Today’s humble pancit and kakanin platter is tomorrow’s pricey wall dÃ©cor.
When luxury brands and fashion houses brought back phone cords, safety pins, and zip ties and turned them into posh fashion pieces, we thought, “hey, at least they put a unique twist on a tacky object,” and left it to lavish fashionistas to buy. We didn’t even bat an eye when the staple tabo was marketed as a lush product, because we knew it was a joke.
But when we heard that Pottery Barn was serious in calling the modest bilao an “accent wall art” and pinned an absurd P15,000 price tag on it, that’s when we drew a line.
“Round out your accent wall with this impressive woven art piece made from bamboo,” the product description read. “Reminiscent of open-air market selling baskets, with a slightly concave shape and shallow rim, it adds warmth, texture and eclectic style wherever it’s hung.”
Why do they say “reminiscent” like we didn’t just buy puto kutsinta placed in one of these this morning?
Rightfully so, netizens went nuts over the ridiculous product. As it turns out, it isn’t just Filipinos who were fuming over the expensively billed bilao, because this bamboo basket or tray used for winnowing is used in other Asian and South American countries as well.
And it isn’t even the fact that the bilao has been made into an expensive accent piece that riles us up. What bugs is the bourgeois appropriation of the most mundane objects that turn cultural artifacts into commodified products.
Because if they can do this to the bilao, then where does it stop? Is it just a matter of time until we see a glamorized kulambo sold as a $500 “sleep essential”?
Nope — we’re sticking to supporting our local pancit businesses for that free bilao, thank you!