Are you tired of the usual souvenirs like keychains and refrigerator magnets from your travels? Why don’t you veer your attention toward local handmade crafts instead? You can use these to give character to your home and let it tell the story of your travels while reliving the country’s indigenous culture in your own space.
Ready to shop local? Here are products you can get:
1. T’nalak fabric
The extraordinary designs of the T’nalak fabric come not from patterned templates but are believed to come to the weavers through their dreams or those of their ancestors. In fact, the late Lang Dulay, known as “The Dreamweaver,” first started weaving T’nalak fabric when she was 12 years old. She has been awarded the “Gawad ng Manlilikha ng Bayan” for the legacy she left to the T’bolis in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
The T’nalak fabric is made of abaca fiber and can be completed in several months depending on its size and pattern. A T’nalak fabric can be used at home as a table runner or tapestry that can adorn a blank wall. An intricately patterned T’nalak fabric can even make a captivating focal point in your space. You can purchase or learn more about the T’nalak here.
2. Bul-ol statues
The bul-ol statues are carved images of the rice gods of the Ifugaos. Usually made in pairs, the bul-ols represent wealth, happiness, and well-being. This anito figure is believed to protect the fields and rice granary from man-made and natural elements.
If you want a bul-ol for your home, you don’t have to go all the way to the province of Ifugao up in the Cordilleras. You can find one in Baguio City in Benguet, which is also part of the Cordillera Administrative Region. Visit PNKY Vintage Collection at Baguio Country Club and Sabado’s at Outlook Drive, Baguio City to get hold of these. While bul-ol sculptures can make for excellent conversation pieces, don’t forget to talk about what the bul-ols are originally for with your guests at home.
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Headed to provinces in the Ilocos region? Don’t forget to bring home inabel (from the Ilocano word “abel,” which refers to the practice of weaving local cloth). Inabel is made by hand using a traditional loom. The combination of lines forms intricate patterns that give character to the cloth.
Inabel can be made into warm blankets, table runners, or placemats. And because the fabric is durable, you’ll find yourself using inabel for a long time. You can buy this fabric at Aleli Joy’s Inabel or in stalls along Calle Crisologo in Vigan. You can also get inabel in Manila at Union Crafts at Zeta Building, 191 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City.
4. Tikog mat
In lieu of a fuzzy area rug, why don’t you try using a tikog mat? These are made by weavers from Basey, Samar using local sea grass. Aside from the beautiful patterns and craftsmanship, the use of vibrant colors makes the tikog mats a standout piece in your home. They can instantly add color to an all-neutral space or warmth and texture to modern interiors. Tikog weaving can also yield other crafts like bags, pouches, throw pillows, and other novelty items. If you want a tikog mat but can’t travel to Basey, Samar just yet, you can buy one at Alon Island.
5. Hinabol fabric
Cap your trip to Iloilo by taking home a yard or two of hinabol fabric. Hinabol in Iloilo refers to fabric that is handwoven using banana fibers (jusi) or pineapple fibers (pina). Hinabol fabric can also be found in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, as it is the traditional fabric woven by the Higaonons.
Hinabol can be used to make fashion and home items like blinds, placemats, and bags. Patterns and colors vary, but just like the T’nalak and Inabel, the finely woven fibers of Hinabol are proof of the amount of time and creativity that the weavers poured into making it.