Thursday, September 13, 2012

Filipinos and Natural Soaps

Once upon the Spanish colonial times, hygiene has room for improvement for the normal Filipino. There's a lot of Pinoys going sick simply because hygiene was being ignored. Well, that is true on areas with dense populations, but on rural populations it could be a different story. Cholera and diarrhea are frequent, tuberculosis claims more lives than homicide, other sicknesses are very easy to transfer.

All of these seem to fit prettily in irony since we Filipinos are known for maintaining cleanliness of our bodies. Of course it can also be blamed on not so great living conditions, bad sewage system and contaminated water sources. Due to lack of written accounts, we can't really pin point what is wrong with the way we used take care of ourselves.

From mayniladailyphoto blog
Soap is even very much undocumented during the Spanish era. We're talking about "real soaps" here, not the ones sold nowadays which got very popular once the Americans "bought" the Philippines and occupied our country. There has been written references of small makers of soap peddling their creations to locals. These soaps may have been made with animal fat and coconut oil which are common materials locally. One street in Binondo was named Calle Jaboneros, which probably was a street populated by soapmakers in the past. No written history of the street has been encountered yet so only an assumption can be made.

Notice the guy sitting on a "banga"
Yet all Filipinos are conscious when it comes to taking care of our bodies. Our houses in the past are elevated partly to reduce contamination of dirt from the feet of visitors and dwellers. We also have water and dipper prepared at the stairs of our houses so before people enter, they can douse water on feet so that dirt won't be brought up the house. Our women know how to use gugo to make cleaning preparations and wash their hair with it. Making natural soaps, apparently, had died with the transition of history as the Americans brought their cleansing stuff which through the passing years, became known as detergents.

So how does Filipinos clean themselves? We're not really sure. But one thing we're sure of, the Spanish upper class and their families are the ones enjoying the best soaps. These are Castile Soaps brought in from Spain and its famous all over the world. Made from Olive oil, the soap has amazing moisturizing properties making skin really soft. Due to the limited supply, it doesn't trickle down to most Pinoys, whether they can afford it or not, and back then it was really expensive.

Today, natural soaps are slowly gaining popularity, because of its biodegradability, great skin benefits and no harsh chemicals that can irritate skin. People are discovering that not all cleaning products can be called soap, most of them are detergents, thus nature lovers are preferring soaps made in the old fashioned way. The challenge in the past is where can Filipinos buy these natural products.

A soapmaker in the Philippines revives this centuries old process and combined it with science to make natural liquid soaps. Casa de Lorenzo Oils, Aromatics and Soaps allows every Filipino experience what our ancestors have not, to bathe in luxury with natural soaps made from Olive Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil, scented by essential oils. Visit their website

Sometimes its very easy to fall to products "containing natural ingredients." Why not get products that are "made of natural ingredients."