Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tarlac is Named After a Weed

The reeds of the weed tarlak
Tarlak along with other materials
Tarlak fashioned as wall covering
Quick Post: The province of Tarlac, which was previously part of Pangasinan and Pampanga, was named after a plant. For the longest I have thought it was named after a small bamboo but turns out its namesake is actually a grass called malatarlak or matarlak.  Sources say that the word is Ilokano, but others state that the origin is Aeta, which literally means weed. Eventually the first syllable was dropped and tarlac remained. I am not sure what is the botanic name of tarlak or even if it only refers to one species.

Minnie Rosel against the backdrop of tarlak reeds
Aetas have long been using tarlak reeds as temporary construction material for walls or fences. In the mountain provinces, it seems the use of tarlac is also quite popular.  The Igorot people use the stick-like reeds in their farms as climbing frames for creeping vegetable plants.  Some Ifugaos even incorporate them in the construction of their famous houses.  And even as far as Manila, tarlak is popularly being used to add an ethnic flair to some modern Filipino interiors. So weed which is referred to as ugly can actually be used to beautify.


1784 said...

Wow! I never run out of new things to learn in your blog :) I guess it's related to arurog as well?

metscaper said...

Hi Alex. Not sure what arurog is. I also learn new things from you guys.

George said...

I'm guessing arurog is Maranta arundinacea.