MOMI WANDERS/ borlas de pastillas

Feb 16, 2016 | Only Berlin

I met 92-year old Nanay Luz two years ago and though she may look old, her thinking is still very sharp and her smile, very sweet.  She used to do pabalat (borlas de pastillas) or commonly known as pastillas wrappers.  What sets Nanay Luz’s pabalat so different from others is her intricate design.  She has also carved a name in Malolos, Bulacan for being one of the last, if not the last, person to do borlas de pastillas.

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Nanay Luz and her only daughter Ate Naty.

Nanay Luz learned the craft at the tender age of 11 as part of their home economics class in school.  She lives and studies in San Miguel, Bulacan.

Sadly though, the art of pabalat is slowly diminishing with only a few doing it today.   Good thing before Nanay Luz finally retires from doing borlas de pastillas, she is able to pass the knowledge of creating these detailed paper art  to her only daughter Ate Naty.

“Making borlas de pastillas or pabalat is one tedious task that tolerance is very much needed.  Full attention is also very important as one cuts the elaborately designed paper,” Ate Naty shares.

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She recalls that her mother got inspiration of her designs from nature. The older Ocampo is also very observant of her surroundings that she was able to make paper patterns of bahay kubo, Maria Clara, farmers, flowers, and rice fields among others.  She now has so many design patterns which were all patented.  She also custom-made designs upon requests of clients. Among her big clients until today are the Ayalas.

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With a number of patterns readily available, Ate Naty traces the design on a papel de hapon.  After the tracing comes the tiresome part – the cutting.  One needs to cut through the tiny holes and very detailed design, which may take minutes or hours depending on how fast one can be.  Though tedious, the cutting may be very therapeutic, too, says Ate Naty.

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These colorful and elaborately designed paper patterns are used to wrap pastillas de leche, a favorite Bulacan delicacy.  Today, though, most pastillas bought in Bulacan sweets shops are using 0rdinary papel de hapon.  But with or without the pabalat, pastillas de leche is still considered as one of the well-loved Filipino desserts.  It is made from sugar and milk that comes from  carabao.  Many elderly would prefer carabao milk as its taste is richer and creamier than milks from cows, giving the pastillas de leche a luscious melt-in-your-mouth quality.

This Bulacan delicacy becomes even more special with the borlas de pastillas the locals like Nanay Luz and Ate Naty does.  Through the years, the borlas de pastillas has transformed a local folk tradition into a popular art in Malolos, Bulacan.

These pastillas wrapped in pabalat have also become popular gifts and pasalubong among local tourists and balikbayans visiting the province of Bulacan. So, if you wish to learn how to do it or to order pastillas wrappers, you may contact: Ate Naty at 0999 1898827 or 0922 8611379

* I’ve been wanting to finish this post months ago but to no avail.  Finally,  I was able to post this last week.  Yesterday morning though, Ate Naty relayed the sad news that her mom Nanay Luz has joined her Creator last night Feb 20. Her remains will lie in their house in Malolos, Bulacan and will be transferred to San Miguel, Bulacan on Wednesday morning.   This news saddened me.  And so I made some edits and posted this again  to remind myself that once upon a time, I have met one selfless and talented soul who left us with such great legacy.  I hope that our Lord brings you and your family the much-needed comfort and peace during this sad time.  Again, our condolences.  

21 Comments

  1. Mommy Queenelizabeth

    Those paper wraps were gorgeous.. mahirap sya gawin sa tingin pa lang.. Sad to hear the news.. Im sure she’s happy now with our creator and maybe she’s watching those that she left making the pabalot for pastillas.. Amazing that she had reached such an age..

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Yes, may she rest in peace. We tried doing the pabalat and my hands ached. Maliit Na scissors gamit and merong maliliit Na butas ba kailangang gupitin.

      Reply
  2. Neri Ann

    Wow I never learned that on Home Economics! I wish they will still teach that like crochets, embroidery etc. That is one great art! Buti na lang naipasa ni Nanay Luz ang kanyang talent! May she rest in peace.

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Oo nga e. Ako din Di Ko Na inabot YAN sa home economics. But sana nga maituro sya. Yes, may her soul rest in peace.

      Reply
    • msbolin

      Yes, quite impressive. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Cheanne

    The details are super nice! I have such high regard for those who have the patience and skill to do that because I surely don’t. It’s a great loss to have lost a talented woman but I’m sure she’s happily creating more pabalats up there. 🙂

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Haha. She maybe teaching the angels now how to do the pabalat na. hihihi. May her soul rest in peace. Thank you.

      Reply
  4. Joy Mendiola

    you were fortunate to have met her. may her soul rest in peace.

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Yes, very fortunate. Thank you. And may her soul rest in peace. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Lady Anne Louise Barrun

    For 92 years old and she still have a sharp mind is incredible. I feel sorry for Nanay Luz family. I’m sure she will always be remembered by her love ones.

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Yes, very sharp pa. And yes, surely she will always be missed and remembered. 🙂

      Reply
  6. mommymadz

    I remember those pastillas covers. They are so beautuful .Her patterns are so exquisite.I am sure her creative legacy will continue with her daughter.You are really blessed to have met her.

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Yes, really thankful I’ve met her. May her soul rest in peace. And yes, her designs are so intricate and detailed.

      Reply
  7. mhaan.a-ds

    I remember those papel de hapon in my childhood days! And im craving for pastillas now, one of my all- time sweet. Sad to hear the news about Lola Luz but she’s with our Creator and watching over her loved ones.

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Yes, I love pastillas too. My mom would visit a client in bulacan once in a while and she would alwAys buy me pastillas. Ihihi. The pastillas though do not have that elaborate Borlas. Yes, she’s happy watching over her loved ones Na. 🙂

      Reply
  8. tweenselmom

    I remember when I was younger, I watch a tv program showing how to make those beautiful pastillas wrapper laces. Ang galing talaga.

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Nakakahanga, no? How I wish it was also taught to us sa HELE.

      Reply
  9. den

    Those are works of a very well artist. I’m sure that she is happy now, resting with our creator carefully watching over after those who will continue what she’s done.

    Reply
    • msbolin

      Truly an artist. And yes, may her soul rest in peace. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Nilyn Matugas

    Ouch. My heart goes out to her family, she will truly be missed. On the brighter side, she is now in a world where there’s no more pain. Her work is amazing, I don’t even know if I can have all the patience to do that. Sobrang ganda.

    Reply

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Motherhood, as I live it, is a gift not everyone can appreciate until she learns to truly live it. More musings and realizations, fun discoveries, and mommy tips at Momi Berlin's blog.

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