Bernadette De Los Santos a.k.a “Bidibidi.” Rinconada artist, farmer, philantropist . What a moniker. Reminds me of the sound Twiki (Buck Rogers of the 21st Century) makes everytime the midget robot pops off something.
She doesn’t actually know I exist and I believe we gatecrashed the place today supposedly to take a glimpse of Kristian Sendon Cordero’s still unfinished flick “Apocalypsis.” Turns out the lady artisan is more interesting than the movie and — eventually — I find it the place is larger than anything here.
It’s called Cafe des Artes. Artisan’s realm and the seat of visual arts exhibits in CamSur’s Rinconada area. One of those typical slowly vanishing colonial-era casas in the land (ought to be declared national heritage by now, IMHO). The house itself an allure: archaic exterior design, the prevalence of exquisite hardwood materials and, heads up, the claustrophobic low-hanging ceiling.
We entered through a mini courtyard that breathes of a pleasant bucolic ambience and immediately uncapped a bottle of that wicked Red Horse beer. This is one spot I would love to get drunk at. “We” refers to a bunch of Rinconada artists (Al Oliva, Frank Peñones Jr and so on).
Bidibidi was engaged with a bunch of guests at her workplace when we made it inside the house, so I took the opportunity to impolitely take photos of the place like freak. I always lose my courtesies everytime I am overwhelmed.
How come the place feels so right. That if I were in her place I would put everything in the same order, in the same harmony. For instance the cherry toned chandelier that compensates the low-hanging ceiling; a rustic entryway (left) also provides an excellent panel for the framed artworks. The BAAO signage (bottom left) seems like an old souvenir from the town’s whistle stop.
Across this gallery is another art wall which separates Bidibidi’s cave from the museum or.. the spotlight from the flourescent light. On the other side of the wall — adorning her craft room — is a network of boughs, Christmas lighting installation and a mesh of clashing colorful fabrics, and (now this is the Wall of Fame) a framed glory: a special feature of her from the Arts and Books section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer titled “Wild About Bidibidi’s Flowers.”
Whew. Like a boss.
I may have another opportunity to visit Bidibidi next time, an interview perhaps to fill out some gaps here. But what I really have in mind is to start a classic portrait shot of the craftswoman. For now I’m boasting this Cafe des Artes experience. Let me hear them say “Ah look he’s been there.”
Bidibidi’s casa-museo @Villa Esperanza, San Nicolas, Baao, Camarines Sur