When it comes to natural resources, the Philippines is a leader across the globe. Owing to its great location near the equator and surrounded by bodies of water, this archipelago has all sorts of riches from land, air and sea. These natural resources serve as great raw materials for different products, including handicrafts in the Philippines by region.
When you match great resources with the artistry of locals in this country, the result is great handicrafts in the Philippines. Because regions in the Philippines differ in terms of products and cultures, they also come up with different handicrafts that are all impressive in terms of quality and artistry. Each handicraft is made with simple tools or just simply with creative hands, so you can be sure that the product is a labor of love.
Traditional Handiwork in the Philippines by Region
Here are some handicrafts in the Philippines by region which you should definitely buy when visiting this captivating country.
1. Pots and Jars from the Ilocos Region
One of the most sought-after handicrafts in the Philippines by region is earthenware from the northwestern part of the country, also known as the Ilocos Region. The pots and jars known as “burnay” can specifically be found in the province of Ilocos Sur. Here, these products are made from Grade A clay through a technique that has been practiced by locals since the pre-colonial times.
The pots and jars are exquisitely made using only a potter’s skillful hand and a pottery wheel that, up to this day, is operated manually. The potter patiently molds the clay by rotating the pottery wheel using a foot. With the help of some white sand, the clay is tempered and then later on placing inside high-temperature ground kilns to solidify the product.
During the early times, these sturdy jars were simply used as storage spaces for salt, water, sugar and fermented fish. Now, however, these handicrafts from the Philippines have come a long way, being sold in the Europe as decorative pieces.
2. Woven fabrics from the regions of Mindanao
The southern regions of this Southeast Asian nation located on Mindanao island are also good sources of impressive handicrafts in the Philippines by region. This area, where most of the Muslim population of this country resides, boasts of fashionable woven fabrics with ethnic designs. These fabrics are woven in the traditional way, by interlacing threads using a manual machine called a loom. If you happen to visit the area, be sure to take home with you the colorful fabrics called “malong,” which is traditionally used as a skirt, but can also be used as a blanket.
Also check out the traditional fabrics of the T’boli tribe, known for their accessories called “borloloy,” or beads of different colors.
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3. Wood Carvings from the Cordillera and Southern Luzon regions
Looking for an eye-catching display piece to liven up your home? These local wood carvings, considered to be among the best selling handicrafts in the Philippines by region, are exactly what you should be purchasing. In the northern region of the Cordilleras, you can find fantastic wood carvings done by members of the Ifugao tribe depicting their indigenous gods. They also make wooden bowls and utensils that make excellent kitchenware. Skilled sculptors from the southern part of Luzon located just a few hours away from the capital are meanwhile known for making religious figures.
4. Jewelry from Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and Mindanao Regions
For the fashionable ones, this country also has exquisite pieces of jewelry which are also among the best handicrafts in the Philippines by region. From the region of Central Luzon, particularly from the province of Bulacan, you can find great handcrafted gold jewelry. You can also find similar ones from Mindanao regions, but down south, you can also get impressive brass amulets and other accessories. In Mindanao and parts of Southern Luzon, it’s a must to bring home with you amazing pieces of pearl jewelry, sourced from the rich waters of these areas.
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5. Metal Craft from Southern Luzon and Mindanao Regions
If you’re feeling adventurous and you want to bring home something edgy, then this handicraft from the Philippines by region is the perfect fit for you. The Southern Luzon region, particularly the province of Batangas, is well-known locally and internationally as an excellent source for a local portable knife known as Balisong. Traditional weapons made from brass, bronze and gold, meanwhile, are abundant in Mindanao. Just make sure you check how to bring these items home with your airline so taking them with you won’t be a hassle.
These best handicrafts by region in the Philippines are exemplary displays of Filipinos’ creativity and how they value quality. Be sure to buy these Philippine-made handicrafts during your next visit.
Feature image Credit: Alma Gamil