Bulacan is known for many things – Barasoain Church, Malolos Congress, Obando town fiesta, Francisco Balagtas, Pangkat Kawayan, Enchanted Farm (Gawad Kalinga), Philippine Arena, revolutionary heroes, and much more.
Nevertheless, there is one more thing great about Bulacan – its arts and crafts. In fact, the local government celebrates the artistry of the Bulakeños through a program suitably called Tatak Bulakenyo. Here are some of these arts and crafts.
1) Pabalat (Pastillas wrapper)
Making pastillas wrappers in San Miguel, Bulacan is a labor of love. Also known as borlas de pastillas, the intricately-designed wrapper is made from Japanese paper. The real challenge comes with cutting the paper where the design is traced. The designs include bahay kubo (nipa hut), rice field, farmer/farmers, Maria Clara, flowers, landscapes, figures, or specific activities and scenarios.
Wrapper-making used to be a folk art, but the tradition is slowly diminishing. Today, the Ocampos – Nanay Luz and her daughter Naty – offer their borlas de pastillas-making services. In Bulacan, town fiestas are not complete without decorating the table with the wrapper as a centerpiece. It has also become a staple pasalubong.
2) Singkaban (Decorated bamboo arch)
Bamboo art is also a leading handicraft business in Malolos, Hagonoy, and Meycauayan, areas that are just 30 minutes to an hour away from Amaia Scapes Bulacan in Sta, Maria. A celebrated art, elaborately designed bamboo arches adorn streets and church doors during town fiestas. One will also see these embellished bamboo arches during Santacruzans and parades. Every second week of September, grand bamboo arches are displayed on the streets to celebrate the Singkaban Festival.
3) Buntal weaving
Buntal refers to the fiber obtained from the stalks of the talipot palms. The fiber is mainly used in weaving hats and bags. These craftworks are commonly sold in Baliuag public market, and the prices depend on the size, color, and complexity of the design.
Based on the book ‘Baliuag Then and Now,’ which was written by Rolando Villacorte, the weaving industry in the town is more than a hundred years old. It started when Mariano Deveza, a Lucban, Quezon native, went to Baliuag with a bag of buntal fibers in tow. This sparked the interest of the locals to weave hats using the fiber. From 1907, buntal weaving became a decent source of livelihood of the Baliuageños.
4) Capiz products
Bocaue, on the other hand provides various handicrafts made from capiz shells. Aside from lanterns, other proudly Bulacan-made products are lamp shades, candle holders, curtains, placemats, table runners, coasters, and other Christmas décors. Jesus Adorza is the leading manufacturer of capiz products.
Again, these arts and crafts make for the best souvenirs upon going home from your visit in Bulacan. Know, whenever you take home one, you are taking home not just the creativity of the Bulakeños, but also how they take pride in these world-class handiworks.