Bicol Products

Bula Masarig: Engineered Bamboo

Every town in the Philippines is famous (at least nationwide) for one thing or another. Bicol is tagged as the Sili (chilli) Capital of the Philippines. And every town in Bicol is also well-known for a specific crop, product, or tradition that is endemic in the region.

For instance, Naga City is known for its kinalas (a noodle soup not so different from the batchoy of Visayas), Sorsogon for its Pili fruits and baluko (a kind of edible shellfish), Daet for the sweet Formosa pineapples and kakanin (variety of cassava or sticky rice cakes), Ligao for its Christmas lights and the town of Camalig for its pinangat (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk). There are many more to mention but each town is special because of something and they hold festivals each year to celebrate the products that are uniquely their own.

Now, let’s talk about the town of Bula. Do you know that this place is known for its vast supply of bamboo? Bula is a quaint little town located in Camarines Sur. It is also one of the oldest municipalities in the province (one of the first four towns along with Naga, Quipayo and Nabua) founded by the Spanish conquistadores when they came to the Philippines in 1500s.

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Photo credit: bulamasarig.com

Bamboo is the town’s pride and joy. Not only does bamboo beautify Bula’s surroundings but it puts the town on the map thru the innovative way of turning this locally revered humble grass into a piece of beautiful art – the engineered bamboo.

bula_masarig_e-bamboo_officetable
Photo credit: bulamasarig.com

In 2012, the Local Government Unit of Bula (together with the DOST, PCW, DTI and DOLE, built a Common Service Facility (CSF) located in Barangay Pawili with an area of 1.260 hectares.  The CSF aims to promote and support the One Town, One Product (OTOP) vision of the municipality with bamboo furniture as the flagship product. This facility was built in order for the people of Bula to master the technology of bamboo engineering, develop ways to further strengthen the bamboo and come up with beautiful and classic designs. The CSF intends to bring livelihood, art, and culture together. It naturally brought jobs to many people and pride to the otherwise sleepy town.

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Photo credit: bulamasarig.com

The engineered bamboo furniture, fixtures, home decorations and novelty items are now available to purchase and order at Bula Masarig, the organization that sells these products. They recently put up their website and although the “Cart” menu is not yet working, interested buyers may inquire about the products, prices, availability and shipping via the inquiry box and thru their mobile numbers.FURNITUE,FIXTURES1

Many people pass by Bula through the Maharlika Highway, usually on the way to Albay or Naga City, and they hardly see the true character and beauty of the town. Its charm lies in its simplicity and tranquillity, its magnificent sceneries, captivating agricultural landscapes and breath-taking views. Bula Masarig captures the essence of the place and lovingly incorporates it into every piece of furniture to give you the same kind of experience right in the comfort of your own home.

 

 

 

 

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Bicol Products

Lipote Red Wine with Sea Salt (Naga City)

This weekend, we chanced upon this business month exhibit going on at SM Naga City, today is the last day actually and we were just lucky to catch it. There were a couple of nice stuff we did see. Some booths showcased a lot of local products like furniture, delicacies, candied local fruits and wine. They were selling unique items from nipa vinegar to skin peeling products promising to make one’s skin fair and young looking.wine 1

Actually, as I am writing this, I feel a little tipsy as I have just again sampled the Lipote Red Wine that I am blogging about. That is why I think it took me a really long time than necessary to write my first paragraph. By the way, this Lipote Wine that I am featuring was made by Yulaik Wine Products located along Universal Road in Triangulo, Naga City.lipote wine 2

I have sampled three of their wines – the Lipote Red Wine, Lipote Red Wine with Sea Salt and Guyabano White Wine. Among the three, my least favourite was the Guyabano wine. I found it has a bit of an unpleasant after taste which resembled bitter medicine or unripe fruit. The Lipote Red Wine, however, was pleasantly tangy and sweet. It reminded me of the baligang fruit which I know so well, being a fruit of my childhood. Now, when I tasted Lipote Red Wine with Sea Salt, I thought it tasted the best among the three. The salt really did make a difference, as subtle as can be, but still a noteworthy difference.lipote wine 3

Now for those of you who are not Filipino, Lipote is a fruit that is found only in the Philippines and locally known in Bicol as baligang. It looks like blueberries but with a deeper color and a lot more tangy in taste. One bite of the fruit and the blood like juices just burst. The popular way to eat this is by first vigorously shaking the fruits inside a container along with salt and sugar. You allow the fruits to soak in its own natural juices, which resembles blood more than red wine really. Then you eat the delectable flesh which is sweet, salty and tangy all at the same time. And if you’re like me who likes these kinds of stuff, you will take a swig of the juice as well. Now this juice is so potent that it always did cause me to have red blotches all over my neck and face and I would always feel a little tipsy like I just drank liquor. And that was not even fermented yet, so you can imagine how potent the wine can be (or maybe I just get drunk easily lol).

Lipote fruits
photo credits: fruitipedia.com

I am no wine connoisseur, but drinking red wine is one of the few pleasures that I allow myself to have. There are just times when the thought of the red wine chilling in the fridge is the very thing that gets me through all those stressful Mondays. Just half a glass each time (I’m not yet an alcoholic, people).  My opinion on wine may be biased as well since I really prefer red, sweet red to be exact. My all-time favourite is Carlo Rossi Sweet Red wine, it’s just so subtle and the effect on me is a good night’s sleep each time. I buy Doña Elena sweet red wine as well. I find that it has a stronger alcohol content, less sweet, but it’s cheaper and comes in a bigger bottle.wine 2

Yulaik products also include dried fruits, jams and condiments all packaged very nicely. They will make good gifts during special occasions like weddings and anniversaries or will be great souvenirs for those who are looking to get an authentic taste of what Bicol has to offer.