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Philippine Handicraft Industry: Their Benefits and Importance


Almost every family in the Philippines owns one or more handicraft products like baskets, brooms, feather dusters, bamboo sofa set, cabinets, and other furniture. Accessories like earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and other clothing apparel which young people today are fond of wearing are also made from native products like beads, shells, seeds, and others. This is a clear indication that our handicraft industry is enjoying the patronage of Filipinos nationwide.

Philippines is blessed with rich natural resources that are scattered throughout its 7,107 islands. These God-given natural wonders are the sources of people's food, shelter, and other basic needs. After some time, people acquired many skills that enabled them to tinker with nature. They used the raw materials from trees, plants, and other natural resources that are very abundant and turned them into simple, yet useful tools or instruments.

Today, many Filipinos are engaged in handicraft businesses. Handicraft-making has become a means of livelihood for them, especially now that many handicraft owners are exporting their products to Japan, United states, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other countries around the world.

The Philippines is the second largest world producer of handicrafts, mainly baskets out of indigenous materials. This industry continues to provide a respectable contribution to foreign exchange earning of the country (US$71.9M in 2000) while many handicraft items are also sold on the local market. All together, the sector is providing livelihood to more than 1 million Filipinos. Although the industry has experienced some setbacks over the last ten years, it has kept the respect of the high-end markets in the United States, European Union, and Japan and has only lost a great part of the low-end market to China, our main competitor.

Despite this, Filipino craftsmen have indigenously overcome scarcity and increasing prices of raw materials by constantly producing new designs for their products. Over the years, Philippine handicrafts have evolved through innovative changes in designs reinforced by exciting choices and combination of indigenous materials. There is, however still ample room for improvement, particularly in remote upland communities with little access to market information, brokering services, capital, and technologies for value addition.

Aside from these, the handicraft industry is important because of the following reasons:

  • It promotes our cultural heritage through the use of indigenous materials.
  • Handicraft products show an individual's creativity and lofty imagination.
  • Producers of raw materials will be encouraged to produce more.
  • Employment is generated especially for the undergraduates.
  • Values of perseverance and industry are developed.

Handicraft Tools

The tools commonly used in handicraft are of two types - the hand tools and the power tools. Hand tools are the tools for processing the article which are used manually or by hands. Power tools are tools for processing materials that are operated by machine. The tools commonly used in handicrafts are the following:

  • mallet
  • screwdriver
  • pliers
  • coping saw
  • chisel
  • hand drill
  • wrench
  • clamp
  • knife
  • smoothing plane
  • auger
  • hacksaw
  • paintbrush
  • folding rule, zigzag rule, steel rule
  • pencil
  • compass
  • hammer
  • blowtorch
  • soldering iron

Or, you might like to purchase online this basic Basketry Tool Kit.

Handicraft Materials

In order to create new handicraft products which can be sold locally or exported abroad, different raw materials which are available in the market are needed. Handicraft makers fashion them into baskets, bags, clothing accessories, cabinets, lamp shades, wall décor, bamboo sofa sets, cabinets, clothes, and others that one can think of using the indigenous materials.

Below are the indigenous materials (with images and descriptions) used for making the products mentioned above.

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If you are interested in basketry, here is the link -- The Basket Book: Over 30 Magnificent Baskets to Make and Enjoy

abaca fibers

abaca fibers


Known worldwide as Manila hemp. Abaca fiber is obtained from the leaf sheaths of the abaca (Musa textilis Nee) and is considered as the strongest among natural fibers. The length of the fiber varies from 3 to 9 ft or more, depending on the height of the plant and the age of the leafsheath. The color of the fiber ranges from ivory white to light and dark brown.




Superficially similar to bamboo, but distinct in that the stems are solid, rather than hollow, and also in their need for some sort of support. While bamboo can grow on its own, rattan cannot. Some genera (example Metroxylon, Pigafetta, Raphia) are however more like typical palms, with stouter, erect trunks. Many rattans are also spiny, the spines acting as hooks to aid climbing over other plants, and also to deter herbivores. Rattans have been known to grow up to hundreds of meters long.




Stems of bamboo plants are stronger and flexible. Bamboo grows in all parts of the country - in plains, forests, hills and mountains.

Among the varieties of bamboo are the spiny bamboo, kawayan China, kawayan kiling, bikal and buho.

coconut shells

coconut shells

Coconut Shells

Coconut trees are abundant in the Philippines. Coconut shells vary in thickness and color depending on the age of the nut. They are used for fuel and for manufacturing articles such as buttons, pins, coin banks, lamp shades, and flower vases.




A palm from which three kinds of fibers, namely buri, raffia, and buntal, are obtained. The buri palm has large fan-shaped leaves with stout petioles ranging from 2 to 3 m in length. The palm reaches a height of 20 to 40 m and its trunk attains a diameter of 1 to 1.5 m. Of the buri fiber, buntal is the one with the most impact in the market.



A material created through the tanning of hides, skins and kips of animals. Hides are skins from large animals like horses and carabaos. Skins come from such animals like alligators and goats. Kips are obtained from undersized animals like lizards. The tanning process converts the putrescible skin into a durable, long-lasting, and versatile natural material for various uses.

Interested in leather crafting? You might like to buy this book -- Get Started in Leather Crafting: Step-by-Step Techniques and Tips for Crafting Success (Design Originals) Beginner-Friendly Projects, Basics of Leather Preparation, Tools, Stamps, Embossing, & More

maguey plant

maguey plant

Fibers from Other Plants

They come from plants where fibers or threadlike substances are extracted. Fibers from coconut husks, buri, maguey, pineapple, abaca, and banana are used in making mattresses, carpet, and seat pads.


invoker14 on July 29, 2012:

i'll use your blogs for my thesis. thanks a lot..

Becher.Oblaxzz on August 02, 2011:

i'll have this for my research about handicrafts TOUR101 .. :) thanks for the info ..

darelyn on June 27, 2011:

nice answer it promotes are handicraft business.

gerlly quibrantos on June 02, 2011:

gusto ko po magkabusiness someday.. at isa ang handicraft business ang gusto ko..

magkano po sweldo ng mga employee sa isang hadicraft business..? may paper works po kasi akong ginagawa ngayon.. about sa sweldo ang need kong info..

brenz on May 23, 2011:

Hi! gusto kong magstart ng handifcraft business pero ung pwede lang gawin sa house to help my neighbors na di makaalis ng bahay at pwede silang kumita. anyone can give me ideas on how to start? thanks in advance.

rianne gegone on May 04, 2011:

I like this blog.... I learned a lot from this..I have now my ideas for my report...thx a lot...

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on April 20, 2011:

Jackie Mae Emia - Thanks for commenting. Have a nice day!

Jackie Mae Emia on April 19, 2011:

Nice article. Handcrafts making can really help everyone.Everybody is a subject for benefits from it. From kids to adult.

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on February 02, 2011:

lanskie30 - Hi! I hope these sites will help you:

lanskie30 on January 29, 2011:

hi beth, do you know some manufacturer of Bamboo Wind Chimes in the Philippines specially in central luzon?

please email me thanks!

diane mary on January 25, 2011:


msaota on January 17, 2011:


thank you so much.. I have a answer for my assign. ! :D

yssa on January 11, 2011:


alana on January 10, 2011:

nice!its informative i can use this in my class

kim on January 03, 2011:


popcorn on December 01, 2010:

thank you

.may assignment n kmi..

lora luna on November 15, 2010:

thnx for this, it really helps in my student in their homework! Godbless!

emm tecson on November 11, 2010:

very correct! yahoo!!!!

Kristine on November 11, 2010:

Thanks for this beth811 Thank you very much

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on November 08, 2010:

Hi, chol. Thanks for dropping by.

Try this:

Hope that helps.

chol on November 07, 2010:

Hi beth, very nice article. Do you know where i can contact one of the producers or artisans. The ones who really does the handicraft. Better if they are one of our indigenous people. I like to feature them in my site. The person/people behind the handicraft. Their story and how it has helped them in their livelihood. :)

I'll send you my email. Thanks in advance for the help. :)

Kristine on November 04, 2010:

This is my assignment in EPP

Thanks fir this hahahaha :)

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on October 12, 2010:

pit101 - This hub talks about how Filipinos are skilled at handicrafts out of indigenous materials and metal is not one of the indigenous materials in the Philippines.

I think you're talking about metal scraps. Will have to research on that topic and that could be another hub.

I appreciate your comment. I hope I could help you soon before you submit your project.

pit101 on October 12, 2010:

im not demanding you to put the meaning/use of metal but i really just want to know.... its part of our project in school:)

pit101 on October 12, 2010:

this info is very useful... but what about metal? metal is also part of handicraft materials...what is the use and meaning of metal in handicraft?

josefa tamayo on September 12, 2010:

the Bamboo is so useful to us

mhadz on August 21, 2010:

Im really proud of the hard-working and creative filipinos who really are resourceful enough to make different resources and even waste as a new and productive product,,,proud to be one of them.

Bituin on August 02, 2010:

pls. add info about cornhusk and agas as one of the handicrafts produced in the Philippines

josephine delacruz on June 26, 2010:




Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on May 13, 2010:

Thanks for visiting and commenting, borge. Yeah, proud to be a Filipino :)

borge_009 from Philippines on May 05, 2010:

I really like handmade furnitures and handicrafts specially bamboos and rattan. Thanks for sharing this to us. Proud to be a Filipino

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on February 14, 2010:

Hi, Rosalina. Thanks for visiting. Try this site...

rosalina on February 13, 2010:

Hello Beth,I am in the gifts industry and I have been looking for some manufacturers and exporters of small to medium size hand crafted gift items, i even tried to use a company head hunter in manila, the problem is, the wholesale prices of Philippine products are very expensive, i can buy them in the USA or Australia the same price at a retail shop. Do you have any direct manufacturer that you can recommend?

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on January 21, 2010:

Hi, cheryl. Thank you for reading and welcome to Hubpages.

It always is when one visits a foreign land, he/she brings souvenirs when going back home.

_cheryl_ from California on January 21, 2010:

Very interesting hub. I agree with dohn121, I had no idea the Philippines rankd #2 in the world for producers of handicrafts. My dad's there now visiting, he always brings back great little handicraft items!

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on January 19, 2010:

@ kritia - I'm happy to know that this hub helps you a lot. Goodluck in your studies!

kritia on January 19, 2010:

thank you so much for the info. i learned a lot and this will help me in my research :)

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on January 10, 2010:

@ shinujohn2008 - Thanks for dropping by.

@ Greg Cremia - Good to know about that. Thanks for patronizing our products. May I know what website is it?

Greg Cremia from Outer Banks on January 08, 2010:

I have a seashell website where I sell shells and crafts from the Philippines.

shinujohn2008 on January 08, 2010:

very helpful subject on Philippine Handicrafts

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on January 06, 2010:

@ jhozhette - Yeah, and we are proud of our country.

@ sakura0807 - I appreciate your comment. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

sakura0807 on January 06, 2010:

tnx for this article..... it's really useful especially for a grade 5 student like me. i could easily work on my assignments

jhozhette on January 06, 2010:

Philippines is cool,,

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on January 05, 2010:

Nice seeing you again, Maita! Thanks.

prettydarkhorse from US on January 05, 2010:

good job Beth, Best, I love bamboos BTW, Maita

aeblyn on January 05, 2010:

i like bamboo because he has many colors vof her kind

???? on December 09, 2009:

hey this is helpful

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on December 04, 2009:

@ Bridgesan & bhie27 - Thanks for reading and commenting.

bhie27 on December 04, 2009:

thank u very much because i hve new knowledge n handicraf


Bridgesan from United Kingdom on December 04, 2009:

I have friend from the Philippines, and man can she make nice food!

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on December 03, 2009:

@ habee - Filipinos are known to be industrious people. Thanks.

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on December 03, 2009:

@ is me & vilmenster - Thanks for your comments.

vilmenster on December 02, 2009:

love your site lots of learnings

is me on December 01, 2009:

amazing !

Holle Abee from Georgia on November 28, 2009:

Great hub! Wow, they sure are an industrious people.

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on November 28, 2009:

Thank you for your nice comment, GeneralHowitzer.

GeneralHowitzer on November 27, 2009:

Great article here beth... Showing our vast products here eh and highlighted them well...

GeneralHowitzer on November 27, 2009:

Great article here beth... Showing our vast products here eh and highlighted them well...

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on November 24, 2009:

I guess you come from the Philippines too, Kaiser. It's good to know that your hobby in making bamboo lamps made you succeed in that kind of business in a small way. I do hope and pray that it will expand to a bigger scale. Goodluck!

Thanks for reading and commenting.

kaiser21 on November 24, 2009:

nice.. helped a lot. thanks. i make bamboo lamps as a hobby but recently tried selling and its doing good. i wanted to try to sell in a bigger scale but there's still more to improve on.

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on November 14, 2009:

That's one thing we must be proud of too, Alta. Not only us, Filipinos who are patronizing our own handicraft products but other foreign countries, too. Kudos to us, Filipinos!

Alta5656 from Davao City, Philippines on November 14, 2009:

Wow! This is a good promotion, ms beth. Even Brad Pitt owns a Phil made furniture made of one of our indigenous materials. It was also featured in the movie Ocean's Eleven. Galeng, di ba?

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on November 13, 2009:

Thanks for taking your time to read this hub, dohn. I'm familiar with this kind of industry because I have many friends who are into this business.

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on November 13, 2009:

This was fascinating to read about, Beth. Thank you for the article. I had no idea that the Philippines is second largest world producer of handicrafts! I really like how you delved into the many raw materials used in such. Thanks!

Beth Arch (author) from Pearl of the Orient Seas on November 12, 2009:

Truth From Truth, thank you for your comment.

Truth From Truth from Michigan on November 12, 2009:

I really like bamboo furniture

good article

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