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The Road to Adventure

A NEW WAY OF LIFE

Early in 1988, Lindsay Truman, founder and Managing Director of Mountain Province, decided it was time for a change from his life as an architectural designer. Dealing in the domestic construction industry in Australia had lost itís appeal and the travel bug had bitten deep into his soul

After years of travel experience, now was the chance to finally investigate the possibility of making a living from what had been learned in those previous years.

Having a natural flair for interior as well as exterior design, it was decided to pursue the idea of importing, with the initial intention of retailing, unusual, hand made furnishings, furniture, handicrafts and tribal artifacts from the Far East - Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, China, India and Nepal. The road to enlightenment was a long and an expensive one, with many valuable (albeit costly) lessons learnt along the way.

It was decided that the Philippines, with itís colourful history of tribal warfare, Spanish Colonization, uprisings and revolutions, Americanisation in the early 20th century, Japanese invasion and occupation during the Second World War and Independence through adversity, had the necessary raw materials and reliable supply of high quality antiques , traditional furnishings and tribal artefacts required to sustain an interesting and profitable business.

The concept of keeping the business compact and hands on - every piece hand chosen and personally sourced- has stood the test of time , with thousands of satisfied repeat customers supporting this thriving business. In 1988, availability of antiques and traditional furniture from exotic locations was not the "norm" and bringing such specialty items into a marketplace flooded with locally produced items was a gamble that has earned the success it sees today.

" I remember getting off the plane and walking from the arrival hall at Nino Aquino International Airport in Manila in 1988. I was surrounded by so many individuals carrying sawn-off shotguns, side arms and a variety of other assault weapons that I thought I must have arrived in the middle of a war-zone. My first trip involved very little purchasing and was meant purely as an exploration of the opportunities that the Philippines had to offer. If Iíd realised the daunting task ahead, I probably would have chosen to get right back on that plane and head home. However, it was the adventure Iíd come for and I wasnít about to let a few guns get in the way. So after meeting up with my connection in Manila, we headed off in search of the extreme, the unusual and the unattainable.

The Northern Philippines is difficult region to navigate at the best of times, but I had arrived in the height of the rainy season and unbeknownst to me, the whole of the lowlands were subject to severe flooding. The highlands and mountainous regions do not escape unscathed either and are prone to the ravages of landslides and earthquakes.

To the north of Manila is a province called Pampanga which nestles in the shadow of the now infamous Mount Pinatubo, which erupted with devastating fury in 1991. The flooding in this region is notorious and the roads within are flat and slow. However, I canít complain about the service! While trapped on the roof of our stranded bus in a torrential downpour of Biblical proportions, surrounded by a swirling ocean of muddy water, we were served by the passing parade of floating street vendors selling everything from local delicacies to icy cold Coke. And a lift to the next piece of high ground was great value at only 25 pisos (about $1).

Further north, in a province called Ilocos Norte, outside a place called Loaog City and travelling with a friend of my guide in an armour plated vehicle, owned by the Vice Governor of the region, we had the great misfortune to happen upon a group of NPA (New Peoplesí Army), enjoying a leisurely cigarette and planning an ambush. The sound of live ammunition richocheting off the body panels and windows of a car can be likened to that of golf balls off a tin shed and I have to say that itís a sound I have been grateful not to have had any future experience with.

Subsequent trips have shown it to be unnecessary to put life and limb at risk and the employment of locals for retrievals in the more dangerous areas has proven the most effective way of staying healthy and hole-free.

The Mountain Province is a region in the central north of Luzon, the main northern island of the Philippines, and is accessible only by road during the drier monthís of the year. Itís isolation proved to be downfall of the Spanish during the years of colonisation and even today enjoyís very little influence from western cultures. The Igorot (indigenous) people of the region still produce, today, items representative of their culture and are prepared to Ďtradeí with a few trusted visitors to their territories and I am grateful to count myself in that minority. I am ever conscious of their heritage and make every effort to respect their culture by not contaminating it with the influences of modern society.

With such a wide variety of unique furnishings and artefacts within reasonable proximity to this Province I decided to base my operation here and the name of the company was chosen to reflect the origins of the product, hence "Mountain Province" was born."

Lindsay travels to the Philippines frequently, monitoring the operation which now sees the employment of many locals whose roles include the retrieval, restoration, storage , packing and shipping of goods throughout the world. Although no longer concentrating on retail in Australia, he now exports containers to Europe, the USA and Canada and has provided information here to allow others to join his team of enthusiastic distributors throughout the world. Those with an interest can contact him on 617 3379 3039, or his email address is ltruman@logicworld.com.au

"Weíve come a long way since those adventurous days of the eighties but although the roads travelled have become somewhat smoother, the excitement is not diminished and the horizons have broadened just as the marketplace has developed a taste for the individual qualities of the hand made furnishings made available through " Mountain Province ".




More about Mountain Province and The Furniture

Mountain Province Antiques and Artefacts
Quality control and images of hand crafted furniture
Mountain Province- The Road to Adventure
Newsletter- "A Glamorous Life" , and more images of furniture and the Mountain Province
JOIN MOUNTAIN PROVINCE'S TEAM NOW!
Distributors required for opportunity of a lifetime
Mountain Province - Images
Images of Furniture, Statues,People and Places
Devastion of an Earthquake
Images of the destruction caused by the Earthquake of 1990
Stock Images
Some more sample images of stock
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