Lága ken Alát

September 02, 2011 to Jauary 02, 2012

The Enduring Basket

The Philippines is blessed with a bounty of bamboos, palm trees and myriad varieties of tropical plants that yield materials for basket weaving. Where these plants abound, families develop their skills in weaving articles for utility and also in indulging in a pleasurable hobby. Their agile hands enable them to weave useful objects such as hats, fans, baskets, mats, furniture and even parts of the house. Only when these beautiful baskets attracted outsiders did the basket weavers realize that they had a profitable skill. They became inspired and more creative. This gave rise to cottage industries producing baskets of every description elevating basketry to a higher level of art form.

In Ilocos Norte, the baskets are called laga, while they are known as labba in Ilocos Sur. The baskets are designed for different purposes used in farming, fishing, transporting and vending goods. More specialized are the grain baskets used in homes, granaries, public markets and stores. Laga are used as containers of different varieties of rice, beans and corn. In Ilocos Norte, most of these baskets are crafted in Adams, Carasi, Dumalneg and Nueva Era. Because of their fine local style and beauty, they are used as accents in interior and outdoor decorations. The public market is a living showcase where these baskets are in use, displayed and available for sale.

Today, still very much a part of the local scene and one of the most photographed subjects by visitors – is an old woman munching a home-rolled cigar in her mouth, balancing a heavily loaded laga on her head and tucking another basket in her arm, going from door to door vending goods.

Get your own baskets today!


The presence of rivers and other bodies of fresh water and the proximity of the South China Sea have made fishing a productive economic activity among the people of Ilocos Norte.

Although not at a commercial scale, it has become an important source of additional income for those who live near the sea and the river. To the Ilocano fishermen, the use of the traditional fishing techniques and implements is still widely practiced, which explains the wide selection of fishing baskets under the collection of Gameng: Museo Ilocos Norte being presented in this special exhibit.

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