The “Tabungaw,” “Upo” or Gourd Hat!

“Tabungaw,” in Ilocano, “Upo” in Filipino, (White) Gourd in English, is a vegestable-crop that can be made into a hat which Ilocano’s are famous for. It is unfortunate, however, that the art of making the “gourd hat” is now a dying industry.

tabungaw_jordan

You may want to know how this veggie becomes a durable hat that farmers in Ilocos use, but have now become a (mere) novelty or souvenir for some.

The “tabungaw” plant is a vine that bears fruit. When still young, it can be harvested and cooked in various ways such as “ginisa,” or “inabraw/dinengdeng.” Its tops can also be a good source of fiber when boiled and seasoned with “bagoong,” tomatoes, onions and ginger.


tabungaw_fruit

When it reaches its maturity (after about six months) and the shell is at its hardest, it is cut horizontally, the meat it taken out and sun-dried to extract moisture.

(Horizontally I mean…! Oh well, just to show you :) )

tabungaw_cut

After drying, it’s made into a hat by weaving inner cushion made of fine bamboo strips to fit the head to look like this:

tabungaw_display

In the province, they use it for the purpose that it is made but for some, especially in the Metro, it can be a good accent and conversation piece in their interiors.

I came across this link at Texas Gourd Society in the U.S. where they parade their “gourd hats” in different forms, sizes and motifs, giving the Ilocos Tabungaw a run for its money! :)

torn-signature

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Gallery | This entry was posted in A. ILOCOS, Gameng (Crafts), Ladawan (Photos) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The “Tabungaw,” “Upo” or Gourd Hat!

  1. Josh says:

    i rarely reply in blogs, but there is a few that i follow a lot.
    thank you for your postings, love them. קידום אתרים

  2. Dobbin Buck says:

    Can anyone please tell me how I can order one of these to my size! I would greatly appreciate any help in this matter!

  3. cyrus says:

    Believe it or not I got to use one of this when I was in Ilocos (nu aggatud tabako wenno agraep uray napigsa nga tudo di mabasa ta ulom). not ideal to use during the hot summer though.

  4. sistah says:

    Very well done!
    When we went to the Dominican Republic,people there have other uses for mature gourd;in the Philipppines,we make it into hats while in the Dominica,I’ve seen people use the shell as containers for anything and everything-coffee beans,vegetables,anything.

    Our tour guide said-which I thougt it is amusing but true- some use it as I qoute ” for pipi and for popo” which actually means….oh well! LOL! But make sure you’re using half of the gourd for that purpose and the other half for somthin’ else!

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