Anna Velas-Suarin

Unity in diversity (lessons from a couple-tissue dispenser from Ifugao)

Hello dear readers! My blog has finally migrated to its own domain,! And I would like to celebrate this new “home” by sharing this cute couple with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

SMILE! SMILE! There is humor to be found even in the most sh--ty moments! (Update: Hubby and I decided on their names: Meet Ginger and Mushroom a.k.a "Kabute"!) ;D

SMILE! SMILE! There is humor to be found even in the most sh–ty moments! (Update: Hubby and I decided on their names: Meet Ginger and Mushroom a.k.a “Kabute”!) ;D

I met this “happy” couple from Banaue, Ifugao. I guess the message is clear, huh? I salute the wood carver who thought about creating these amusing characters. We have named them, Ginger and Mushroom (a.k.a Kabute). ๐Ÿ˜‰

You may be wondering why they are in different colors. Well, I found Kabute, the happy guy, in a shop by the Dayanara Viewpoint in Banaue (thanks to the shop owner-woodcarver who created him!). When I asked the shop owner why is he selling the male version only, he said that his “partner” was already bought earlier. I readily bought the male version, quietly hoping that I would find him a partner so he won’t get lonely as he settles down in his new home.

Luckily, on the way back to Manila, along the national highway (probably somewhere in Kiangan, Ifugao), I chanced upon another shop and found a couple! This time though, the couple is in brown varnish finish. The lady shop owner did not have the almost-black /antique finish that would seem perfect for what I already bought so I decided to get her female version (thinking that I would just had her re-painted with the black /antique finish later on). The lady shop owner gave me a small discount but did not want to go further because, as she eloquently explained, “…you are taking his partner away! He will be lonely!” (I can no longer argue with that, right?!)

When we got home and I placed Ginger and Kabute on top of a table, I realized that there is really no need to re-paint Ginger! They actually look sooooo cute together, right?!ย  So, yes, I would keep and enjoy them just the way they are: black and brown, unique in his and her own way, happy, funny, and very ‘ethnic’.

Most importantly, they remind us of one very important lesson in life: we may come from different backgrounds and cultures but we are still united by common goals and aspirations.

Of course, let us not forget their simple message: SMILE! Just smile! There is humor to be found even in the most difficult moments. ๐Ÿ™‚


Speaking of the wood carvers of Ifugao, this brings to mind the issue on total log ban. I have always been a supporter of Pinoy arts and crafts. However, I also believe that when creating art pieces and crafts, due consideration must always be given to how our livelihood activities impact the over-all integrity of our physical environment.

That is why I was glad to hear from the shop owner in Dayanara Viewpoint that the wood carvers of Ifugao are planting a tree for every tree that they cut. I know that there is still an ongoing debate on the total log ban issued by President P-Noy through Executive Order No. 23 and that the Ifugao woodcarvers are still negotiating with the government for an exemption. Nevertheless, hearing from the wood carver this kind of commitment certainly tells me that the right balance can be achieved. We only need to hear the side, too, of those who depend on forestry products, and at the same time, be more conscientious in the way that we utilize our natural resources. (For a related news article, please go to

I also hope that our legislators can already craft a law that will require all Filipinos to plant a tree on his/her birthday! I have began a small tree-planting+letter-writing campaign through this blog but I think that much more need to be done.

Calling all Philippine legislators to create this law soon!


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