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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

In 1941, when the Philippines was going through the throes of the Second
World War, the commuting public had to do more walking because wheels and
gasoline were in short supply. Definitely, this wrought havoc on the inhabitants’
shoes. At this point the indigenous and traditional bakyâ (wooden clogs) came in
handy but the ladies had to go around in plain clogs – a shoe with a thick wooden
sole.

In Paete, Laguna, however, the wood carvers invested the bakyâ with
exquisite designs, which the local women cheered. Bakyâ, then, became high
fashion. From the late sixties to the late seventies, bakyâ even became the icon of
choice for those who wanted to declare their protest against the rule of then
President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The youth then, male and female, swore to wearing
bakyâ to identify them with the masa, the average Filipinos, who were clearly the
victims of a “conjugal dictatorship”. Some artists, the noted painter Danny Dalena
of Pakil, Laguna has of course opted to use the bakyâ as his official shoe wear.
(de la Torre, 2002)

As per House Bill No. 3926 by Congressman Rene L. Relampagos, bakyâ is


the national slippers of the Philippines and according to Cameron Kippen (2018),
bakyâ was made from local light wood e.g. santol and lanete. These were cut to
the desired foot size before being shaven until smooth. The side of the bakyâ was

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thick enough to be carved with floral, geometric or landscape designs. Afterwards,
the bakyâ were painted or varnished. Uppers of plastic or rubber were fastened
using clavos/clavitos.

Bakyâ became much sought after souvenirs in late 40s and 50s and were
particularly prized by the US personnel posted to the Philippines. The shoes were
ubiquitous until the 70s when their popularity began to wane as cheaper rubber
slippers replaced them. Bakyâ were demoted to shoes of low socio-economical
groups and the term ‘bakya’ became synonymous with poor taste.

As stated in the book, Philippine English: Linguistic and Literary


Perspectives, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, nationalist attempts to contain the
effects of Taglish were reflected in the urban, middle-class discourse regarding the
lower classes. A new term emerged to designate this heterogeneous population:
the bakya crowd. Coined in the early 1960s by Filipino film director and national
artist, Lamberto Avellana, to describe the types of the audiences his serious films
were explicitly not meant for, the bakya crowd (bakya being a reference to cheap
wooden clogs) was a way for the urban intelligentsia to conceptualize its other.
Jose F. Lacaba has written most instructively about the bakya as ‘anything that is
cheap, gauche, naive, provincial and terribly popular; and in this sense it is used
more as an adjective than as a noun’ (1983b: 117).

Footwear is a fashion icon that changes throughout times, echoing different


epochs. Fashion trends influence shoe design and model, as well as the height or
shape of the heel (Broega, 2017). Since it changes throughout times, remodeling
or design innovation occurs to go with the generation’s trend, at the same time to

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generate its real value, seek better solutions, and define its way forward.
(Epperson, 2013)

Bakyâ is a type of heel and a heel must not be painful to wear, rather, it
should give comfort to the feet of the wearer. According to AC Broega (2017),
Comfort is an emotional state defined by the simultaneous occurrence of physical
and psychological well-being induced by sensations, thoughts, images, objects,
environment and situation that invoke pleasant feelings and emotions (positive
hedonic valence)”. It is a fundamental requirement for the current society as it has
great relevance in the decision-making of the consumer when buying a product.

In this study, the researcher will also be focusing on the Pandan Weaving
of Luisiana. According to the website, lagunatravelguide.com, Luisiana is an
agricultural town in Laguna. Pandan grows abundantly in Luisiana; the products
made from pandan have become the town's signature products. In line with this,
pandan weaving became the main source of livelihood for most of its people. It’s
been considered a family tradition of the locals. They started weaving hats, mats,
and baskets. But when the cottage industry became bigger, the need for up-to-
date designs arise. The pandan weavers come up with stylish designs to keep up
with their growing market.

1.2 Project Rationale

The bakyâ has been in use for centuries in the Philippines, minimally in the
pre-colonial era, and widely in the Spanish era in the 16th century to 18th century.
Its peak popularity was in the 1950s during the American colonial era and was a
common souvenir for Americans visiting the country. However, the bakyâ industry

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dwindled with the introduction of rubber slippers. By the 1970s, it had its fall and
was rarely used. In certain areas in the Philippines, bakyâ is used as gifts for
weddings, a form of trophy for competition winners, and can mostly be seen during
cultural events together with the traditional Filipiniana dress. (Cagahastian, 2009)

Another problem arising is, the design of the old models of bakyâ are plain,
cheap, and old-fashioned that became a shoe and an instrument for labelling the
Filipino people under low economic class (Yuchengco, 2009). Therefore, the
researcher proposes to remodel the traditional bakya of Paete using the varieties
of woven pandan pattern designs to create an eco-friendly, creative, more durable,
and fashionable bakyâ. According to Laiwetchpittaya (2013), in a modern day,
shoes are not considered just items of footwear intended to protect and comfort
the human foot while doing various activities, rather, shoes are viewed by the
consumers as items of decoration, fashionable products that are used to enhance
self-image.

The purpose of this study is to remodel the inside and outside of the bakyâ
that will give comfortability as women wear and walk with it and that the “cheap”
and lowly bakyâ can be into fashion world and can be worn by anyone regardless
of their social status, at the same time, increase the understanding and exposure
of the Filipinos to the beautiful, unique and creative designs of bakyâ to regain
support to local products and crafts.

And as for the Pandan Weaving, the dilemma is the contribution of the
Pandan handicraft industry to community economic development was low. This
can be attributed to a confluence of factors such as poor production, management
system, and poor marketing system. (Decena, 2009)

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On the other hand, by incorporating the woven pandan patterns on the
contemporary bakyâ, Filipinos will be apprised that a traditional art or craft can go
along with the generation’s fashion trends. Filipinos must never forget patronizing
the local products and crafts. Unfortunately, most Filipinos haven't quite outgrown
the mentality that imported products are better than local products or that local
products are all-low quality. But, the truth is, our local products have cheaper
prices yet it maintains good quality. (Human Nature, 2014)

1.3 Objectives of the Study

Broadly, this research aims to remodel the traditional bakyâ of Paete


incorporating the woven pandan patterns.

Specifically, it aims to:


1. Identify the different styles and structures of bakyâ of Paete;
2. Identify the materials to be used in producing bakya;
3. Determine the stylish designs of the Pandan weavers of Luisiana, Laguna;
4. Sketch new concept designs of bakyâ;
5. Layout design elements to be used for the lookbook of the contemporary
bakyâ for the Filipino women.

1.4 Scope and Limitations

The study is primarily focused on remodeling the traditional bakyâ to a


contemporary bakyâ in a form of having carved geometric designs to the heel,
styling the old forms, and mixing woven pandan patterns as a new material. The
researcher will draft various design through sketch.

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The sole of the bakyâ will be made out of santol wood just like how the
traditional bakyâ was made then. If before, the bakyâ’s heels have carvings of
bahay kubo or flowers, the new bakyâ that the researcher will be doing is limited
with only 1 to 3-inch heel that is geometrically carved. Since, Paete is the Carving
Capital of the Philippines, and bakyâ is being made there, the researcher will seek
help from the Paete carvers in creating the heel and sole of the bakyâ.

The strap for the contemporary bakyâ is only limited to the woven Pandan
patterns of Luisiana, Laguna to promote pandan as a weaving material that can
be used and incorporated with different things. The designs or patterns to be
featured will be based on the stylish designs that Luisiana weavers offer. Also, the
researcher will be using patterns with earth tone colors.

The materials to be used in producing a lookbook as a supplementary


output include an 8.5” x 8.5” gloss-coated paper binded with a soft cover using
saddle-stitch binding. What’s inside the lookbook is a brief description of the
product, collection of photos showcasing models on contemporary bakyâ, its
details, and color scheme. It also contains information and anatomy of bakyâ, and
the pandan weaves used.

The study is solely limited to remodeling the bakyâ into a contemporary


and simple yet fashionable bakyâ, hence, the process of creation based on the
production and materializing the carving of the bakyâ are not covered by this
study. The researcher plans to research on the structures of the heels in order to
give comfortability to the wearer and also, to interview an orthopedic professional
and 3-4 bakyâ makers or carvers from Paete, Laguna and pandan weavers of
Luisiana, Laguna to gather information and data for the study.

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1.5 Significance of the Study

The study is significant and can benefit several kinds of individuals in different
ways:

Philippine Society. This study will be used as a tool to give awareness and be a
form of promotion to the society.

Shoe Enthusiasts. This study can benefit the shoe enthusiasts in having a new
knowledge on the modern bakyâ and can give them an opportunity to utilize new
and more fashionable bakyâ.

Filipino Women. This study will help the Filipino women in terms of enhancing
their confidence in wearing and patronizing the contemporary bakyâ.

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Millennials. This study will let the millennials understand the reason behind the
remodeling of bakyâ and patronize the contemporary bakyâ.

Wood Carvers. This study will help the Paete carvers and also the carvers all
over the Philippines to be inspired in forming a new and upgraded design of bakyâ.

Pandan Weavers. This study will give the weavers an idea or visualization of
how their woven pandan looks like when incorporated into the bakyâ as a craft
and a footwear. Also, to provide them rooms to enhance their skills and test their
creativity.

Researcher. The study will be able to help researcher to know more about bakyâ
and have a knowledge on the background and uses of the Woven Pandan Patterns.
This will also help the researcher to practice designing and executing one thing
with another.

Future Researchers. This study will be able to help future researchers for
references, design concepts, thoughts on traditional and contemporary bakyâ, and
pandan weavings.

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1.6 Definition of Terms

Adornment. It is generally an accessory or ornament worn to enhance the beauty


or status of the wearer.

Anatomy. It is the study of the structure and relationship between body parts.

Bakya. In this study, it is the national slippers of the Philippines that was made
from local light wood e.g. santol and laniti.

Carving. The act of using tools to shape something from a material by scraping
away portions of that material.

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Cheap. An adjective that means low in price; worth more than its cost.

Clavos. The Spanish word for "nails" or "nail". These are basically used to
decorate doors, gates, cabinets and other wooden items.

Clogs. A type of footwear made in part or completely from wood. Clogs are used
worldwide and although the form may vary by culture.

Comfort. In this study, it is an emotional state defined by the simultaneous


occurrence of physical and psychological well-being induced by objects. It is also
a fundamental requirement for the current society as it has great relevance in the
decision-making of the consumer when buying a product.

Connotation. An idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or


primary meaning.

Contemporary Bakya. In this study, it is a form of changing the structure, strap,


and its material, and the carve design of the heel.

Epochs. A particular period of time in history or a person's life.

Exquisite. Marked by flawless craftsmanship or by beautiful, ingenious,


delicate, or elaborate execution; pleasing through beauty, fitness, or perfection.

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Footwear. In this study, it is a fashion icon that changes throughout times,
echoing different epochs. Fashion trends influence shoe design and model, as well
as the height or shape of the heel.

Gauche. The lack of social experience or grace.

Gloss Coated Paper. This is typically used for flyers and brochures as it has a
high shine. As the ink dries well there is no need for a seal varnish as the ink does
not rub off.

Lanete. This wood is good for wood carving. It is also used for making furniture,
wooden shoes, kitchen utensils, chairs, musical instruments, chests, turnery,
window sills, and scabbards; and for other light construction purposes.

Lookbook. A collection of photographs compiled to show off a model,


photographer, style, stylist, or clothing line. Usually, bloggers or vloggers will
"model" fashionable looks for that month or season. This gives viewers ideas on
how to style outfits, or to show what the latest fashions are.

Naive. It refers to having or showing simplicity of nature or absence of artificiality;


unsophisticated; ingenuous.

Pandan. A tropical plant that thrives abundantly and widely just anywhere in the
Philippines. The plant's elongated and tender leaves with thorns on the sides are

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cut, made into strands, hang dried and are made into a durable material for
weaving.

Saddle Stitch Binding. The most common and economical binding method. It is
created by punching wire through the document’s outside spine.

Santol. Its wood can be used for lumber. It is reddish brown when dry, fairly
hard, moderately heavy, close-grained, and polishes well. In this study, it can be
employed for house-posts, interior construction, light-framing, barrels,
cabinetwork, boats, carts, sandals, butcher's blocks, household utensils, and
carvings.

Strap. A strip of leather, cloth, or other flexible material, used to fasten, secure,
or carry something or to hold on to something

Throes. Intense or violent pain and struggle, especially accompanying birth,


death, or great change.

Tradition. A belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with


symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.

Ubiquitous. Existing or being everywhere, especially at the same time;


omnipresent.

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Weaving. A method of textile production in which two distinct sets of yarns or
threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth.

Wrought Havoc. To bring about widespread destruction.

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