These are the work of small hands. Day after day, they weave their practical magic on buri palm (CoryphaelataRoxb.), folding, twisting and coaxing the pliable material into mats, boxes, fans and hats.
The weaving is a tedious process that is as much social activity as it is work. As they deftly craft patterns that have long been consigned to memory, the women trade life stories hidden in seemingly trivial vignettes. They talk about the children, about the neighbors and about the soap opera that keeps them up when the shops have already closed for the day. They trade recipes, banter and gossip. They share much of themselves, weaving stories as they weave the crafts that will eventually put food on the table.
The finished products may not reveal their weavers’ individual stories, but they do mirror the intricate circles and the squares that they have to deal with each and every day.
*(This was written for the weekly writing challenge’s “geometry” prompt some months back. I forgot to post this, though, but was reminded when I saw pictures of Sorsogon handicraft. The photos were taken by photographer/director/screenwriter Milo Tolentino)