Excerpt from The Early Years: Homero
Homero is the 2nd of 7 children of Urbano and Herminia Eustaquio, the couple who lived at the heart of Marikina.
It was midday. The sun was up and there were very little clouds. Even in the cool shades of the municipality hall, the heat was merciless in this part of town. There was no public office that day. There were no townsfolk rushing to get their affairs in order. There were no government workers slaving behind the counters. The municipality hall was quiet and empty, all except for the security guard eating “matshakaw” and sipping cola during his break, and a painter and his son painting letters on one of the walls.
The boy was small, about eleven or twelve. He watched his father painstakingly outline the letters that spelled “Vote For Congressman” that took his father the whole morning to paint. After a quick lunch of tilapia fish and steamed white rice from the eatery across the street, the father and his son returned to work to fill out the outlines with black paint. His father's hands were calloused and creased. His palms felt thick and his fingernails were never without some streak of leftover paint. His father was old, but his eyes were sharp with details and his hands were skilled with the brushes.
The boy admired his father's work, often going with him to help paint letterings or create political posters for elections. At a young age, the boy knew that he would follow in his father's footsteps somehow. But as he watched his father make out the words on the wall and paint the same letters over and over again, he thought there must be some other way to get the job done faster.
One day, he gathered some scrap wood, nails and his mother's old stockings. That day, he experimented with his first silkscreen template. It was 1968, a time when graphic design and advertising in the Philippines were in its infancy years.
Homero (H): Sa murang edad, na-expose ako sa printing dahil sa tatay ko. Grade 6 ako noon. Nag-aaral ako sa Malanday Elementary School.
H: Gumagawa kami ng tatay ko ng mga lettering para sa posters at signages sa backyard printing namin. Sa Roosevelt College naman, tinulungan ko ang tatay ko na gumawa ng stage design. Gumagawa din kami ng designs para sa mga karosa kapag may mga float contest ang U-TEX.
H: Kapag nagle-lettering kami noon, mano-mano, puro kamay, kaya madumi. Ang ginawa ko, gumawa ako ng stencil ng silk screen para mapabilis ang trabaho namin. Ang una kong ginamitan ng silkscreen template ay yung campaign posters ng isang politician sa San Juan, Rizal. Bumilis ang trabaho kaya mas marami kami naging kliyente.
In the years that followed, the father and son duo would use that silkscreen prototype to paint letters, make posters and other point-of-purchase materials. In the future, that little boy would use the same printing technique, of course adapting to new technologies, on stickers, paper bags, posters and even temporary car plates.