When I stumble upon good finds, I am able to justify the hours I spend scrolling through Instagram.
My most recent discovery is Liwayway . I spotted their carabao salt and pepper shakers in some celebrity’s account. Then I found out that they are also available in other national symbols such as the bahay kubo, bulul, and pineapple. My favorite is the jeepney. These beat the paperweights I used to carry when traveling abroad. I always make it a point to have tokens ready for new friends I make on a trip. Now I have something way better for them!
The white salt and pepper shakers are made of fine bone china while the colored ones are porcelain. The designs of the mold are hand-carved. Pouring of the mixture is done one by one, the holes are pinched and meticulously checked, then the paint is hand-sprayed. A set takes a minimum of one day to make and yes, they are manufactured locally by artisans from an industry that is on the verge of collapsing. In the past decade, several porcelain factories have shut down and those remaining are barely surviving. Liwayway may just be their only hope.
Established by Aurore Prudent-Roiland and Marjorie Delos Reyes on November 18 of last year, Liwayway was borne out of the need to raise funds for the Delepine Foundation, where both women work. “We are tired of waiting for donations to come in order for us to have funds for our projects. So we decided to create our own company so we can generate our own income and sustain our foundation’s projects without having to wait for donations,” they explained. Being humanitarian workers, they live with the spirit of mutual aid and development of the local network, so they’re excited about the possibility of reviving an industry.
“We started with the salt shakers but we already had in mind a great number of table products and other items – all you can imagine in a beautiful dining room, a kitchen where you enjoy to plot a meal,” said Marjorie.
Liwayway’s line also includes Sampaguita plates in four sizes: presentation plate, dinner plate, dessert plate, and bread plate. They also sell banig placemats, napkin rings, and cutlery pouches. Plus throw pillows (16”x16”) in jute fabric with prints of the jeepney, bahay kubo, pineapple, Anahaw leaf, and Sampaguita.
“Since the beginning, we’ve had a long term vision of what we wish to do, and what we would like to promote about the Philippines’ culture and traditions. A trip from north to south via the capital. Taking the road by jeepney, stopping by Banaue to admire the bulul. Spending nights under the roof of a bahay kubo then driving south along the pineapple fields, admiring the strength of majestic carabaos on the rice fields,” revealed Aurore who is the creator and designer. “Our vision is to go from the Filipino terroir, to take advantage of the artisans of the archipelago and to lead them to produce new objects respecting the local history and highlighting the expertise of the country,” she continued.
Guess what, she is 100% French! Aurore was sent to the Philippines in 1995 for humanitarian work and has been told time and again that her name translates to “liwayway” in Filipino. “The beauty of the Philippines begins in the morning so our company’s name was obvious to us,” enthuses Marjorie, the Filipino half of the duo. She focuses on the distribution aspect and according to her, aside from pop-up stores, their sales are generated from online orders. When the product you’d like to buy is available, they can send right after receipt of payment, via Lalamove.
Prices of the salt and pepper shakers start at P1,000.00 per set. If you want the gold-plated version, be ready to shell out P6,500. Sampaguita plates go for P13,500 for a set good for 4 persons, but can also be purchased by piece. The small (12”x16”) banig placemats sell for P180 per piece while the big (13”x19”) ones are at P200 per piece. Banig napkin rings and coaster are priced at P300 for a set of 4. Banig cutlery pouches are available in single pocket, P180 each and double pocket, P200 each. The jute throw pillows are sold for P900, including cushion.