Wednesday, February 12, 2014

From Bamboo to Barbecue Stick

Larged leafed buho grow alongside exotic kawayang tinik
Bundles of collected buho
Ever wonder where the barbecue sticks used for your favorite banana-cue snack comes from?  Part of it is harvested from buho stands growing in the mountain areas. Buho or Schizotachum lumampao is a native bamboo species growing in forests and  mountains around the Philippines.  Buho can be collected growing wild in the foothills of  Zambales and its neighborig provinces.

Sticks are dried at roadside
Culms are cleaned
We chanced upon how it was done when we surveyed an Aeta community there. The bamboo grows intermittently alongside domesticated clumps of kawayan tinik (Bambusa blumeana) used for construction. I am not sure whether the bamboos the Aetas use are wild or cultivated, but it seems several households make their livelihood out of manufacturing the utilitarian sticks.
stick that you know drying on the pavement
Dried sticks are bundled up together
Acacia auri is claimed to be also used for making the sticks
Buho has thinner culm walls, allowing it to be easily cut into strips for the sticks, or pounded down to become sawali fiber. The indigenous people collect the buho culms and bring them down to the community.  They would find a space under a shade tree to clean and cut the culms down uniformly into your familiar barbecue stick.  Then they would be laid down at the side of the road to let dry. After a  few days they would be bundled up and sold at the nearest neighborhood palengke

It is tedious process but the local performing the rigorous task is said to only earn a few hundred pesos for the week's worth of work.     

No comments: