Unique handmade home and office accessories add the right touch to an otherwise bland interior, and are perfect conversation starters. We found a bunch of world class selections in Puerto Princesa.
Handlooms have been in use by village folks and tribal artisans in Palawan for as long as they can remember. Today, hand woven products are in demand by tourists and the export industry.
Ms. Eva T. Gravador (in photo above), Proprietor of Binuatan Creations (www.binuatan.com), is the manufacturer of handloom woven products utilizing Palawan’s indigenous fibers and grasses that include placemats, table runners, window blinds and curtains.
Sleeping mats commonly known as “banig” have of late become collector’s items because of the intricate designs which are painstakingly made or reproduced by hand, sometimes at weeks per piece. They are used as wall decor, or on the floor in lieu of carpets, or as table centerpieces underneath glass tops.
Mrs. Ma. Nancy M. Socrates, owner of Subli Guest Cabins (www.sublipalawan.com) in Puerto Princesa, assisted by Ms. Reina Roselyn Escandor, has been marketing these mats for sometime now.
“Our cooperative (Recuerdo Credit Cooperative) has been selling these mats for more than a year now as part of our community development program, but not in bulk, but a few pieces at a time as each piece is handmade. We do not have a store or showroom and we usually just join special events, like the Salute to Valor, to promote them. These mats are made by Muslim women in the southern Municipality of Espanola. Production is in their own homes, but we are hoping that they will soon have a weaving center where they can all gather.”
”According to the weavers, they first gather the pandan leaves and remove the thorns and cut them into strips. Then the pandan leaves are boiled for about 10 minutes and soaked in water overnight. Soaking is sometimes done in the river. The pandan is then air-dried the following day, after which it is straightened out with brushing motions. It is then dried in the sun for 3 days. On the 4th day, coloring/dyeing is done. Then the pandan is air-dried once again, after which it is straightened out again with brushing motions. Then the weaving begins.”
”The weavers do not usually have a pattern. Their designs are spur-of-the-moment ideas. They always tell us that whatever their imagination gives them when they wake up, that’s what they make.”
Mrs. Socrates adds that the weavers determine the price – it’s per “dangkal” (arm’s length). Their prices tend to be a bit high, and the DTI actually already gave them some training on costing and measuring.
”As far as we know, there is no special story behind any of the mats. What is special, though, is that these mats are woven by Muslim women in Southern Palawan, whose culture is reflected in the vibrant colors of their products. Their color combinations and double-layered style distinguish them from mats produced by other weavers in Palawan.”
For orders, please contact Mrs. Socrates at 09178497838/ 09088926514.
Folk artisans have melded traditional materials with modern designs to come up with utilitarian pieces that are both practical yet aesthetically pleasing to a select clientele. The coffeetable below utilizes assorted seeds, shells, bone, pebbles and miniature collectibles to create a multilayered effect.
Asiano Arts and Crafts (www.asiano.ph) has two store locations – Puerto Princesa and Coron, Palawan. Jewelry, furniture, paintings, wood sculptures, hanging mobiles, wind chimes, and miniature woven rice baskets that take a week of precise work – cutting, dyeing and weaving young bamboo fibers done by an elderly woman are their main products, along with interior design services.
Twigs and found objects are utilized to create this one of a kind mirror.
Thousands of beads and shells form this exquisite wall decor, which could also double as a chandelier if layered from the inside.
These unique wall hangings incorporate assorted materials such as beads, seeds, shells, porcelain, carved miniatures and pods held together by twine.
Mr. Merwin Rey Ledesma of the Governor’s Office, Trade Fair Exhibitor Ms. Reina Escandor, Mr. Stephen Yee of the Palawan Tourism Council with DiscoverThePhilippines.com Managing Director Mr. Oliver Quingco II.
This coverage was made possible as a part of USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project which seeks to increase competitiveness of economic growth areas including Palawan, in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Province of Palawan.
Special thanks to Air Asia Zest Airlines for sponsoring our roundtrip airfare from Manila to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.