Rizal Park might be just another public park for most Filipinos, but for Edmundo Duyu, a 67-year-old photographer, this historical paradise is home.
“Dati po akong photographer dito tapos, lumipat ako sa travel agency. Pagka-retire ko, bumalik ako dito. Litratista, at the same time, ‘pag walang nakunan, sideline ‘yung pagtitinda ng panapin para may pagkakitaan.”
In the same year when Gloria Diaz was crowned as the Miss Universe, the CCP was inaugurated, and incumbent president Ferdinand Marcos won the elections for the second time, Edmundo discovered what Rizal Park has to offer.
“1969, nagsimula ako sa Rizal Park as photographer. Noong una, canvasser lang ako. Tapos, unti-unti akong natutong humawak ng camera.”
Four years after he officially became one of the photographers in Luneta, Edmundo met a Japanese who helped him step up his career.
“Nakilala ko ‘yung isang Japanese, kinuha ako dun sa kompanya niya. Una, tumutulong lang ako dun, wala pa akong sahod. Kalaunan, binigyan ako ng allowance. Bandang huli, kinuha na akong employee talaga. Airport coordinator ako. Tiga-kuha ng visa sa airport, check-in sa hotel, tapos out sa airport. Kasi yung grupo namin, sa mga Japanese. Pagkagaling sa Japan, pagdating dito overnight, kinabukasan, pupuntang Dumaguete. After nine days babalik dito, susunduin na naman sa airport, check in sa hotel, checheck out ko kinabukasan. ‘Pag wala kaming guests, ako tiga-lakad ng mga papeles, ng mga license, ng mga visa ng hapon sa immigration, sa city hall…‘yun. Naging liason officer ako.
Fast forward to 2012 when Edmundo reached his retirement age, he returned to Rizal Park to pick up where he left off. It might have taken him almost four decades to get his hands on his camera again, but he sure knows how to manipulate the device. When we took his photos, he even gave us some advice:
“Dapat wag ka gumamit ng mababang ISO, lagyan mo ng mataas. Kasi pag mataas ISO mo, bahala siyang mag adjust.”
Edmundo also learned how to speak Niponggo while working for the Japanese, so whenever the group of photographers needs to accommodate Japanese guests in Luneta, he would come to their rescue.
“Kung mayroon kaming guests na Japanese, ako yung humaharap dun sa mga Japanese. Ako lang medyo fluent magsalita ng Niponggo eh.”
Words by Airen Petalbert
Photos by John Mervin Borja