely due to poor craftsmanship and so he had to correct it.
so with a heavy heart, we parted that evening. call it separation anxiety or just plain emo, i was more “lutang” during the drive home. he did say i could come back by friday or sunday to fetch her again. that was my only consolation. but i guess my mind can rest easy because i know she is in the good hands of a great luthier.
my only dilemma now is how do i get there without a car!?
see the quest photos on facebook. 🙂