Mang Narding, a sharpener.
Mang Narding has been plying his craft along the sidewalks of Tacloban for over 30 years. Having come from Batangas a long time ago, he earns a living by sharpening nippers and nail pushers for local manicurists who need to have their tools in top shape.
When there weren’t many beauty parlors many, many years ago, craftsmen like Mang Narding had to go house to house with a contraption that looked like a bicycle with the pedals turning the grindstone mounted on where the handle-bar of a bike would be. They will grind just about anything, from household knives to cleavers and even axes. They were a sight to see and we did swarm around them when we were kids, mesmerized by the sparks that fly from the metal and grindstone.
Today, Mang Nestor doesn’t have to go around anymore but rather waits for his regular customers to come and bring their tools to him for sharpening. He has a workbench with an electric motor turning the three grindstones, sitting comfortably on a sidewalk away from the sun and rain. To ensure that his customers are satisfied with his work, he tests the edges of the nippers by making cuts on his palm. These cuts heal in a week, but bloodless as they may be, he does not take any day off, so both his hands are perpetually in the healing process. He still says that the “mobile” grinding contraption is still around and being used by a relative during market days in other towns and I hope that I will have the chance to see it in action in one of my photo walks.