Before we went for a Tibiao River cruise that day, we first stopped at Sto. Rosario Mulch-purpose cooperative to check out their abaca native products.
Abaca is indigenous to the Philippines. Abaca fibers were already being woven into breathable fabrics and made into sturdy sandals in different parts of the Philippines long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines in 1521. The abaca is believed to have evolved in the Bicol region of the Philippines. Originally, commercial production of the abaca fiber was confined to the Philippines because abaca is a plant material that is government regulated. In about 1521, shipments of abaca root stocks were introduced into many different tropical countries, including fairly large plantings in Sumatra, Indonesia, in India, Andaman Islands, the West Indies and Central America. Small abaca plantings were also made in Borneo. While other plant materials like seeds and flowers are freely shared among countries. Particularly among research centers, the abaca plant is a restricted material and government regulated. Thus, if a country other than the Philippines claims to grow abaca, DNA testing will always trace its origin to the Philippines. (from abacaphilippines.com)