Karagumoy is the most ubiquitous craft material in Bulusan. From its stripped leaves, mats, hats and the popular bay-ong baskets are made.
The natural hats commonly seen drying in the sun along the road in the Poblacion and villages are 100% made of karagumoy–a truly green hat.
Often mistaken as grass hats or palm hats, karagumoy is actually a species of the pandan family botanically classified as a tree. The fruit shown is as big as a jackfruit but grows longer and more cylindrical that produces plantlets from its seeds. However the locals prefer to cultivate karagumoy from suckers growing near the mother plant to save time.
It is naturally grown without the need of fertilizers and pesticides under the shade of coconut and pili nut trees. Karagumoy is a perennial plant and once planted it continues to produce shoots ensuring non-stop harvests of strong and firm leaves gathered sustainably by the locals.
These plants could be easily sighted along the roads of Bulusan town from end to end as one enters the municipality. It is still abundant and contributes much to Bulusan’s biodiversity.
The gallery with my karagumoy photos can be viewed at PhytoImages : http://www.phytoimages.siu.edu/imgs/pelserpb/r/Pandanaceae_Pandanus_simplex_61622.html
Photo: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines