Women and wild grass – became the two main ingredients behind the “Binuatan Creations” .The company was born last January 20, 2002. Binuatan is a Cuyonin (the native Palawan dialect) word for creation. Now, in Puerto Princesa City, it has become synonymous with woven products made from grasses and fibers such as Buntal fibers, mangrove grass, amumuting, buri sprigs vetiver, tikog, banana trunks,abaca trunks and fibers, florica, onang, pektoy-pektoy, danilnil, yayena, isay and mondy grass, and a lot more. Considered weeds, many of these names were given by the tribal people; some were unnamed as they had no function, and some were named after the women who were with the founder when they found them at the first time or who owns the land where they found that particular grasses.
The women began to weave with the wild grass, which had been adapted to add texture and color. A series of skills trainings on weaving and special dyeing process from DOST transforms the homely brown weeds to irresistible shades of fuschia, mauve and other rainbow colors. Further trainings and consulting with established entrepreneurs honed the skills and confidence of Binuatan creations.
The combinations are fresh and exuberant. Binuatan is both practical and beautiful, sturdy and ephemeral, depending on the combination of material. At the start, their lack of learning in design is, in fact, a valuable creative asset. “No rules, no set color combinations, just put the materials on top of the table and kind of play with them – lime greens alongside mauves, oranges and pinks, with browns matched with waste buri cuttings and seeds of all sizes and shapes. Some of the designs come from the women weavers who have also developed an eye for what works,” .Presently, they make placemats and table runners, bags and pouches, window shades and curtains, cellphone holders, envelopes and folders, wall hangers and organizers, wallets and purses, note pads, ref magnets, slippers, headbands and bracelets and etc. But also, buyers can design what they require. Thier weavers and sewers can customize.
At its most productive, last 2005-2007, Binuatan had 130 looms spread out over various communities servicing orders from two exporters supplying to calvin kliens and other big buyers in America and Australia. However, currency ﬂuctuations of the Dollar versus the Peso have ﬂattened out the export markets and adjustments have had to be made. The management strive hard to be part of tourists destination at city tours. And truly, a Gods blessing -The undreground river was starting to bring more tourists to Puerto Princesa by joing the 7 wonders of nature- makes the Binuatan survived. The financial rewards are evident, women felt the financial benefits and, most of all, the communities gained in confidence.
The women work from home, which allows them to do household chores while working, and also involves the whole family in the process. When one husband, whose wife was a weaver was eased out of his job, he began to weave and others soon followed suit. Binuatan also trains students who work to earn tuition. The founder put herself through college with the help of relatives and friends who mentored her by giving free board and lodging and financial help, so she gets a big high when she is able to help others. Each bag or placemats that is bought, benefits not only one person or one corporation, the ripple effect reaches right back to the source.
Today, there's one main showroom with a shop and looms in Santa Monica. As part of tour package being offered by the tour agencies, local and foreign tourists were allowed to experience the the weaving itself. Weavers are entertaining and teaching them how to do it. after which they will be guided at the showroom where the woven products are sold.