Monday, April 4, 2011

165. TANGHALAN NG PILIPINAS: A Philippine Showcase at the 1912 Primera Exposicion Filipinas

(translated from ‘Sariling Tala ng Renacimiento Filipino’, February 12 issue)

The farming industry and probably, in the future, mining, is the source and wellspring of wealth of Ilocos Norte.I The woven products of Paoay are charming and durable. Praiseworthy too are the blankets and towels that they make. The natives take advantage of the abundant bamboo and rattan that grows there; they are made into chairs, salakots, beds and many more. The wood cut from the mountains of Solana, Piddig, Vintar and other towns are made into clothes cabinets (aparadors), tables, beds, hampers, hats and other items of note. The leaves of the ‘sarakat’ (a palm variety) plant are woven into sleeping mats and table runners in Banggi. We also noted that they make beautiful salakots of fine finish. There are knives with very good blades.

Palay is also one precious commodity valued by the province; the natives have more than sufficient supply, and the surplus is brought to nearby provinces—what more if there was a better water irrigation system.

Those, however, are not just the province’s riches; there are also its cotton threads, and in the earth’s belly comes valuable ores and minerals like magnesium, asbestos, yeso (gypsum), almagre (red ochre), coal and many more. It is hoped that these ores would bring a never-ending fountain of richness for Ilocos Norte.

The pleasing arrangement of the objects on display and the artful, visually-appealing product presentations are what make the Pangasinan exhibit impressive even to those with discriminating taste. At the door, the visitor gets the distinct impression of entering an expansive palace.

That’s because Pangasinan is the province that leads in palay harvest nationwide—and the husk (ubay) of the palay was used to decorate the interior of the booth, all the way to the center stage. Adding more appeal is a mandala of palay that serves as a centerpiece. Surrounding this mandala are spaces that contains the names of the wide rice variety of the province.

The interior columns inside the palace-like palay pavilion are wrapped with coconuts.

In the captioned picture placed in the center of the booth, we read of Pangasinan’s harvest tally for a year: 15 million pesos worth of palay, 2 million and 400 thousand pesos' worth of tobacco, 1 million and 800 thousand worth of coconut and hundreds of thousands’ worth of “pawid” (nipa roofing sheets), monggo and sugar which constitutes about 24 million pesos in value.

One should not also miss the sombreros from Calasiao: there were many of these on display made by a few women.

Pangasinan won a prizes for ‘the most artistic booth’.


Moroland’s showcase is full to the brim with valuable objects. There are large conches filled with corn grains or pearls, and there are many Moro attires, rattan chairs, wooden tables, hat racks and utensils made of brass, chalk ware, beautiful mats, whips, fish nets and many, many more.

On one side, one can view a variety of sharp spears, gleaming krises and blades; also here are hand-made ‘lantakas’ (cannons) and other Moro battle gear.

It is important to know that these are in great demand in Europe and America where they are bought for good prices, including rubber, almaciga wood, kala (tortoiseshell) or karey, sugarcane, palay, abaca, monggo, camote (yams), linga (sesame), peanuts, dapo (orchids), corn, tobacco, coffee, assorted stoneware and many more. The provinces of Moroland also have wooden produce like gibo, balakbakan, narig (all hardwood trees), lumbayaw (a rice variety), lawan, kalantas (lumber trees), yellow narra and many more.

The cynosure of many visitors’s eye is a small house where resides Datu Diki-Diki. This Moro has a height of just 2 feet, 10 inches and weighs 30 pounds at 37 years of age.

This showcase was given a prize for it’s “biggest number of quality goods”.

The showcase is decorated with abaca, which rivals the best abaca in the land. Samar, other than abaca, also produces palay, kalibiib, earth ore, vegetables like ube, gabi, squash , araro (arrowroot), and other harvests.

The natives are fond of making luxurious mats, salakot and tampipi (woven storage chests). They also weave piña fabrics. From the forests of Samar, one can get long and sturdy rattan. There are about 23 kinds of wood that can be used in the making of very durable wooden items. There are also many varieties of shell from the sea. We also saw a few mineral produce like black coal from the earth.

A live snake about 30 feet long, with a circumference as wide as a man’s thigh was kept in a cage—the object of the crowd’s fascination. Samar was awarded a prize for 3rd class provinces.

Ambos Camarines (Southern Camarines) won’t be left behind with its display of unique treasures. This province also produces abaca, palay, corn, sugar cane, coconuts and many more. Like the others, it also turns out good and sturdy rattan seats and polished sombreros that are of very good finish.

Wood of varying durability and long, thick rattan can be found in the forests and mountains of Camarines.

The more valuable display of this province are its mineral ores that are a source of paracale and tumbaga (low class gold). In the shores of some of its towns, one can also find many paka and all sorts of shellfish.

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