Puso weaving: Appreciating traditional art
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - October 26, 2013 - 12:00am

Being proud of what is truly ours drives us with confidence to face the future. In a world full of influences in various forms, from various directions and that we even come to the point of confusion of what is truly our own. Of what truly makes us, who we are, what sets us apart from the rest.

Last October 7, 2013 was indeed an experience that is worth reminiscing for me in my years of molding our young generation, a simple legacy as an advocate of local arts and culture. As a culminating activity of my Humanities 1 classes, it was in truth a mindful effort to conduct a puso (hanging rice) weaving.  

Taking note of the positive reviews from my students in my previous semesters in handling the subject, I made it a point to have it part of the curriculum. This is an innovation that would allow us teachers to enrich the curriculum to make our students' learning experiences more significant and meaningful. In this case, letting my students experience this traditional art form. Making them aware and understand that behind the easy eating experience of our staple food is the hardwork of our fellow Cebuanos.  

From the coconut tree, called the tree of life, comes the leaves (lukay) that are being used to make puso, the very leaves that also provide livelihood to our fellow Cebuanos. For many generations, this has provided life and meaning to the community. And on top of it, it gives pride to our race. 

To the new generation, the puso weaving is entirely unheard of. It's not easy to weave the puso. To them perhaps it has no meaning.

Puso weaving connotes the existence of an old method in food preparation. It shows us the wonder of putting rice into it, waiting for several minutes. But behind and beyond it is seeing the hardwork of the people and the great ingenuity, craftsmanship and creativity of the Cebuanos.  

Apart from the consciousness of the consuming public that it has several forms is the idea that it caters to all walks of life: ordinary workers, and even the "sosyals". Puso is present in many occasions that require easy food preparation and consumption. In social gatherings such as birthdays, picnics, or in fiestas, puso is ever present.

But I personally worry about this traditional art form as this is only practiced by few whose only aim is to supply local food chains. That the new young generation is merely a witness or consumer of it.

There must be a way that it can be handed down to the new generation. New generation should know this traditional art as this speaks of the greatness of our culture.

Integrating this in Philippine art and culture classes is I believe would make this art a living reminder of our inimitable past.

Teaching my students to weave is really my main objective as this makes them aware of this legacy of our past. They see the marvel with enthusiasm in weaving the puso. 

Semester after semester, this becomes my commitment to make this worthwhile activity part of my students' significant human experience.

Basing from their initial expectations in their first day of class that they will have puso weaving in the class is more than enough for me to pursue this activity. Indeed, doing it they were very serious, and enjoyed a lot. In their student life, they know that there is such an art form that provides livelihood. At least in their lifetime they know of a very common foodstreet that its creation is not even known to many.

The pride of our human race must continue to be felt by our present generation-and the future generations, an enduring means so as this traditional art will continue to be a source of pride, an identity to what we truly call our own. Such a shared pride—a force that will bind us.

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