Philippine abaca or hemp used to be the Philippines’ main export item to the international market. Philippine abaca’s appearance is similar to that of banana, but appearance is the only thing that ties the banana plant and the abaca. The abaca plant is native to the Philippines although it is grown as well in Borneo and Sumatra.
In the Bicol region in southern Luzon, one of the biggest producers in the Philippines, abaca is known as ‘bacbac’ which means bark in English. The abaca plant is known for its great economic importance in the region and in the Philippines as a number of industries are built around the by-products that can be sourced from the plant.
The ‘bacbac’ or bark from the abaca plant is just one product that can be sourced from the abaca plant. This material can be used to weave functional baskets, storage boxes and bags. The fiber from the abaca plant is used to make twines and ropes and other products such as like envelopes. Abaca fiber can be also be used to make high-end bags.
Recently, the Philippines’ abaca fiber was reported to be used in some of Daimler AG vehicles. The German luxury car maker is negotiating with the Philippine government to buy the abaca fiber, using it as a filling for Daimler’s automobile seats.
Mabuhay ang Philippine abaca!