The Tabungaw gourd hat is made from a big round gourd that is unique to the Philippines, which are part of the Cucurbitaceae family. Teofilo Garcia, a gourd hat maker, was named the National Living Treasure Awardee in 2012.
He plants his seeds in December, and harvest the crop in March. The gourds are left in the workshop to be cured and dried, then cut into two halves and left on the ground for about a month. Ants attracted to the rotting pulp will remove the insides, leaving the case empty. It is then finished by hand and left to dry completely.
The upper half of the gourd is used to make the Tabungaw. The bottom half becomes a container used around the house. After drying, the Tabungaw is naturally waterproof, then coloured and varnished.
The most time consuming and skillful part is the weaving of inner casing and lining which makes the hat sits comfortably on the user’s head. The interior lining is plaited with palm leaves, bamboo, or rattan. It takes an average of seven days to complete a hat which will last a lifetime if taken care of properly.


  • Title: Gourd Hat with painted flower
  • Date Created: 2003
  • Location Created: Philippines, Quiapo market, Manila
  • Physical Dimensions: oval 390mm x 370mm x 160mm H
  • Provenance: Donated by Barbara Park, 2016
  • Type: Hat

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