Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Filipino Broom

The other day, while I was driving down the street towards my house, I saw a little old asian woman sweeping the sidewalk in front of her house with a Filipino Broom


 Where the heck am I?, I thought. Asia? 


She was hunched over, sweeping intensely like she was trying to get the dirt out of the crevices of the sidewalk. My second thought to this was  Why is she using that Asian broom to sweep the sidewalk? More importantly, she's sweeping a sidewalk.... Who does that? 


I wasn't going to completely pass judgement on the little old woman. If she wanted to sweep her sidewalk with an Asian broom, that was totally her business, but it brought back flashbacks on my childhood and how my own mom used that type of broom to do her sweeping.

Supposedly, there's two types of Filipino brooms.

Walis Tambo



and Walis Ting Ting

Side tangent: The Filipino language is funny in that words often have sounds that repeat. i.e.  Ting Ting (the broom above), Su-su (boobies), Chacha (my cousin's name in the Philippines). Connect any two sounds together, and you more than likely have a Filipino word that means something. My parent's used to call me Win Win when I was a kid, then it was shortened to Win. But... don't start.


Anyways, my mom always used the walis tambo when cleaning.

I always wondered why she used this type of broom instead of a regular broom from the grocery store when it seemed  inefficient. For one, the broom is made for short people. I mean, really really short people. It is probably around three feet tall so even someone who is Filipino short like myself has to hunch over in order to grab the handle and sweep the floor. True, the way the broom is designed allows it to get into corners, but I feel like it sheds a lot  and so adds to the dust/trash that you're trying to pick up.I don't know...I just never thought that it was effective

But ... almost all Filipino households have them.

 Curious to see the overall process, I watched a youtube video on it.




It was interesting to see how much of a process it was to make it and how whole families made this their trade. In this one particular youtube video I watched, this little girl who couldn't be more than 6 years old spreading out the broom grass in preparation for the assembly. I can honestly say that after watching this video, I have a new appreciation for the broom and for the fact that out of nothing and in poverty, people can make such a beautiful product as the walis tambo. It's like a piece of Filipino art.  Ultimately, it makes me want to go to the Philippines and watch someboday make a broom so I could buy it from them. I know that sounds silly, but that's how I feel.

3 comments:

  1. I like this page same as the post of filipino cleaners Calgary, Keep on posting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can tell you never used one because they are way more effective in getting the smallest particles of dust that go through the big gaps of our western brums

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can tell you never used one because they are way more effective in getting the smallest particles of dust that go through the big gaps of our western brums

    ReplyDelete