The Secret Wall

“You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off of you
You’d be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much…”

A serenade for these suspended inanimate objects? Sort of. Unluckily, it didn’t work that night of January 21, 2017 at Global Village, Dubai. Hahahaha…
Ergo, I had to go back with my niece Shane and her husband Jofel the next day which happened to be the end of my Dubai stay. 

“At long last love has arrived
And I thank God I’m alive
You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off of you…”

A continuation of my serenade? Try as I might, I failed. Those African masks were not for sale. And if they were, I couldn’t afford to buy them. This is what I discovered when we found the pavilion that represents Africa. 
Surrounded by indigenous products, I lingered and savored their loveliness until I purchased something which was not in my list of souvenirs to bring home.   
These two African masks may not look like those hanging masks which I tried “serenading,” yet possessing them brought the same radiance when I finished my marathon; got hold of original tunic blouses and ethnic accessories; donned an abaya while roaming the city; rode a camel; drove a quad bike on sand dunes; and ate an authentic mouthwatering shawarma in Dubai. 
This exceptional delight gave me a sudden urge to adorn a part of our wall with masks. You see masks, specifically tribal masks, have different symbolisms and functions. I believe that their presence in our house is not only for aesthetic reasons. Gazing at these masks evokes unexplainable emotions which allow me to undergo detachment. Indeed, this inclination was strong, but it was an ambitious plan which I immediately shelved after knowing that this product might only be available in antique shops and would cost me dear.
Surprisingly in 2019, I chanced upon three wooden masks at Carousell, one of the known online shops in the Philippines. I couldn’t believe that they’re just being sold for Php 600 ($12.60)! 
I easily acquired these African masks. Having them automatically revived my daring wall project. 
Last year, I had my sixth mask from a Japanese surplus store. 

Did I mind the little chip on its nose? I didn’t. Despite its imperfections, it’s still a looker. 

You might ask whether I had already mounted them on the wall after having the six masks. Well, not yet. These six masks had their temporary separate locations. I hung them on our bedroom door and cabinet which my husband disapproved of but couldn’t do anything about. Ha-ha. 
My dear readers, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Ssshhh. My husband doesn’t know about this undertaking. As this tweaked trite expression says “I’ll just cross the bridge when he finds out.” 😂
At this moment, I’m “partly” thankful to this quarantine which provided me the chance looking for the masks which would complete my object of desire. Last week of March I bought these Balinese masks from a male seller. I forgave him for not revealing all the issues despite the hush-hush price since these vintage masks have been uniquely handcrafted. 
May 1, this post from a kindred Las Piñera caught my attention.
I inquired about the origin, material and price. Knowing that this is Philippine-made (I thought otherwise but I’m always proud of Pinoy ingenuity), and the pair only costs Php 400 ($8.40), I settled it with Cora Jimenez on May 3. This is the same date when I saw these attention-grabbing Indonesian masks.
I contacted the seller, Cye Ballon, who patiently and amiably entertained all my queries and haggling despite being very late at night. Finalizing our transaction, I decided to send her Php 1,800 ($37.80) at once since I had a feeling that I was not the only one who’d be interested to buy her items. Now, call it pure luck. Miss Cye is also from Las Piñas! May 4, I scheduled a morning meet-up with Miss Cora and Miss Cye at Southmall which is accessible to us three. Both were charming and professionals. They also exuded good vibes and could carry a conversation. Really, I love their masks up-close! With a total of 13 masks, I was gung-ho to reach our house and realize my goal that day. After dinner, I requested one of my sons to help me with the layout. Drilling, hammering the plastic tox, screwing, and the rest were left to me.
Inspecting the wall, I clearly saw that one more mask was lacking to achieve balance in art. Hence, the search for another mask recommenced.
Now, let me focus the spotlight on this elaborately designed Bali wooden mask which was being sold for Php1,500 ($31.50) online first week of February. 
I contacted the seller right away, but our negotiation went pfft because he wouldn’t use LBC as his courier. He uses Lalamove which charges an exorbitant delivery fee from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. Interestingly, I would still see the same mask in stock. I ended my curiosity and communicated again with Jhayzon Gonzales on May 5. A very obliging and cordial person, he informed me that it was a new one. Well, I withheld a couple of questions upon learning that he’s selling it Php 300 ($6.30) less. And when I bargained with him due to its defects, he agreed to sell it to me for Php 1,000 ($21.00). Yass!!! I then sought his advice on how it could be delivered to my place at a lower freight rate. Jhayzon told me that his other customer from Las Piñas and I could split the amount. I was amenable. 
May 8, I received this while in a webinar. 

May 9, my wall project came to fruition. It was a very special gift to myself on Mother’s Day. 

The wall… four years in the making…I call it secret for now, but with the varied masks that embellish it, no unparagoned beauty must be hidden from the adoring eyes. My husband’s eyes included. 

Photo Credits:

Cye Ballon
Jhayzon Gonzales
Cora Jimenez

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