This mesa altar of balayong or tindalo wood is what is now generally known in the trade as mesa altar na tuwid because of its straight, usually tapering legs and, because of the pattern of interlocking circles on the aprons and the flanges, is locally called the ‘Olympic’ style, the interlocking circles being the logo of the International Olympic Games.
This piece stands on four straight legs tapering slightly towards the bottom. The front legs are bordered with line-inlay of lanite on either side of a series of ovals that are half inlaid with kamagong while the other half are inlaid with lanite. An eight-pointed sunburst composed of diamond-shaped lozenges half in kamagong and half in lanite decorate the upper part of the leg beneath the table top.
The altar table has straight aprons in front and at the sides, all carved with a pattern of interlocking circles. On either side of the front legs are flanges that taper towards the bottom and are also carved with interlocking circles of diminishing size. The side table had three drawers, a single wide one at the bottom and a pair of narrow ones above it. Each drawer has a turned kamagong drawer pull. The horizontal drawer supports and vertical dividers are inlaid with a most unusual and unique pattern of tiny lanite and kamagong diamond-shaped lozenges that create an effect of movement.
The drawer faces are line inlaid with lanite in a rectangular pattern with quadrant corners and a semicircle beneath each drawer pull. Kamagong strips embellish the vertical and horizontal sides of each pattern, while a sunburst pattern in kamagong and lanite decorates the middle of each drawer beneath the pull. The top of the mesa altar consists of a single balayong plank edged with a cymatium molding in front and at the sides.
-Martin I. Tinio, Jr.