Through the years, the Philippines has made a name for itself with its myriad of traditional crafts and age-old disciplines that transform natural materials into unique handcrafted creations. At Manila FAME, deeply-rooted tradition is once again brought to the forefront through live demonstrations of traditional Philippine crafts at the Crafts Spots.
This edition puts the spotlight on bamboo and its use as a source material for handicrafts. With the current global shift towards sustainable materials, bamboo is gaining popularity because of its versatility, durability, and sustainability.
Bamboo Basket Weaving
Manila FAME, the Design and Lifestyle Event, is back with its crowd favorite segment in this upcoming edition. Continuing to uncover the elegance of the artisanal process duly undertaken by each and every Philippine craftsman, the highly anticipated Craft Spots will once again provide live demonstrations of the thriving creativity and skill found in various parts of this country. This March, artisans will share their narratives with both local and foreign audiences—seeking to kindle their passion for Filipino tradition—through the specialty of wood manipulation using the iconic raw material, bamboo.
Not only is bamboo engraved in local culture as having multi-faceted uses in craft items and architecture, but the wood—once dubbed as poor man’s timber, is now gaining popularity worldwide with the current global trend shifting towards the use of sustainable materials for product development. We will be introduced to three different craft techniques transforming this raw material into outstanding eco-friendly creations, which are both intricate and durable.
Wood Shaving (Singkaban)
During a fiesta or grand celebration in the Philippines, it is common to find a decorative arch adorning the entrance of a town or barangay signifying the jovial mood of the people. This elaborate craftsmanship employs the skill of wood shaving—and in the case of the Bulakenyo—bamboo shaving, where the expertise extends to the creation of decorative patterns found in lanterns and topiaries on top of these vast entry arches called singkaban. The town of Malolos, Bulacan aptly celebrates this craft in honor of the patron saint of the province, Our Lady of Victory, in its annual Singkaban Festival.
Wood Carving (Lilok)
The people of Paete, Laguna in the southern part of Luzon and the Ifugao province up north share the skill of ukit or lilok, which pertains to traditional Filipino woodcarving. In the absence of good quality soft and hardwood, bamboo places a great alternative material for continuing the livelihood of these artisans, thus allowing the natural regeneration of forest resources as well. From this, local carvers are adept at creating ornate sculptures, dolls and a variety of curiosity pieces.
Weaving is crafted with a wide variety of materials, such as the local nito vine in buon-buon and the buri palm leaf in bay-ong sinuluyan, both of which are basket products commonly made by the Mangyan tribe of Mindoro. Blackened bamboo is also a viable option for these artisans specializing in weaving, along with the widely popular rattan. The people of Puerto Princesa, Palawan likewise employ the use of such materials in their basket products.
Catch all the local artisans display their craft in the 57th edition of Manila FAME on 14-17 March 2013 at the SMX Convention Center, Metro Manila, Philippines.