Hanuno Mangyan Embroidery and Basketry

In April 2015, White Champa Traderoutes travelled to the island of Mindoro, Philippines. Since antiquity the island Mindoro has been at the crossroutes of active trading between India, South East Asia and China. In our celebration of cross cultural connections, we recognize the historical and cultural importance of Mindoro and the Mangyan people, one of 8 indigenous peoples of Mindoro.

We are profoundly struck by the beauty and the workmanship of the Hanuno Mangyan “Bayong” baskets, made of nipa palm. First the palm leaves are meticulously cut into fine strips, which are then woven by hand, and subsequently embellished with a darker natural material (nito, or black fern) in unique pakudos designs.

Pakudos is a Mangyan design element. It is characterized by its simple symmetrical organization which places equal stress on both the vertical and horizontal composition. It is said that the Pakudos is a variation of the Indic swastika.

In addition to the basketry, the Pakudos is also used to embellish traditional Mangyan shirts. A man’s shirt – the balukas – and a woman’s blouse – the lambung - are embroidered in intricate and extensive pakudos, predominantly in red, white and black.

White Champa Traderoutes is honored to be collaborating with the Mangyan Heritage Center, in Calapan, and Mangyan artisans in Southern Mindoro. Our partnership seeks to expose the beauty of Mangyan art and craft to our customers, while helping the artisans earn a decent additional income.