October 2009


By: Anne Karmela E. Eucogco and Joy Lopez


It was a Saturday afternoon when my cousin Sidney Roland (a designer) asked me to accompany him in going to Sta. Barbara, Igbaras. He had to check the hablon he ordered for his designer’s collection to be sent to New York for an exhibit. “Why would he use hablon for an international exhibit?” Question I asked myself while we were travelling. As we got there, colorful fabrics which were displayed in front of Mrs. Zenaida Escera’s house captured my attention.


Mrs. Zenaida Escera who is also called “Naids in their neighborhood is a weaver for 38 years now. She started weaving at the age of 18 as influenced by her parents and since it had been her family’s source of income. Weaving, as a process of making clothes or blankets and other products through over and under techniques has been her expertise. It also served as a source of livelihood to her family.


Looking around her workplace, I noticed another woman in one corner, keeping herself busy weaving a combination of white and gold silk fiber. Out of curiosity, I went near her and observed how weaving is done. At first glance, the process of putting the threads together will look like a difficult thing to do but once tried and done with dedication, it will be an enjoying and beneficial activity (not to mention the little exercise it provides to your arms and feet). It takes a lot of patience to finish one made product. One standard length of hablon can be finished within four hours for expert weavers while it may take a longer time for beginners. If you get used to the process, it will be easier. The hardest part of weaving is called “sab-ong”. It is in this part where threads to be woven are attached to the loom one by one before the whole process starts. According to Manang Naids, the loom or “tidal” they were using was aging 13-15 years by now.

Weaving follows a pattern depending on the design you want but usually it has square or rectangular shapes with colorful threads used. I took time to examine the finished products while my cousin was talking to Manang Naids. With a closer look to the fabrics, one will surely appreciate the artistry of the weaver and its uniqueness because of the distinctive details. Usually, weavers use threads spun from natural fibers like cotton, silk, wool and other synthetic fibers such as nylon and Orlon. But thin, narrow strips of almost any flexible material can be woven. In a country like ours, weaving is used generally as a source of livelihood and for export purposes.



Various organizations of weavers can be found all over our archipelago. Manang Naids is a member of the Igbaras Weavers and Knotters Association in their locality. Some of their products such as handkerchiefs, patadyong, tablecloth and pillow cases are displayed in the locality’s tourism office which are also for sale. They also use abaca and make bags out of it. Weaving has started in the Philippines years ago as a way of life of our elders and to provide them clothing from raw materials found in the surroundings. Although there are still a number of weavers, it has lost its essence overtime as modernization has reached its heights. Despite the outbreak of technology, some will still continue to patronize the products of weaving made with love and passion. I hope that we are one of those who will.





Igbaras Weaver's Association Products

After a while of walking around the weaver’s working place, Sid showed me the black hablon with strips and touches of gold fiber he would use for his collection. He tried to wrap it around me, converting it into an improvised gown and when I turned to see the mirror, “Wow!” The hablon was perfect for a gown! Now this answered my question why my cousin had to use it as his fabric for the NY Fashion Designer’s Exhibit. Wearing an unblemished gown made of hablon will make one truly proud to be a Filipino. Weaving indeed is an art made with passion and love and of dedication and patience.


Some of Sids Collection sent to New York made of hablon. Dresses using weaved fabric


Some of Sids Collection sent to New York made of hablon. Dresses using weaved fabric



Picture1 As we stroll around the crowded city of Iloilo together with my partner Third, feeling the heat of the sun, we paused for a while because a man doing something caught my attention, not because his handsome but because I can see that he possessed a hand of an artist. He has unusual hand movements that I’ve never seen before. He was holding his magical pliers and his other hand holding a kind of stainless wire, so fine and slender, and after a few moments of giving his magical touch to that wire, he made it, a very beautiful masterpiece, a bracelet with beautiful designs on it.

My partner also noticed what I had observed to that man and we discover that he doesn’t only make bracelets but also other kinds of accessories like earrings, necklace, anklets, and rings. Accessories became a part of our life that we inherit from our ancestors but unlike in the past that it is only used in formal occasions.

We had a short interview with him to know why he was engaged to that kind of art making. He said that he is Alex Premor of Cebu and currently staying at Iloilo City together with his family. At first, he was selling all kinds of accessories but it came to a point that he wanted to try something new. After he visited his friends in Leyte, they taught him to make this kind of art, the lettering and designing bar pins. We were shocked after we found out that the stainless wire that he used is the same as what the fishermen used in making fish hook.



What’s good about Mr. Premor’s work is that we are stuck to the idea that accessories are sentiments and designs as fashion; it is worn as an ornament, a love token or a remembrance, a symbol of gender for some, a symbol of status in the society, a description of personality, and a reflection of culture.

In making his art, the customers often suggest what designs or styles that will make up their personalized accessories. Just like for example in bracelet, you can have your name on it. He can make beautiful designs with the use of pliers. Here are the steps we had observed when he make a bracelet but it is also applicable in all accessories:

  • All you need is a stainless steel wire (bar pin) that can be bought in any fishing supply stores;


  • To make the bracelet with its desired length, cut the bar pin shorter and make a hook on both ends to connect the other shorten parts of it until it reaches the desired length based on customers want.
  • As what we had observed, his designs are more on curves and he avoids making straight line designs because it will just make the bracelet lifeless.
  • In order to make names or other designs such as heart, stars, and other symbols that the customer wants, all he need to do is to bend and twist the bar pin using his pliers and the rest is with the use of its artistic skills and magical touch.

It is an amazing experience for us to witness the creative ability of Mr. Premor in making such good accessories. I was inspired to let him make a bracelet for me and after few minutes he gave the finished product to me and you will see that it is truly an artist work. Although it is simple but it is elegant and looks like more than its price.

While we are riding on a jeepney going home, we realized how complicated Mr. Premor’s work is. This artwork has a “one strike policy”, he cannot have trial and error, once the bar pin is twisted you cannot bring it back to its original appearance, if so; it will just destroy the smoothness of the wire.

Manual job is a serious task since it needs persistence and patience to finish a certain work like what Mr. Premor is doing. We can’t deny the fact that those beautiful accessories is made not only because of the malleability of the bar pin, but also of the artistic touch of Mr. Premor given to it and its attitude towards its job.

He’s an expert on his field, making personalized accessories and even we are living on modern times, he still opt to earn a living manually with out the use of high technology gadgets, yet his works are elegant and durable.




Leah’s Tinu-om

Cabatuan, Iloilo


It was just this week that I first went to Cabatuan, Iloilo. I guess it is destiny that Sev and I became partners in doing our research proposal. I’m from Aklan and I haven’t been to some parts of Iloilo. Sev is from Cabatuan and that’s where the idea of researching for a traditional dish there, the Tinu-om na Manok, started.

It takes about an hour to get to Cabatuan. It has been a great experience travelling around our local towns in Iloilo. I got to see a lot of places, like the Coca Cola plant in Pavia, and then the town of Sta. Barbara. The long trip going there was quite exhausting but finally arriving there made it worth the time and effort. We got off at Cabatuan’s town plaza and walked to Leah’s Tinu-om near the town market. Lola Sabel was not there and so we went to her place. It’s funny realizing how we Pinoys are, no matter where we come from. You ask directions from someone (at Leah’s Tinu-om) and she doesn’t say the house number but rather she tells you the directions through landmarks or through someone famous’ house near your destination.

leah's tinuom

“It’s a family business!” said Lola Sabel. She’s referring to Leah’s Tinu-om, the only carinderia in Cabatuan known to serve the town’s remarkable dish. Lola Sabel says that she has been in the business for almost 30 years, both handling and cooking for the carinderia that was passed down to her by her parents, her father being the first to experiment in making the Tinu-om. She also told us that the Tinu-om was the reason all of her 6 children got to graduate from college. The restaurant was named “Leah’s Tinu-om” after one of her daughters.

Tinu-om is a native dish of the Cabatuanons is made up of native chicken seasoned with onions, tomatoes and lemon grass(tanglad) wrapped in banana leaves. It is served with broth that builds up inside its wrapping following a heavy steaming. Tinu-om in native language means “balot”, so Tinu-om na Manok means binalot na manok.

A serving of Tinu-om, which has 3-4 slices, costs Php50 at Leah’s Tinu-om. From a student’s point of view, yes, it is expensive but it’s worth the cost. Lola Sabel proudly says that every weekend many people from nearby towns visit her carinderia to taste her Tinu-om. Many carinderias in Cabatuan tried to make Tinu-om too, but failed in the process. One theory on why they failed would be because of the “timpla”. “Timpla” means taste proportionality of the mixed ingredients. This would mean that there are no specific measurements on how many teaspoons of vetsin there would be. The great thing about it is that it gives her confidence and it encourages her to continue making Tinu-om and to help promote the culture of Cabatuan.

When we asked Lola Sabel about her recipe in making her delicious Tinu-om, with no hesitation, she immediately replied.

The ingredients used are:


*Bumbay/Sibuyas (Onion)

*Kamatis (Tomato)

*Tanglad (Lemon Grass)

*Vetsin (MSG-monosodium glutamate)

*Asin (Salt)

*Tubig (water)

*Native Chicken – must be 7-14 months old.

*Banana Leaves

*Bamboo string or any string for tying up the tinu-om

*2 bowls for preparation

After enumerating the ingredients, she then told us how to do the Tinu-om na manok. There are 5 easy steps:

(1) In one bowl, place the chicken and season it with onion, tomato, vetsin and the salt and then add some water. The 7-14 month old chickens will have to boil for about 30 minutes for it to be ready for serving. Older chickens will take almost an hour. The picture on the side shows lola Sabel cutting up the chicken parts. One order of tinu-om would have 3-4 pieces.

lola sabel

(2) In another bowl prepare the banana leaves to be used for the wrap. Lola Sabel advices that you use Saba banana leaves rather than other kinds of banana leaf. It affects the flavor, aroma and outcome of the Tinu-om.

banana leaves

banana leaves

(3) Eventually, pour the marinated chicken into the bowl lined with banana leaf, gather the edges and tie it with a bamboo string or any piece of string. Make sure that it won’t leak.

mixed ingredients

mixed ingredients

tying it up

tying it up



(4) After tying it up, place it in a casserole full of water and then place it on fire. You may steam it but Lola Sabel strongly suggests that you place it within the water casserole for a better result when it comes to taste. Then wait.

tinu-om na manok


The continuous cooking and practice of making Tinu-om na Manok has lengthened its existence in Iloilo culture and tradition. The aroma of spices, chicken and banana leaves mixed together will always remain in the hearts of the Cabatuanons now and of the generations yet to come.

Just as Lola Sabel said, the recipe doesn’t have anything. It is not a secret. There is no secret ingredient. “Sa pagtimpla lang guid na ya, amuna siguro indi nila kami magaya sa pagluto sang Tinu-om.” (It’s in the proportioning of the ingredients to go side by side, maybe that’s why they can’t cook Tinu-om the way we do.)

You may find Lola Sabel at Leah’s Carinderia, Bermejo Street, Cabatuan, Iloilo. You can find Leah’s beside the street between Cabatuan Church and Cabatuan Wet Market. You can also contact her via text or call at 09287671244.

I assume that you have already read our article about the tinuom. In this section I will tell you about my views and insights on making this feature.

In my own perspective, having this paper work made me realize some things and question myself. Questions like what is Tinuom? What does it really mean to me as a Cabatuananon? Is it really the Tinuom that defines a Cabatuananon and its culture?

Every time I try to ask myself these questions I can find no right answers at all but thanks to this research work I was able to find some. Before our cultural festival Hirinugyaw was renamed to Tinuom in the year 2006 (it’s because of some conflict with other municipality’s festival name), I never knew that we have this tinuom that is said to be our delicacy here in Cabatuan. As told by the elders, those who have lived in the most number of years here in Cabatuan, Tinuom is indeed a mark of a Cabatuan. This is based on the stories they had inherited from the past generation just like what Lola Sabel said. Some of them says that it is but can’t find any explanation how it became such they just believe in it. My classmate’s grandparents told me that tinuom is indeed a mark of Cabatuan because we, Cabatuananons are the ones who had it first. Tinuom certainly defines what Cabatuan is and showcases the creativity of a Cabatuananon.

Yes, it is believed that Tinuom is a native of Cabatuan, but still some questions trigger me. If it is our delicacy then why is it that it’s not practiced in every household unlike other municipalities here in the Philippines having such delicacy like in the Miag ao, during fiesta every household has this KBL (kadios, baboy and langka) which is known to be their local dish served in their table.

I asked my friends and their parents if they do practice having this tinuom served in their table. Some of them told me that it’s because time passes by and things changes. There are some that carry out this tradition. It’s not lived out mostly in every household because several find it expensive to prepare tinuom especially when it comes to the cost of chicken. Some told me that it’s not easy to prepare, it takes time to cook it. Some that prefers to cook tinolang manok than to have it in tinuom because tinolang manok is faster to prepare than to tinuom. Some don’t even know how to prepare and cook tinuom. And there are some that knows how but are lazy enough to cook it, in my family’s case for example.

It’s sad to think that the past generation failed to pass this great tradition to the present generation. (It’s not that I’m blaming it all to them). Maybe it’s also because at one point in time we, Cabatuananon forgot that we have this legacy that we should preserve and pass it to the next future generation. That’s why I’m so thankful to Lola Sabel and her Leah Tinuom carinderia for not giving up and still having a business serving Tinuom. To her it may be just her simple way of earning a living, but for me she’s one of the people worthy to be recognized for preserving the culture of our town.

From the time we finished this paper, I realized what does tinuom means to me. Now I can proudly say that “Tinuom” is an evidence of how creative and special a Cabatuananon is. And this tinuom is a reminder to us Cabatuananons that we should preserve a tradition and a legacy that will be known in the whole world in the near future. Hahahahaha. And there’s no doubt about the tinuom being a definition of what a Cabatuananon is. No need to ask because it is what that defines us, believe me it is.

And now being able to feature “Tinuom” truly makes me feel proud as a Cabatuananon. Showcasing what a Cabatuananon has and can do gives me a sense of pride. Hope this entry or feature would further help promote tinuom and Cabatuan. And also would encourage other people to come and visit Cabatuan. Taste tinuom and experience Cabatuan.

About the authors:

Severo Caspe, Jr. and Christine Celeste Zaulda are both second year college students at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. Sev is taking up BSBA Marketing while Bam is taking up BS Accountancy. You may contact us through email at nonoy_nami@yahoo.com and cceleste_z@yahoo.com

the researchers

the researchers

Jerry Tiradojerrycloseup

                   Jerry Tirado is a forty year old family man living outside the loop of Iloilo city, in the locality of Tigbauan. Jerry is a woodcutter and sometimes a carpenter, who does sculpture because he feels like doing so. Unlike other sculptors, Jerry does carving just to entertain himself and decorate his own house with his works. In other words, his works are made out of love for his craft and with the self-fulfillment he acquires from his art. His works are so adorable considering that they were created by someone who did not undergo any formmasterpiece3al education in the art of sculpting. We daresay, it was purely innate talent. You know, that unique inborn gift each of us is blessed with.

                     It all started when Jerry saw a piece of log after a heavy rain, he picked it up, removed the moist bark so for the phloem or xylem (a part of a trunk that is suitable for carving) be visible and shaped it in a good cylindrical form. Using a pencil, he started sketching an image of the Virgin Mary using a picture as a model. After sketching, using an ordinary, well-used chisel and knife, he began carving and consequently the figure starts to form. When the perfectly made sculpture, in relief technique, was finished, he polished it with sand paper, and painted with shellac, he then tucked the work on their bedroom door.

                         The wooden sculptures Jerry makes are very neat and precise and so beautifully carved. The moment we saw and experience his art we drastically drop our jaws. And a never-ending string of questions suddenly pop up into our minds from, “Why did he not build a business out of his talent?”, “Why on earth hasn’t he become rich yet? He could have earned big proceeds from his art.” to “How come he is able to carve such intricate details?”masterpiece6

                       As we took a look into the details of his works, we began to ask him, “Manong Jerry, bakit hindi po kayo magtrabaho sa mga furniture shops? May talent naman kyo, mas malaki ang kikitain niyo doon.” He sadly replied to us saying, “Hindi ako nakapag-aral, at isa pa nahihiya ako, malamang hindi sila tatangap ng gaya ko.” With that answer, we then ask him, “Manong bakit hindi mo gawing negosyo yang talent mo, pwedeng rin na tumanggap ka ng mga order ng mga customer dito mismo sa bahay mo.” With a smile, he began sharing to us one of his experiences.

                      That he once had an order to make from one of his friends in their neighborhood. He is to make an accessory of a gun that is made of wood. After he finished working with the piece, his friend got it, and then the man sold it, with Jerry having no subsidy from the sale. He was not angry neither was he happy with what had happened. He stopped thinking about it, since the mshipmasterpiecean was his friend and so life must go on. Jerry still doesn’t have orders from customers and still a woodcutter.

                      Jerry’s house is filled with his own marvelous works and even their chairs and tables were designed by his skillful hands. Though his works weren’t gaining recognition it is worthy of, he continuous to make sculptures proving that an artist inside him wanted to express and let itself out.

                 The Philippines is cramped with so much talent we often find brilliant skills common.  We are blessed with so much gifts- gifts we will indeed adore, and from which find the beauty of being a human who knows art, art such as those made /from logs found after a heavy rain.    



picture of the artistThe Making of a Potter

   An artist coming from Iloilo’s pottery capital, Hibao-an, is Reyland Harder, a person of inspiring expertise and overwhelming passion. This 29-year-old potter took years to perfect his profession. Nonoy, as he is called, makes pottery a work without sweat no matter how intense it may be.

      It all started from his ancestors-lolos and lolas ahead of him. This is justified by his place of origin, Hibao-an Iloilo, which is remarkably rich in clay. A historical place which brought this person into an artist of skill and ability. His art was passed down to him as an inheritance or legacy. As a child, Nonoy saw how his parents and the elders of the family worked in the shop and molded pots. This is not easy though. A potter’s work requires extreme strength and precision. The artist told us that pottery isn’t that easy to achieve. Years of practice from childhood trained him to become the skilled artist that he is. Now, his family works for him offering excellent pottery thay could ever offer.the workplace

    So we, Dominique and Shiela, went to the site where the pots widely used to contain our greens are being heated to perfection. The place had a big furnace-like thing where they would put the uncooked pots. Don’t expect a big factory with massive mixing bowls built-in. This artist does his work the most conventional or traditional of all ways. At the center was a potter’s wheel, characterized by a wooden table-like structure with a big wheel underneath, the wheel is being attached to the structure horizontally, and this wheel is being used to shape the pots. But of course, the finished products are exquisite. What made the works amazing was the skill that certainly be followed by a regular person. The products were made from manual labor-no machine assistance. Yet, as you look at what were displayed, you could see that the specifications, if not the same, were nearly uniform. It wsample of the pots that he makesas unbelievable that the works of Nonoy were done by manual work alone.

    The pots that are created at the workshop are very affordable and are usually supplied to hotels in Boracay and Manila, but most especially, they cater to local demands. The pots that they produce are being transferred from Hibao-an to the public markets of the City of Iloilo and many other towns surrounding it. The prices range from php 25 for the small pots and 500 for the massive ones. Considering the great effort and time put in just to make one pot, the price given to the product is already very reasonable. Thus, his art and the many other artists of the same passion and art constitute to a strongly recommended and highly appreciated and income generating expertise.

TheartistROGEANANGELEEARSENALGULLEMwearingherpersonallymadebeltBead It All!

What a nice belt right?


This is just one of the works of Miss Rogean Angelee Arsenal

Gullem of Luna St. La Paz, Iloilo City. This 18 year old lass

is a sophomore student of University of the Philippines






            When Rogean was still in grade school, her grandmother was making bead curtains. Rogean was always observing her grandmother. When her lola stopped in making bead curtains, Rogean got the left beads ans strings and made bracelets out of it. Rogean’s first work were very simple ones. She put beads on a string, ties both ends and that’s it. She already has her personally made bracelet. This had been a starting point for Rogean to come up with more complex works and discover her talent in making bead accessories.


                         What is amazing about this young lady is that, nobody taught her in making accessories put of beads. By just observing her lola, she learned the basics and on her own, she experimented with new patterns. After making single stringed accessories, which is the basic, Rogean thought of ways on how to make something unique and how can she improve her creations. With the use of small pieces of paper, Rogean experimented and came up with a crisscross pattern. Through this, she has made more complex pieces. But of course,it is not that easy. It took her several months to discover the pattern and be able to apply it to different accessories. In fact, it took her more then a month to make her first crisscross bracelet.


                                                                                                                                                                          Like this one, Rogean was able toahandwearingbraceletsnadebyRogean

Rogean'sbraceletwithheartdesisgmake heart designs onbracelets

 using beads of different color and

 putting them together using

 a crisscross pattern.



                                  Roj. As most of her friends call her, is not just limited in making bracelets, necklaces and rings but she also makes belts, key chains and curtains. These ones, especially the belts and curtains are very hard to do according to Roj. In doing this, you must be very patient. It took her almost 3 months to finish a belt and 5 months to make a curtain. As a kikay teenager, these accessories are very useful to her. Rogean uses this accessories highlight different outfits for different occasions. In fact, during Rogean’s JS Prom in high school, the accessories she wore were her creations.

            Interestingly, Rogean’s works are not for sale. She said that money can’t buy the happiness and satisfaction she can feel by looking at her works. But sometimes Roj is giving some of her works to her dear friends.


                 Hmmm… I know you are all excited to know how to make bead accessories especially those cute belts and bracelets. Rogean’s advise is, “ Have some beads, get a string and let your imagination flow. Let your creativity guide you in making something unique. And most of all, be patient.

“Hilig ko na ni daan biskan sadto paman Natabuan lang siguro nga ara sa bloodline namon ang mga iskultor.”

“ Te gin padayon nalang nga pangabuhian” This was the statement from one of Iloilo’s Santos sculptor, Charlie Marañon. “


 He belongs to the lineage of sculptors. Way back 1700’s his grand ancestors’ Juan and Quintin Marañon was among the students of the great artists Monti.

         For almost 20 years on this field he had sculpted various art forms, specializing in Santos making.  He mentioned that his first work was a crucifix, which is really dreadful, but through time his passion of doing these things was developed. As a matter of fact, among his work were found in the Santos figures in Catholic schools such as Saint Paul School and Assumption College. Despite the lack of education he managed to rise among the rest. He even emerged as the champion at the competition held in Boracay entitled “Porma Balas” for two consecutive years.

          Nowadays, he can be considered as one of the city’s pride in making Santos. At 41, he now own a shop located at Molo, Compania Central, Iloilo City. He stresses that this kind of work require much time and effort. One might think that this job seems so easy yet as you look closely on how this is being done you might be surprised of the process.

         Santol is mainly used in Santos making; this is because of its particular toughness. According to Manong Charles it would take him a month to finish a human-sized figure. This kind of work entails more patience. Just imagine all the process involved in it. From the conception period (imagining how the finish piece would look like, getting the angles and body proportion), to shaping (“baol”- the process of forming abstract figure) , until carving (tigib- process of creating a specific shape), after which the figure is polished by a sand paper to make it smooth and refine. The Santos is then painted with primer (paint to avoid termites), and involves body-patching before the finishing touches.

          Commissioning him to create a human-sized Santos would cost around P50, 000. Seem expensive at first but much cheaper compared to the works by professionals in Manila. Yet the quality is still the same. According to him among of his customers were foreigners and his saleable works is the Lourdes, Santos which is placed in grotto. This kind of livelihood is seasonal because it has peak seasons. It is during September to November that he can earn the most because this was the time for harvest and people used to offer thanksgiving to saints. For the rest of the year he is not sure if there are orders. Income relatively varies from P3000 to P50, 000 depending to what kind and how large the artefact was.   

          A real artist was really born in the person of Manong Charles. He is one who deserves to be known. One who is not only exceptional in the world of art but the one who uses what he has to survive and earn a living.

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