You may be familiar with the handcrafted Philippine products of the South, such as those found in the Visayas and Mindanao, but how often do you encounter pieces from the North, specifically from Cagayan Valley?
This northeastern region in Luzon, which is composed of Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, and Quirino provinces, is located in between the Sierra Madre and Cordillera mountain ranges. It boasts a mostly agricultural economy, and produces many fine handicrafts using its natural materials and sustainable resources.
The Padday na Lima has been the main trade fair for medium- and small-scale enterprises of these Region 2 provinces since 2007, and regularly exhibits at the Artisans Village of Manila FAME. Here are a few of the brands that have exhibited at the 70th Edition.
The Nueva Viscaya-based brand creates home décor and kitchen accessories made out of roots, twigs, driftwood pieces, molave wood, and even trunks of large fern plants, which produce a unique speckled pattern in the wooden décor.
A favorite of Metro Manila bazaars, these pillowcases, bags, pouches, and wristlets are made in Alicia, Isabela, and are printed with the paintings of artist Bibsy Torio. The colorful and fanciful works feature snippets of Filipino life, family, customs, and culture.
Clockwise Wood Crafts
These lamps, clocks, and other decorative accessories are made out of scrap wood, trunks, and the discarded roots and twigs of fallen trees. The randomness of the material gives each piece a unique look.
Iraya Handicraft and Souvenirs
Based all the way in Kayhuvokan, Batanes, Iraya doesn’t only sell the popular woven baskets, caps, and lighthouse-painted wicker bags from this northernmost province. It also sells stool covers that look like the hairy Vakul palm-fiber headdresses worn by the Ivatan indigenous people in the area.
Maddela Flowers and Crafts
The Quirino brand’s rose-like blooms are actually made out of Alibangbang (Filipino for Orchid Tree or Bauhinia Tree) leaves. The leaves are dried and dyed in different colors to create realistic-looking flowers that transformed into long-lasting home décor, wreaths, and even wedding bouquets.
Silya Home Furnishings
Also called Silya, Elektrika, Atbp., Silya was established in Nueva Viscaya. Guillermo Peros and his family, who are building contractors, found themselves with a surplus of wood and metal scraps from demolished houses that would have otherwise gone to waste. He then put up a business selling whimsical and witty home accessories made out of these upcycled scraps (one of them is the House Wall Décor seen in the main image above).
Sta. Praxedes Sarakat Women Weavers
The sleepy town of Sta. Praxedes in Cagayan mainly produces the pandan (Pandanus) plant, also called Sarakat in the region, which Is used in weaving. The Sarakat Movers, now called the Sarakat Women Weavers, was formed in 2006 to produce woven baskets and accessories made out of pandan as part of the One Town One Product (OTOP) program.