Recently, I came back from my trip from Philippines and I’ve been immersing myself with the culture and one thing that I was really fascinated with were the native accessories. They were difficult to find and you don’t usually find them in shopping malls, you need to dig deeper and you can find them being sold on street corners or stalls dedicated to everything Native!
During my trip to Boracay, I spent one of my days just looking around for native accessories. I spent most of my time at the beach front where there were little stalls selling woven bracelets, necklaces and feet adornments which carried shells, beads, stones and bones. As I was purchasing foot candy, I saw this man run to the lady selling from the stall. I was amazed at everything he was wearing and couldn’t stop looking at the bone that bounced off his chest! I asked where he got it from and he directed me to a store which felt like a treasure chest! (The image above is just a small portion of the store.)
It was a mix of traditional and modern items, ranging from bones, stones and shells to metal trinkets of peace sign, flags and metal words etc. The image below is the a very nice lady named Grace who helped me select and try on the pieces and even showed me the small workshop just behind a wall and slightly visible from the store. Everything is hand made! Below are the items I purchased! The first three images are from Boracay. The first in the foot candy, the small loop is hooked around the long toe (next to the Hallux) whilst the larger hoop is worn around the ankles as the leather pads rest on the top. They come in different designs and colours with trinkets attached. This one has a tiny bell and jingles as you walk! It’s suitable for the beach but it looks pretty neat around the hands too! The second is a bracelet made of snake bone and tiger eye. Snake bone is commonly used. The third is an armlet which has snake bone, tigers eye, trinkets and bone (forgive me I forgot where the bone came from) which has carvings from the artist in Boracay. The final image are two necklaces purchased in Iloilo, they were found with the help of a friend named Jake! One is of a carved quartz, the clearer the better. The second is of a boar fang. In the city it is harder to find native jewellery in stores and are mostly found on street corners. The man selling me the items was extremely helpful, analysing my taste and showing me things either similar or better to what I picked out. Each piece is different and none are exact replicas of each other which also adds a personalised feel to the items.
Below are images of bracelets, anklets and pouches made of turtle shells! It was an experience and when native jewellery hunting, the advice I give is to keep your options open, explore different stalls because you might find a more attractive and cheaper item!