Up until a few decades ago, the word pamalis (pangwalis) was also common, and if you use it today, it can still be understood, because it is a conjugation of the verb walis and it literally means “something used for sweeping.”
Brooms of the Philippines
There are two types of native brooms used in the Philippines — the walis tingting for outdoors and the walis tambo for smooth floors indoors and perhaps on the patio.
Walis-tingting is abroom made from the thin midribs of palm leaves. The stiff ribs are tied up on one end. It is usually paired with a simply constructed dustpan, as you can see in the picture. The can used for the dustpan is usually a cutout of an aluminum can of cooking oil.
The ubiquitous Philippine cultural artifact found in almost every Filipino household’s bathroom.
tabò water dipper
tabo dipper used for scooping up water
tabuin to scoop (water)
Tabuin ang tubig. To scoop the water.
Tinabo ko. Used a dipper (to scoop up water).
ang tinabong tubig the scooped-up water
Tabo is also the name of the steamer mentioned in the opening sentence of Jose Rizal’s second novel El Filibusterismo (1891).
One morning in December the steamer Tabo was laboriously ascending the tortuous course of the Pasig, carrying a large crowd of passengers toward the province of La Laguna. She was a heavily built steamer, almost round, like the tabú from which she derived her name, quite dirty in spite of her pretensions to whiteness, majestic and grave from her leisurely motion.
In the United States, you can special-order online a tabo from the Fil Am Store in L.A.
A bilao is a flat round-shaped rice winnower, a traditional implement in the Philippines. It is usually made from woven wood.
To winnow is to free grain from the lighter particles of chaff, dirt, small stones, etc., especially by throwing it into the air and perhaps allowing the wind to blow away impurities.
Up until a few decades ago, you would see a bilao hanging in the back of the house by the kitchen. And you’d see women using a bilao to adroitly “turn” (toss) white rice grains on it for the purpose of removing unwanted particles, like small stones.
These days, you’re more likely to see the bilao used as a food container. So now, you’re most likely to see it lined with banana leaves on top of which a lot of food is arranged.