Manang Nena Masferre dies at 94
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – She was a familiar sight on some Sagada locals' walk to town. She would be seen at a house near the junction towards Bokong Falls in the morning. One of the main doors was open as she had her sunbathing.
There is a sign, "Masferre Photographs," at the side but the tourists never know what's inside. The gate was often locked but one can talk to her. She can carry a casual conversation with anyone in English about the weather and a bit of Sagada. Then she would close the door and life goes on.
Nena Bansiong Ogues was widely known as the wife of Filipino-Catalan Eduardo Masferre, who is regarded as the Father of Philippine photography. They married in 1951; Nena was much younger than Eduardo. And as he left home often to take pictures of the vanishing old Cordillera, she stayed put and raised their family.
Eduardo died in 1995 and Nena preferred to stay inside the studio.
It's only now that stories are coming out about her. There were even reports she was writing her memoir.
The few things we knew about her was that she was a nurse from Kapangan, Benguet. It is only now that we learned that she volunteered for the 66th Infantry to spy on the Japanese.
"She eventually trained as medics and joined the Hospital Company of the 66th Infantry in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, after the Leyte Landing in 1944," said the Nowhere Yet Everywhere: Untold Stories of the 66th Infantry Regiment.
In 1950, Eduardo asked for her hand in marriage but she was also awarded a scholarship to the United States. He told her he would be a great photographer and she was smitten.
She helped out in the studio, doing darkroom duties like hand-coloring. It would be intriguing to discover if she took photos herself but that we didn't know.
Manang Nena died last week. She was 94. The door to "Masferre Photographs" had been shut like an abandoned camera. – Rappler.com