I have always been fascinated with Tmool Lmimet. At home, I would carefully observe Ye (mother) whenever she does her beadwork. The sight of her hand gracefully stringing every colorful bead and creating different patterns excites me. I always get curious about how she put all these beads together to create the necklaces and earrings that she sells. "Gusto ko man makabalo mag beads." (I also want to learn how to bead), I remember telling myself then.
But Ye wanted me and my sister to concentrate on our studies instead. She told us, "Mag eskwela kamo tarong para hindi kamo ma pareho sa akon. Kapoy mag beads kag gamay lang ang kita." (You have to do well in school so you will not end up like me. It's not easy to bead and you don't earn enough from it.")
Despite this, I still asked Ye to teach me Tmool Lmimet. Most of the time, especially on weekends, I would volunteer to help her. She would then instruct me to string strands of beads that she used in making ID holders. I get paid 1 peso for every strand that I finish. It was not much, but I was happy to save it and use it to buy snacks during school days.
When Ye joined Sesotunawa, she also became more willing to teach me and my sister how to bead. She even taught us how to make the earrings that she learned from Be (grandmother). One day, I remember her saying: "Pwede na gid kamo mag tuon mag himo sang beads kay kabalo nako mag presyo sakto sa aton produkto." (I feel confident teaching you how to bead because I now know how to do proper costing.)
I know that I still have a lot to learn to master Tmool Lmimet. But I will continue to be patient and determined. Someday, when I'm finally able to say that I am good at this, I can tell myself that I have honored what my Ye has passed on to me.
Our Kwentong Pamana series celebrates stories that show how Tboli traditions and heritage are passed on from one generation to another. In this last story from Sharea Kate, daughter of Kunay, we finally get a glimpse of how the tradition of Tmool Lmimet spans three decades of Tboli women. It is a gift and inspiration to be able to witness how they persevered and overcame the challenges of making Tmool Lmimet a thriving tradition and a sustainable source of income for them and their families.
This article is translated from our interview with Sharea Kate Aguilar. Sherea dreams of becoming a teacher someday and would be happy to teach young Tboli the art of Tmool Lmimet.