Mighty Bayong is Back

Growing up with my grandma, I'm no alien to bayong or straw bags. On some mornings, I go with her to the wet market and carry her bayong for her. It's so durable that it carries a whole week's worth of meals for my grandparents and half a dozen kids whom she lovingly cooks for. We then go to her suki, to munch on suman at niyog (rice cakes with coconut shavings). Ah, how I miss those days!

Going back, and forgive me for reminiscing too much, bayongs are traditionally made from woven palm tree leaves, but in more recent years, other materials have been used such as plastic or waterproof fabrics. Unfortunately, as the world goes crazily modern, bayongs have been left on the shelves to dust. Plastic bags and baskets took their place. But with the perennial floodings in the country, the
Ondoy tragedy being the most traumatic, Filipinos started to respond to these wakeup calls and became more conscious of the ill effects of using plastic, styrofoam and other non-biodegradable things that not only clogs our drainage system but stays intact and toxic even after hundreds of years, some won't degrade at all! Yaiyks!

Just this week, to my delight, my office cafeteria started using paper boxes and brown bags for takeout, this is because effective Tuesday, January 18, the City of Muntinlupa started implementing an ordinance against the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials by all business establishments. Kudos to Muntinlupa government! I hope more cities and eventually the whole of Philippines will practice this, and sustain it too. There are hundreds of ways to do away with using plastics in our everyday lives, we just need a little effort and some creativity. Here are a few things I practice:

1. Bayong are cheap and very durable to use in the wet market. And don't forget that you can wash them with soap and water to avoid bacteria from accumulating.

2. Instead of sando bags, use brown bags. Or better yet, toss all dry goods inside your bayongs.

3. Wrap fish/shellfish with old newspapers (learned it from a zero plastic lady); meat can be wrapped in wax paper.

4. Bring your own reusable/foldable shopping bags. This is very popular now that you'll even have a hard time chosing among the vast varieties of designs! In fact, I have more than a dozen katya (cheesecloth)/eco bags! =)

5. Be an informed consumer. Read the label and inspect what you buy. I.e., I make sure to buy cotton buds with paper rather than plastic stems. The Face Shop has one made of bamboo. =)


I hope you learned a trick or two, and if you have more tips on avoiding the dreaded plastic, share it in the comments portion so more people can be informed, and hopefully, be converts. Let's all go green! =)

And to top it all, don't you think bayongs have evolved to be more attractive and can now be used outside wet markets? I like the purple one above so much!


  1. wow on the bayong being back on our fashion ISTATEMENT! LOL grabe..the reason why I can't carry one is because they are wide open no? NOt safe with our situation nowadays, pero if they have the zippered ones, why not coconut? :) Miss you dear and have a great weekend!


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