PAGLAWIG: The Boholano Way of Life

“PAGLAWIG: The Boholano Way of Life” | @natmuseumbohol

On May 31, 2023, the National Museum of Philippines (NMP) officially launches its newest exhibition entitled, “PAGLAWIG: The Boholano Way of Life.” The exhibition presents artifacts and ecofacts recovered by the National Museum of the Philippines in the 1980s in Anda, Mabini, Candijay, and Guindulman. These sites provided pieces of evidence of the utilization of stones, shells, and bones as tools and ornaments of early Boholanos. The use of dug-out wooden coffins and burial jars, as well as the offering of local and trade ware ceramics, further illustrated their technological knowledge and rituals.

Tracing the journey of the Boholanos before colonization to the present, this exhibition provides an overview of their traditional crafts such as boat-building, fishing, farming, metalsmithing and jewelry making, basket and “raffia”weaving, and the production of “asin tibuok” (artisanal sea salt). Local technologies used in these occupations reflect significant aspects of Boholano’s past and current way of life in terms of their technical choices, community organization, skills specialization, trade relations, style and design preferences, ecological knowledge, and symbolisms, among others. To demonstrate these, part of the exhibition highlights some of the past technologies that persist in the different communities such as “bigiw-making” in Cortes; “ku’n-making” in Alburquerque; and metal blade production in Sikatuna.

A special section features the asin tibuok of the southern coastal town of Alburquerque. Asin (salt) was one of the most important commodities in early lowland highland trade in the Visayan region and was exchanged for humay (unmilled rice) and cotton from inland communities. Today, the Kapunungan sa Mang-Asinay sa Alburquerque (KASAMA), a local salt makers cooperative, continues the traditional production and knowledge transmission of the asin tibuok.

The gallery will be officially opened to the public on June 1. #JourneyWithUs. Admission is free, and no vaccination cards are required.