Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hello, Palawan! Day 2 (Part 2)

⇠  DAY 1 |   Day 2 Part 1 | Day 2 Part 3   | Day 3 


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Binuatan Creations, Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa.

If traditional crafts is your thing, Binuatan Creations, a family-run weaving factory and shop tied-in with most guided tours, is a recommended stop. It was skipped by our tour package on Day 1 by around 5 p.m. from Baker's Hill so we went there on our own.

Binuatan can be reached on a hired taxicle like we did which would take about 15-20 minutes travel time from the city proper. The shop and factory is located off the main road of Puerto Princesa South Road (the one that leads to the Mitra Ranch, Baker's Hill and the Crocodile Farm) on barangay Sta. Monica.

Arriving there past 6 p.m. afforded us more chances to linger a bit, talk to the weavers and look over a variety of products at their store.

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Warm welcome arrival by the close of day. Chingbee (L) and May (R) already by their looms.

We probably caught its last hour of operations but were welcomed by a cheerful lady, the manager perhaps, who nonetheless looked happy to receive us that evening with a cordial invite to look around and try the looms ourselves.

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Weaving involves a lot of mental math.

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Irresistible analog technology: Loom heddles up close.

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An interplay of heddle stems and warp.

During the day, this factory would be full of weavers working on their looms to produce items that are on display at the adjoining shop.

When we arrived, there were just three weavers who remained to finish work before calling it a day. Being only one of two sets of visitors that arrived that late hour, we were lucky to have avoided jostling our way through the usual crowd that would have taken up space and the attention given by the weavers who assist visitors that try their hand at weaving.

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Chingbee's tutor back at work; May (in aqua shirt), behind him, absorbedly listens to hers.

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Colored warp set in a loom at rest.

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May's weaving tutor reclaims his loom.

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Typical tools of the trade.

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Signed-off: Binuatan's looms on a break from another round of day's work.

Before I left the factory to join my companions at the shop, the boy in the photo below resumed work on the loom next to the one May tried earlier.

Like the experienced weaver beside him (Binuatan employs male and female weavers), the boy was highly focused—he's probably used to an audience by now—was surprisingly precise at weaving and adept at operating the loom. He told me that he'd rather be weaving after school and homework than play games or stay home nearby to watch television.

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The survival of the craft rests on the youth like him.

It's kind of comforting to witness his dedication and attitude and be reassured that through him (and young people like him), the continuity of weaving and of other traditional industries in Puerto Princesa is carried on.

Some Binuatan creations
The Binuatan shop is where all woven items end up. Here are personal accessories, decors and other items for interior use, and typical tourist-specific merchandise. The attendant said they also customize some products according to specifications. Other items are viewable at Binuatan's website.

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Purses, gadget holders and other small accessories for the tourist.

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Eye-catching bags that incorporate weaves and synthetic materials to withstand wear-and-tear.

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Binuatan shop interior.

We spent close to an hour at Binuatan before hitting the trail towards Iwahig that evening, traveling the length of the unlit South Road westward. The day's highlight was getting closer.

The Iwahig Firefly-Watching Ecotourism and Wildlife Park welcome sign by the roadside, simple and almost inconspicuous, unexpectedly came to view:

⇠  DAY 1 |   Day 2 Part 1 | Day 2 Part 3   | Day 3 

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