(Ecology) Hats and Snacking

No need to pass on the street vendors. If you have a hat or a hankie (or a tiffin of sorts), ask them to dump that takal in it.


(New) Stainless Steel Picnic Paraphernalia

The flowers are out! Come out and play.

The sun is hot and bad moods are out of place. It is, essentially, picnic-time. You need containers that won't melt under the sun. Put hot or cold meals in stainless steel tiffins and worry not about leaving them on the shore while you swim. Great for lazy, cooking-free days of chilled fruit.
Small cups also help. You don't want to take a plastic cup out. These will hold a modest cup of coffee or water. You can also plunk some ice into a cup of red wine. Don't say it's not done that way because it tastes good.

(New) Local Black Sesame Seeds and Buri Palm Jelly

Sesame seeds remain black when their hull or cover is not removed, retaining 60% of calcium and a lot of flavor. These ones, grown locally in Ilocos, are smaller than your regular variety. They contain omega-6 fatty acids, anti-oxidants (helping to combat cell damage and aging). They are a rich source of minerals such as iron, magnanese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper. They are good for anemia, and people who don't eat much meat. These seeds may be planted, if you wish.

Use in place of regular sesame seeds (those had either been hulled or are the light brown variety). Sprinkle over vegetables, grind in blender to make sesame paste, use in cookies or sweets. Great addition to salad dressings instead of poppy seeds. It will turn your hummus gray-- but make it more tasty.

We have recently become acquainted with landang, or the buri palm version of sago. It is used in Visayan cuisine as the sago component in guinataan (theirs being called binignit). It adds a great texture to the meal, and turns coconut milk a bit pinkish. We find this special because a buri tree-- the largest palm in the country, and the tree which supplies material for many woven hats and boxes-- only fruits once, and then dies. Landang comes from the inside, starchy portion of the tree, which is stripped, pounded into a powder, and mixed with water, then cooked. The result is a bunch of clumps, which will soften again when you boil them. Check out a binignit recipe here.


(New) Faja

We have a couple of handwoven Guatemalan faja (belts). No buckles, just tie them freestyle.


(New) The Beauty of Everyday Objects

In a pre-plastic and pre-carbon economy, tropical people were in a constant rhythm of replacement. Things like old bamboo cups and natural roofing became nourishment for soil after their useful life. The nipa hut sheds, through its inhabitants, and grows a new head of hair. The kawayanan or sasahan was a sort of commons-- people looked after the bamboo and nipa groves because their regeneration was essential to everyday life. It creates a relationship of management, beyond just extraction.
These days, in the thick of the slick, we forget that many objects were designed by everyday people as simple responses to practical problems. We've seen people flatten out cans and pound holes in them to make graters. We've seen people carve knife handles to replace broken ones. The solutions are limited by the available materials, and the mind.

At the shop, we try to strike a balance between durable goods, and those that are not exactly meant to last forever, but come from quickly renewable resources and employ human energy to create. Unlike extracting plastic, maintaining our natural store of materials builds the soil, creates oxygen, water catchment, and habitat for ourselves and animals. When a natural item's useful life is over, just compost it. If you can't make a replacement yourself, buying a handmade one supports a craftsman and keeps the skill alive.

Pictured above-- handmade melon and coconut grater with a bamboo handle (the aluminum is inserted into incisions in the bamboo), hand-turned santol wood reflexology sticks.


(Travel) Davao

We are in Davao, the home of all things retro. We love this city.