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.
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.
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