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Antiquarian Omeng Esguerra Dies At 75

Osmundo Esguerra, or “Omeng” (1940-2017) to his relatives and friends, was known for his stellar woodcraft and excellent restoration of antiques. Omeng recently died at 75 years of age.

Why was Omeng's work so popular?

Despite having no technical knowledge in antiques, Omeng became popular in wood turning. In this method, a wood is shaped by a tool while it's is being rotated by a machine.

He learned wood turning through personal experimentation. He was also member of International Wood Collectors’ Society based in the United States.

 

What makes Omeng’s work really Filipino is that he used narra, kamagong, and amboyna, which are good for both form and function. Omeng was also an active member of Camera Club of the Philippines where he served as Vice President (1998) and Director (1981 and 1978). His deep interest in photography developed as he took photos of his wooden creations.

Omeng displayed his photographs at Sonny Camarillo’s photobooth at the Makati Commercial Center. Sonny and Omeng shared common musings and interests in photography.

A glimpse into his humble beginnings

All Omeng had was his elementary school diploma. In the 1960's, Omeng worked as an assitant janitor where he earned enough money to buy a cart and sell cigarettes.

He had various customers buying cigarettes on the corner of Makati Avenue and Pasay Road. He was inspired by the antique sellers who frequented his stall and eventually started buying and furnishing antiques himself.  The folks from Makati’s gated villages began noticing him. Omeng met an agent who vacationed in his province and introduced him to some Europeans and aviation professionals.

Omeng put up Osmundo Gallery in 1980 at the Manila Garden Hotel which is now Dusit Thani. There, he placed importance on the restoration of antiques that people brought to his gallery. Eventually, he was able to produce his fabled creations. 

In 1986, he had an exhibit in Peninsula Manila and all his antiques were sold.  Last 2015, Soumak Projects published 'Osmundo Esguerra: Turned Wood Burl', which features Omeng’s distinctive craft and specialization in wooden bowls.

 

Omeng will always be a reminder that small beginnings can lead to great success.

The Metro.Style team sends its deepest condolences to Omeng’s loved ones and friends.