Even as many cleaning tools are available today and can make difference in terms of convenience and utility, the soft broom remains an essential item in the house for many Filipinos.
About two soft brooms are needed every year in a regular house depending on the quality of the material. But soft brooms made in the town of Boliney in Abra won’t make you worry of buying another one for the next four or five years because of their quality and durability.
Soft-broom locally known as “walis tambo” is the One-Town, One-Product of the municipality produced mostly in the far-flung barangays of Danac and Amti.
According to Municipal Tourism Officer Manny Loben, Boliney softbrooms are known for their handmade quality. They are being sold not only in the province of Abra but also among neighboring provinces and as far as Manila and Mindanao.
“Kilala ang softbrooms natin dito dahil dekalidad. Alam ng mga Abrenians na basta matibay na walis tambo ang kailangan, dito sa Boliney nila matagtagpuan,” Loben said in an interview.
Softbrooms are basically made out of tiger-grass and bamboo. Entrepreneur Jay Juan Ducayag said unlike any typical ones, Boliney softbrooms are fortified with rattan and “balnito”, a local special vine which makes it especially made to last longer.
“After finishing the bamboo handle, we wrap it with rattan weaving for a sturdier handle and we secure the bristles with balnito to achieve a more durable broom head,” Ducayag explained.
Soft broom making is a laborious process, and a soft broom maker can finish around two to three pieces only per day.
Boliney soft broom costs around Php 350 – 700 per piece depending on the design because they are accepting customized orders.
“Nakarating na ang mga produkto namin sa abroad, sa Singapore, hindi lang dito sa Abra at Manila. Since year-round naman ang tiger grass dito, patuloy ang paggawa para makabenta ng marami pag may bulk orders,” said Ducayag who is being assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry -Abra.
Loben assured that the municipal local government unit gives attention to the broom making industry of the municipality as support to the local producers. He said they will look into the propagation of tiger grass and rattan to ensure adequate supply of raw materials.
Vacuum cleaners and the like pose competition to the soft broom but the soft broom industry remains afloat. Many Cordillerans still appreciate the handicrafts because they bring that sense of pride in our culture through our local and native products that are functional and uniquely beautiful. (JDP/CAGT – PIA CAR, Abra)