The panorama on the sunrise side: an awesome view of Malarayat

The quiet panorama on the sunrise side of the farm: an awesome view of Mount Malaráyat and the river below the gap.

09 July 2012

Filipino Country Furnishings

The Philippines has a rich history of furniture, however it is hardly or loosely curated as in other cultures. I have yet to hear a local (Filipino) term that would classify  country furniture into an equivalent of "Shaker" in the United States or "Provençal" in France.

We have a wealth of artisanal pieces that have survived to this day, despite the fact that country furniture are extensively used and abused, left to the elements even. You don't have to go very far: a lot of times, they are the familiar pieces we have grown up with yet we do not see them as the next stylish piece for the weekend house! I have been scouring around for many years, collecting and streamlining as I go along. Way before we acquired the farm, I gravitated already towards more rustic pieces; with simple lines, hardly any ornamentation, spartan hardware, weathered edges, and a whole lot of character. I don't have much, but what I have all looks and works harmoniously together.

One of the very first things I moved years ago is a very straightforward mésa altár (top), rather uneventful in the Manila house but looked very appropriate in the cabáňa. A wooden batyâ (basin), a brass kawáli (wok), and a burnáy (Ilócos earthenware) jar complete the rustic tableau. The batya is now hung in the kitchen (where it really should be anyway), the kawali we use to burn incense to fumigate the huts, and the burnay always receives brightly colored heliconias or whatever flowers are in season.

Also looking odd in a bedroom in Manila then was this armário (above left), which I recall contained some books on one level and a boom box and some CDs on another. But now, it serves its original purpose as a pillow rack (and baníg [sleeping mats] in the olden days).

Old kitchen implements like these two mortars (below, left and right) serve as accent pieces around our place. A stone almirés gives visual contrast to white sampaguíta and kalachúchi, and a beaten lusóng (wooden mortar) which I just found among my neighbor's junk and asked for is now re-purposed as a bromeliad pot. I'm even on the lookout for more labangán (trough, bottom), in case you have a lólo or lóla who took care of pigs!

No comments:

Post a Comment