'Si Malakas at Si Maganda' is a Philippine Folklore that tells of the story of creation. It is a myth that is used to tell us the humble beginnings of our bloodline. In the story, the first man is named Malakas, a Filipino word that means strong. While the first woman is named Maganda, which means beautiful. Both of whom were sprung from a bamboo tree, signifying how we are one with Nature.
The Philippine Bamboo
The Bamboo, fondly called bamboo tree here in the Philippines, is actually a grass. It is the tallest perennial grass that belongs to the Graminae family. There are 49 species of Bamboo growing in the country. It is known that Bamboos provide numerous environmental benefits as they help with erosion control, regulate water levels in watersheds, and supply organic matter. They also serve as carbon sinks with their capacity to absorb carbon better and give off 35% more oxygen than hardwood trees.
As exhibited in the story featured above, the Bamboo has long been used in Philippine Literature because of its significance in the daily lives of our ancestors. The versatile yet resilient characteristics of the Bamboo was not lost to early Filipinos and they often used it as a reflection of traits that they admire and would like to emanate. Much like how the Bamboo bends with howling winds, the Filipinos have stood through many trials and are known to smile even amidst struggles.
The Bamboo was also well-loved because of its many uses. It is a great material for house construction, furniture, and handicraft. They were used daily as farm implements, fishing gears, paper, and even to create musical instruments. One of Philippines' declared National Treasure is a bamboo organ from the 19th Century. It was built in 1824, and suffered water and stone damage after a series of earthquakes and typhoons in 1882. It went through a number of restoration, and now has 1 031 pipes, 902 of which are made of bamboo.
Although modernization took its toll on the bamboo industry, we've seen its comeback in more recent years. In 2017, Senate Bill 1478, otherwise known as the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act was introduced to the Senate. The bill aims to to make the Philippine Bamboo industry competitive in the local and international scene, which will also provide local employment in bamboo-based businesses inside targeted communities. But even before this bill was drafted, Bayawan has been using Bamboos in making handicrafts.
Bayawan City is dubbed as the "Agricultural Capital of Negros Oriental". Although a city, it is more of a rural setting than an urbanized one as its economy runs on an agricultural platform. Majority of the income contributions come from land farming, livestock productions, and marine fishing revenues. The city is not yet self-sufficient and the local government has been strongly pursuing agricultural development through different livelihood projects. In 2014, their local Office of the City Administrator gathered nine craftsmen to form the Bayawan Bamboo Builder’s Guild. The craftsmen were trained to make Bamboo Bikes by John Climaco, a Filipino who worked with the pioneer designer of bicycles made of lightweight carbon fiber metal - Craig Calfee. Apparently, the bamboo "has one of the highest tensile strengths in terms of fiber" and rich bikers have been quoted to say that the bamboo bikes ride like the ones with a titanium frame.
Since then, the locals have actively taken part in creating other handicrafts made from bamboo. Both the National Government, through the Department of Trade and Industry, and Bayawan Local Government have been working together to progress the Bamboo Industry there. However, being a second-class city, they need all the help they can get to further their aim to be self-sufficient. In line with this, SteemPH has pledged to raise funds that can be used to buy bamboo seedlings for the City of Banawan. This initiative will be part of the Walk Of Hope Project with @flabbergast-art. All liquid rewards will be sent to SteemPH to help fund this initiative.
About the Bamboo
Senate Bill No. 1478
Bamboo Bikes of Bayawan
Bayawan Handicraft Photo from @flabbergast-art
Walk of Hope Banner designed by @bearone