Baluy or Tepo

Baluy or Tepo | Museo ng Kaalamang Katutubo (@muskkat)

Baluy or Tepo

In the Philippine agriculture setting back in the day, the banig, or a mat, tended to assorted tasks. Grains and husked coconut halves were dried on an enormous mat laid outdoors. Mats were sewn into giant bags for transporting unhusked rice (palay), coffee beans, and sugar. Sturdy yet flexible mats baled dried abaca fibers, and tobacco leaves for export. Mats were used as sails or weather awnings for water-going vessels. Today, plastic and other synthetics molded into trays and crates, and mass-produced into sacks and sheets, have replaced mats.

Mats have been plaited from straws extracted from buri (Corypha elata), pandan (Pandanus spp), and sedges like tikug ((Scirpus grossus, S. erectus, S. lacustris; Fimbristylis utilis). Most present-day mats are of pandan.

In Sulu, pandan mats (baluy or tepo) are characteristically two-ply and colorful; these are double mats, with a simple coarser under-liner of thick uncolored straw, and an upper portion of fine-gauged and brilliantly-hued straws. Sulu workmanship is considered to be among the best in the country such that a Sulu mat can be presented as a gift for newly-weds. Mats are also for sitting and chilling, and of course, sleeping.

Baluy or tepo (mat)
Pandanus sp., chemical dyes
Sulu population
Museo ng Kaalamáng Katutubò

You may want to read: