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Zamboanga City: Souvenirs from Badjao and Yakan







I have been to Zamboanga City many times but never had a chance to look and buy  for souvenirs that would remind me of my travels in the Latin City of Asia.

After my trip to Tawi Tawi , I landed in Zamboanga with  lots of time waiting before my flight back to DavaoCity in the afternoon, so I decided to look for a couple of places where I can look around to shop. My idea of souvenirs are far from the usual key chains, bags, necklaces, refrigerator magnet and so on. It has to be unique and the piece it self tell a rich history before I buy them.


AYUDA BADJAO

Riding a motorbike, I found myself in  Barangay  Maasin where a settlement of Badjao  is located along the shore. It was an intention for me to find a Badjao community to look for possible "tepo" makers in their village. 

Badjao settlers in Brgy. Maasin, Zamboanga
The creativity of our Badjao and Sinama brothers and sisters under the Sultanate of Sulu simply awe me with their intricate  weaving of the unique traditional mat or 'tepo' in Sama dialect.

It was a fortunate day for me to see the "dream weavers"  busy finishing some of their master pieces . They were called as such because they aren't using any permanent pattern, weaving the naturally treated pandan threads and relying mainly on the pattern that came out from their dreams. This is the exact  reason why there are no identical works done among the finished crafts done  by  Badjao women.


Upon entering into their "open" center, I was mugged by the Badjao women asking me to buy some of their works. I must say their arts are overwhelming and hard to choose which to pick from. 

Tepo makers or Dream weavers of colorful mats in Zamboanga City
I have a deep emotional attachment with the indigenous people of the Philippines because I have seen and experienced some of the marginalized IPs' daily lives .Their current living condition is very far from what city dwellers are enjoying. 

I opted to buy at least seven pieces of tepo varying from Php250-800 per piece as a sign of support to their living indigenous Philippine art.

YAKAN VILLAGE

I was about to go back to the city when I spotted the famous Yakan Village along the road of Upper Calarian, fifteen minutes ride from the city proper. Intrigued with what Yakan tribe can offer, I parked in front of their aggregated stalls of ethnic souvenirs. There were only few shoppers during the weekdays and it felt more convenient for me to move and shop freely.

Rich culture and tradition of Yakan Tribe shown on their dresses.

The Yakans are another Mindanao tribe that  originally dwell in Basilan. Looking at some of their masterpieces, I can see that the art is far different from the Tausugs and the Badjao of Tawi Tawi in terms of pattern and color combination. The pieces of tapestry were made using vibrant colors dominated by bright red, blue and yellow.
Ms. Angie displaying the finished products by the tribe sold at her stall in Yakan Village
At the other side of the center, there are shops showcasing some of the worthy metal works  that ranges from musical brass , swords and other instruments used during the traditional tribal wars.

Some of the brass works of the Yakan Tribes
The prices ranged from a few hundreds to thousands of pesos . Since I was a little tight with my budget (as always) , I settled for a couple of scarves and the traditional malong with  price of Php150-200 each.

Colorful tapestry displayed in Yakan Village, except on what I am wearing ( Tausug's Pis Syabit)


For More information about the prices of Yakan Cloth:

Angie's Yakan Cloth
#77 Yakan Village, Upper Calarian,
Zamboanga City, Philippines 7000
Landline (062) 983.0417
Mobile : +63920.2432.153

26 comments :

  1. If ever we plan to visit the place, meh marerecommend ka bang contact person to show and guide us sa mga spots diyan?

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  2. Getting around Zamboanga City is no brainer. The place is so small and accessible for all commuters. When I arrived in Zambo for the first time I have no guide and even an itinerary ... i just went to the turism complex and from there I ask the locals that gave me even better suggestions on how to enjoy my stay in the latin city .. I suggest you read some of my posts about zamboanga .. they are all DIY or Do it yourself trips... http://www.lovemindanao.com/search/label/Zamboanga and http://www.lovemindanao.com/search/label/Zamboanga%20City

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  3. They do have a lot of interesting souvenirs. Filipino and foreigners should visit the place for hand crafted authentic souvenir items.

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  4. wow I dont even know that the so called "badjao's" exiest serisously. I thought it was just a kid to me of my friends when we go to provinces. Love their works also! I always love the those prints and patterns! xx

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  5. Whenever I knew someone going to
    Zamboanga I always ask them to bring me the authentic malong the one without
    cut and stitches, no one had given me yet. Do you have any idea where I can get
    one? Or should I just aim for tapestry instead - it looks nice too.

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  6. Rochkirstin SantosMarch 15, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    How about the food? What are their specialties? Haha not that I'm just matakaw but of course in any trip there must be a delicacy that is to be remembered :)

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  7. I honestly think that these guys should definitely be supported. They produce quality products that are of international caliber Hopefully, the peace process continues and mindanao would improve soon!!!

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  8. wow, they have rich heritage. i like the yakan, it is so classy .At ang pogi naman nung model na lalaki sa huling photo.

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  9. What I like about travelling in Mindanao other than food are their colorful souvenir items. I have those Yakan items and Malong too.

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  10. oo nga sino ba ung sumingit na pogi na yun .. lol .. thanks po :D

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  11. and more to it ... authentic goods and souvenirs :D

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  12. Next time you drop buy , try the local Pastil .. :D

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  13. interesting pieces I hope I could see one also and to visit that place

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  14. I haven't been to Zamboaga yet and I must say that every Filipino should try and experience their culture. Every tourist must support and buy some of their products.

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  15. we really have rich culture. we just do not know how to overpower it with imported brands.

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  16. Rich culture... creative skills... superb designs and very passionate natives will definitely bring an unforgettable adventure to a place called Zamboanga.

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  17. wow. . i mean look at those native things it just look fantastic! personally i love native stuff, in fact, every time i had a chance to visit to any historical places. I would always for a souvenir to bring with. .

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  18. Simply awesome ethnic products. My eyes are set on those brass works. I believe they sell Kris there.

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  19. I hope I can visit that place too. I like the colorful fabric and other native items. Looks interesting!

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  20. These are really great stuff! Ive always wanted to visit Zamboanga City and its where my friend Jackie is from but we didnt really get to push that plan coz he had to go to Dubai. :(

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  21. A lot to buy there and I'm hoping to visit Zamboanga to also immerse myself in their rich culture and know more about their great talent in making good cloth.

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  22. really love their craftsmanship.. amazing designs.. and it's just so amazing..

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  23. Never been at Zamboanga City, hope to visit it soon. I want to buy Malong!

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  24. Interesting post you have sir! Would like to clarify though that in the picture you have posted (the one with the Yakan) the upper right part of that picture (that of a man in red top with headgear) is not a Yakan but a Manobo... Also the one you are wearing is a "kandit" a pis (cloth) from the Tausug people...


    Have been to Zamboanga for a few times now but have never been to the Badjao village, will definitely go there when i have time, do you have any idea of the prices of their mats?

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  25. thanks for noticing that Baylan Haraya .. that picture was from a post inside the store in yakan, i still cant differentiate the manobo from the yakan just based on the picture ... and true the one I was wearing is the pis shavit from tausug given to me by the vice governor of tawi tawi Ruby Sahali.. the tepo or mat ranges from 500-2500 depending on the length and quality

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  26. I have just confirmed that the man you are referring as Manobo is in fact a true Yakan .The base is the pattern of the garment .:D

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