Finishing our A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs series, let’s turn our attention to the yummy treat called yema.
Souvenirs can be items that bear the unwritten trademark of a place. It’s a little bit like remembering Japan when you see sushi or Russia when you see fur hats. Nearing the finish line for our A Ba Ka of the Philippine Souvenirs series, let’s look at Walis. Wa for Walis It doesn’t matter where you are in the Philippines, as long as you are in one of the handicraft areas or dry goods part of the market, you are sure to find a store selling some walis. In English, “walis” translates to “broom.” Yes, the thing we use to sweep the floor is a souvenir. The popularity of brooms as souvenirs from the Philippines can be seen throughout social media and documented in many news reports. There are two types of common brooms in the Philippines. One is made of a bundle of sturdy palm leaf ribs, known to locals as “walis ting-ting,” and the other is a fan-shaped soft broom made of common reed, known as “walis tambo.” The latter makes a perfect …
Often, souvenirs are a way to make a statement, an advertisement, or an invitation for more people to come over and visit. At times it is like a preview of what we could expect once we get there.
Aside from being a decorative piece, souvenirs can also be functional. Come to think of it, most of the time, these are everyday items used by the locals of the places we visit.
Souvenirs can be about the innovation and ingenuity of the crafters behind each creative piece. It is entirely possible to come up with a whole line of products from just one type of raw material. Issue number 11 of the A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs series focuses on the various souvenir items made out of the hard shell of a coconut.
Issue “I” for the A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs series is about a food item available in most parts of the Philippines — so these are somewhat a staple to the country.
“Gitara” is the Filipino term for guitar. During the country‘s Spanish era, the friars brought over their guitars from Spain and introduced the instrument as “kitara,” which is the Spanish term for guitar, to the Island of Mactan.
Most souvenirs have a certain character, story, and swag to it. These souvenirs not only remind you of the places you visit but also give you a glimpse of the rich culture and history that made it such a visit-worthy place. E for Espada Our fifth installment for the A Ba Ka of Philippine Souvenirs series is a showcase of Espadas (swords) forged to protect the city it represents. No, locals are not selling swords willy-nilly! These are representations of the real deal. Espada is the Tagalog word for “sword”. It is one of the many Portuguese words that the nation has embedded in their language. The use of espadas in the Philippines as a weapon has long been shelved. However, some use espadas in their ceremonies as a symbolic element. As with ceremonies, espadas playing the role of souvenirs also stand as a reminder or representation for what has been. (I was so tempted to write, “representation of what went down.”) Whenever you visit Mindanao, head on over to their handicraft stores and marketplaces …
The great thing about souvenirs is that culture is etched, woven, carved, or maybe dyed into vernacular materials, turning everyday items into must-have collectibles.
The abaniko as a souvenir is practical, lightweight, useful, and affordable. It is no wonder why tourists would always take a bunch of the hand-crafted woven fans home with them. As some tourists would probably keep one piece for their souvenir collection, others would choose the abaniko as a “coming home” present (or “pasalubong”, as Filipinos call it) for their friends and families.