Some things we just take for granted. Take the walis tingting, for example. Practically every single day of my life in the Philippines, I have seen someone using a walis tingting to sweep away leaves or other garbage from streets, lawns, etc. And I actually knew it was theoretically made from the ribs of coconut leaves, massed together to make a uniquely strong broom with needle like bristles, but incredibly pliable at the same time. But I had never actually seen it made until this recent trip to Malapascua. We happened upon a lady sitting under a coconut tree, making a walis tingting from scratch. Omigod. Mind numbing, labor-intensive work! But I suppose if you sing a song or daydream about your daughter graduating valedictorian from the local highschool, the time would pass quickly. She said it took some 3-4 branches of coconut leaves to craft one broom.
Using a small sharp knife, she just sat there amongst a pile of coconut leaves, stripping the green or yellow leaves from the central rib and setting aside hundreds of ribs to be grouped together into a broom. I asked her if she preferred to use the broom freshly made, or when it had dried out and hardened a bit, and without hesitation she said, “definitely better freshly made,” and preferably by her own hands. The purchased dried brooms at city markets were seriously inferior, in her view. :) She also said that the leaves could be used to make puso, those little satchels of boiled rice wrapped in banana leaves. Now that I have figured that out, would anyone care to educate me on what exactly is the tambo in a walis tambo? :) Thanks.