Manananggal flash drives and 6 awesome Albay products
MANILA, Philippines – What is it with indigenous materials? They always end up as charming products. Whether woven, molded, quilted, or braided, they always have that irresistible appeal.
Could it be the distinct qualities that every native material possesses, or their innovative features, perhaps? Could it be the labor that is wholeheartedly poured into these handicrafts, or all of these combined?
We, lovers of native goods, may admit to having different reasons for bringing them home. But one thing is for sure – they make for collectibles that are conversation-starters, and they’re always functional.
With Filipino native products showcased in this year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, wouldn't it be fitting to highlight some local products that have already made it to the international market and a few more potential gift inspirations?
In Albay, for instance, abaca products have gone a long but not-so-easy way. From raw abaca products like ropes, its uses get beyond that, after it was replaced by synthetic oil-based fiber for cordage materials. Thus, the birth of abaca-based products for various industry uses like those enumerated below.
Mythical plush toys
Meanwhile, Encantures has found their way to the gift-giving season just in time. A collaboration between designer and illustrator Pen Prestado and social entrepreneur Paul Orpiada, these two Nagaenos have put a twist to some of the Philippine mythical creatures through manananggal flash drives, bakunawa plush toys, and daligmata coin purses.
According to Prestado, these also benefit the inmates in Naga, Bicol as they help in design innovation. As such, it aids them financially and boosts their mental health as well.
More importantly, it aims "to reintroduce our mythical creatures to the youth. Embrace them as part of their lives and look at them in a new light, and not get scared anymore than necessary."
Abaca window sunshades are basically a blend of several types of twine, meticulously interwoven to bring out its natural beauty for this one-of-a-kind textured drapery. Their patterns and colors are inherent to the type of abaca fibers used, the treatment they've undergone and the applied creativity.
This tropical interior accessory is manufactured by SIMOR in Albay whose original product is abaca wall covering. A customer, who showed the company a sunshine shield made of sea grass, approached the company to see if it can make one in abaca. The rest, as they say, is history.
SIMOR's fine, eco-friendly and all natural shades and coverings have graced the most luxurious houses and penthouses in New York, shopping hubs in California, casinos in Las Vegas and other exclusive homes and offices in the US.
Who wouldn't notice these area rugs when they carry a combination of attributes that hardly ever get ignored – twisted and bold! But don't let the look of these area rugs deceive you for they feel soft yet sturdy. Those and the modern patterns they carry make them the signature organic underfoot you would want to add to a casual room for a warmer, classier look.
The Natural Carpet Industries in Camalig, Albay has Crate & Barrel, a 170+ furniture and houseware store chain in Illinois, as its biggest and regular client abroad.
Functional and decorative – that's what abaca storage containers are. They may be sometimes colorful, sometimes monochromatic and sometimes duotone, but all are reliable in form and in function.
One local manufacturer in Albay that thrives for making this product is Globeasia Nature Industries. All it took for its general manager Gloria Escaro to embrace her potential in this industry is the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Naga’s support. Encouragement from customers eventually pushed her to offer a wide range of new items, from greeting cards to abaca baskets, and more. Her exported products found their way to Europe, Japan, USA, and the Middle East.
There are also upcoming products, as well as existing ones, that have the potential to be patronized for their distinctive uses.
Diffuse lampshades with a warm yellow glow can help eliminate eyestrain from your PC. Use a small wattage bulb with pleasant light as an indirect light source around your desk display.
At PhilCeramics (Philippine Ceramics Arts and Crafts Center) in Putsan, Tiwi, terracotta and glazed lampshades come with covers that are carved with crescent moons and stars. When lit, the same shapes glow in the dark.
Abaca fiber has been used in making barong and baro't saya, along with banana and pineapple leaf fibers. These wardrobe pieces keep on getting re-invented as it keeps pace with international fashion. Now the pinukpok abaca fiber that Albayano designers use extends its garment varieties into gowns and casual wears.
The gift-giving tradition this holiday season is fast approaching. If you're into ingenious and functional items, these – and those many more featured in Albay's catalog of abaca products – can qualify for that. What is an additional charge for shipment, or travel or reseller price, but our own little efforts to support local industries, right? – Rappler.com
Mavic Conde is a web content writer based in Bicol. She travels to tell stories about the joys of journeying, interesting cultures and places, and unique personalities. Recently, she joined Bicolandia magazine, a local publication that aims to promote tourism in Bicol.