Siargao: LOKAL Lab Weaving Experience

Visiting the LOKAL Lab in Siargao is an experience that helped me connect with the locals and actually learned about how the lifestyle of most people changed but they still managed to preserve their own culture and traditions while promoting a sustainable lifestyle in their community.   


What is LOKAL Lab?

LOKAL Lab is a Non-Government Organization in Siargao that serves as a platform for local artisans and producers. It envisions a community that can sustain itself first by providing sustainable projects and promote local culture at the same time. 

Apart from becoming accessible to the community, producers, and artisans, LOKAL Lab can also be a platform to reach customers from the hospitality and tourism industries as well. This can be a highway for them to generate more income and gather more funds for their future products. This will help ensure food security within their community. 

By building this foundation, LOKAL (local) communities will be more equipped to assert themselves and their lifestyle against irresponsible tourism. When local communities are empowered, they can use tourism to their advantage instead of being exploited by it. 

Facebook Page: LOKAL Lab
Website: Lokal Siargao

Price


The price of the weaving class is 500 pesos per person. I suggest that you just take the Bathala Tour at 2,000 pesos per head inclusive of the whole tour experience, the transportation, snacks, and the weaving class too.


How to get there?

Burgos is about 30-40 minutes drive from General Luna. Since this is a part of the My Siargao Guide tour, we rode a jeepney going to the area.


The Weaving Class

As we arrived at the area, the locals warmly welcomed us and directed us to the second floor of the ancestral house where LOKAL weavings classes are conducted. We were told that it is also home to their #LokalInspire sessions. I love how they were able to preserve the ancestral house and turn the place into space where creativity and tradition can be fostered and passed on to the new generation of Filipinos and even share it with the world through the foreign tourists.

The preservation of the house is something that I am amused about. It looks like our old house in Cagayan Valley where I grew up visiting during summer. It is what I often envision when they say 'Local Filipino Lifestyle' and true enough, they were able to preserve the local lifestyle of Siargao and the old Filipino way of living.


The weaving class eventually started having a 1:2 ratio of a local instructor to two guests. It is quite a good ratio given the price of the class session, the quality of the class, the materials, and the time they spent teaching us. Plus, the instructors are nice enough to talk about the history of the place and their childhood growing up in the neighborhood of Siargao. 

The class will take about an hour and the most exciting part for me are the stories of how they became weavers and how the tourism industry in the area helped them preserve their culture and enjoy the things they were good. Life on this island is simple yet filled with plenty of tangible and intangible cultural heritage that I also hope people will appreciate in the future. I am looking forward to the days when people will not just talk about the beach and surfing in Siargao but also the well-preserved traditions of the locals.


Other things you can expect at the LOKAL Lab:


Talking about their other handmade crafts, they are also selling their weaved handicrafts on the first floor of the ancestral house. There are plenty of items on display to choose from and since this is where most of the items are handmade with love, the prices are more affordable than that of the ones sold in the market. The items aren't just for souvenir purposes if you plan to purchase some, they are actually useful tools some of us use at home.


They also sell eco-friendly bamboo straws, cups, and circular baskets (bilao), fresh honey, and homemade bottled dishes as well. They also have decorative materials made of shells that are perfect as your room or living room. They are all handcrafted by local artisans in Siargao and the quality of each item is well-guaranteed.


They have an updated price list of the products every day and the products are all placed on a display area like how we usually see it in a talipapa (a small local Filipino market) where you can buy bulk or retail items. The difference between their market and the traditional ones is that they even have murals on their walls. You can easily appreciate how they were able to incorporate heritage, art, and local lifestyle in a single roof.


These are some of the fresh local products you can buy in LOKAL Lab. It is also my first time to see 'sitaw' (string beans) that's actually purple. Aside from veggies, they also have fruits available as well.



We were served with a local version of Fresh Lumpia (Lumpiang Sariwa), a vegan type of food containing freshly prepared vegetables from the LOKAL Coffee shop. The special feature of this dish is that the wrap is a bit toated making it a bit crunchy than the usual fresh lumpia. It is served with s sweet peanut sauce that's a bit similar to the sauce used in the food Phad Thai. 


 
They also have a Lokal Coffee shop and I tried this special coffee. As I've mentioned in my Facebook post before, this is a simple yet memorable coffee for me since it tastes like the usual 3-in-1 coffee mix but the coconut and cinnamon flavor added to it made the whole coffee experience refreshing! This is a must-try when you visit here. They also have halo-halo which we were told that we should include on our bucket list to try but it was unfortunate that it was sold out during the time of our visit.


A few blocks away, they also have a public market with a scenic view of the ocean. I love how the design actually fits as a frame if you plan to take photos. Don't forget to include this experience on your list when you visit the island. 


Location

LOKAL Lab Siargao

Purok Kalachuchi, Burgos,
8424 Surigao del Norte



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