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Philippine Mats Philippine Craftsman Reprint Series No. 1   By:

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First Page:

The Government of the Philippine Islands

Department of Public Instruction

Bureau of Education

Philippine Craftsman Reprint Series

No. 1

Philippine Mats


Bureau of Printing



The present bulletin is a reprint from The Philippine Craftsman, Vol. I, Nos. 3, 4, and 5, and is issued in this form for the purpose of placing in the hands of teachers a convenient manual for use in giving instruction in this important branch of industrial work. In it are contained directions for the preparation of materials for mat making, with suggestive color schemes for these materials and details for weaving a number of approved Philippine designs.

The use of mats for sleeping and other household purposes is universal through the extreme Orient. Suitable mat materials abound in these Islands, and when proper attention shall have been given to the artistic and decorative side of their manufacture, the mat industry may well become a source of considerable revenue in thousands of Filipino homes.

The Bureau of Education has for some years past been endeavoring to improve the designs used as well as the workmanship of Philippine mats, in order that the article produced shall be typical of the country, artistic in design, and of real commercial value. It is expected that this end will be definitely furthered through the study and use of the material contained in this reprint.

A considerable part of the subject matter of this publication is the original work of Mr. Hugo H. Miller, Mr. John F. Minier, Mr. U. S. Andes, Mr. Theodore Muller, and Mrs. Alice Brezina. Credit is also due to numerous American and Filipino teachers for the submission of reports and materials used in its preparation.

Frank L. Crone,

Acting Director.

Manila, February 1, 1913.


The production of mats in the Philippines is large because of the extensive domestic demand for them. The sleeping mat [1] is used throughout the Christian provinces, and is also found among the Moros. Such mats are of the finer class and are usually more or less highly decorated with colored straws in various designs. For this purpose the buri petates are more widely produced than those made from any other material. Pandan mats are considered stronger and cooler but their use is not so extensive, probably because they are more expensive than the buri mats. In the Visayas, tikug mats are important.

Another use of mats is in the baling of two of the staple products of the Philippines, tobacco and abaca. In the Cagayan valley mats of dried banana petioles are employed. A great many of these are made in Batac, Ilocos Norte, from which place they are shipped to Cagayan. In most cases the tobacco of the Visayas is packed in such mats also. At Argao, Cebu, banana petiole mats are woven as a by product of the sabá cloth industry. In obtaining the fiber, the outer skin of the petiole is pulled off for stripping, and the remaining portion, which is called "upag," is dried and woven into very coarse mats by children. These are called "bastos" [2] or "liplip," and are disposed of to the tobacco balers in the town, or are shipped to Cebu and other towns for baling purposes. While sabá sinamay is produced in several of the districts in the Visayas, notably in Bohol, it is not known that the upag is used for mat weaving there.

Coarse buri mats are almost exclusively used in wrapping abaca for the export trade. Since baling is carried on only in large seaports, particularly in Manila and Cebu, the weaving of these mats in certain localities where the buri palm is abundant and their transportation to the hemp producing towns are important industries.

While they are not, strictly speaking, mats, plaited sacks [3] are woven in the same weave and bear the same relation to sugar and rice as do mats to tobacco and abaca... Continue reading book >>

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