Wednesday, 9 July 2014

My Bacolod 'Banig' Laptop Bag From Goes To Gangnam!

Before I fly back to Seoul, Korea, I usually visit the local stores and markets in the Philippines for shirts, shorts or local products that are uniquely Filipino that I could use in Korea.

And one time, my sister and I dropped by the Bacolod Central Market, not only to check out the local delicacies sold at the entrance at the Luzuriaga Street side, but also to look for a locally made bag for my laptop. The idea actually came up while I was still in Seoul; I needed a new laptop case since the one I was using was a bit heavy. I needed something unique.

While we were looking around the market, we first made a stop by a lady selling all these native delicacies: puto, kalamay-hati, bitso-bitso, puto kutsinta and a lot more. I had to get me some of my favorite bitso-bitso, a delicacy made from ground glutinous rice and then deep fried in a coat of brown sugar. It's sticky, twisty and yummy!

But as we moved on to the handicrafts section, I stumbled upon a stall that sells all these bags, hats and table mats made of dyed palm leaves. The stall owner had her wares hanging high up and laying by the display rack below. And I had to ask her whether she had a bag that's perfect for a laptop. 

                (Unique, woven bags hanging at her stall)

She then showed me one brown-ish colored bag with a leatherette handle and slim enough just to fit a laptop in! It was made of dyed leaves woven like the traditional 'banig'. A 'banig' is a popular mat made of woven leaves, usually dyed. The weave may be intricate in design or in simple geometrical lines. In the Philippines, it's usually used for sleeping. What the lady showed me is the exact bag I had in mind!

And it didn't cost that much! It was less than 500 pesos, or less than KRW10,000!
                    (Hats and other handicraft products)

         (The banig bag visits the Starbucks coffee shop in 
                     my Hannam-dong neighborhood.)

I brought the 'banig' laptop pouch with me to Seoul and I now use it whenever I need to go to a coffee shop with my MacBook.

A few weeks ago, my friend Inpyo saw the banig bag and thought it was one of those luxury labelled bags sold in Seoul that cost more than a hundred dollars. I told him I didn't buy it from a pricey department store in Seoul; I bought it at Bacolod Central Market. Ha-ha-ha!  

Although it hasn't ridden the Seoul subway yet, my banig bag has gone around my Hannam-dong neighborhood, to Itaewon, to the Banpo Park and of course, to Gangnam

So, if you see someone on the street carrying a banig bag, you know who he is. And where that banig bag came from. :-)

           (The banig laptop pouch goes to Banpo Park! 
    That's my friend Joy's left hand holding up the bag for me.)

            (My 'banig' laptop pouch goes...Gangnam Style!)

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