OUR ORIGIN STORY
Sesotunawa is inspired by a special kind of virtue lived out by the Tboli of Lake Sebu. When broken down into its roots, Sesotunawa is a union of two Tboli words, “sesotu” or “to make one”, and “nawa” or “spirit”. It literally stands for the spirit of working together. Sesotunawa is a community ethos that drives the Tboli of Lake Sebu to be compassionate, peace-loving, and unified. In its essence, Sesotunawa can be considered parallel to another common Filipino value called bayanihan.
In Lake Sebu, when the Tboli are asked what Sesotunawa truly is, you will hear various stories of compassion and community-building. Stories of everyday kindness, of warm smiles, and of dreams of sustainable living. Sesotunawa is not only in Lake Sebu. It extends beyond the community of the Tboli. This sense of community is also alive among those who work alongside the Tboli people. Those who share the same vision of a sustainable cultural and social enterprise. Together, we aim to celebrate and bring different products of Sesotunawa from Lake Sebu to the world in different forms of handicrafts, brass-cast products, woven goods, and beads along with stories of working together from the Tboli of Lake Sebu.
THE ART OF TEMWEL
Around the tranquil waters of Lake Sebu are pockets of communities where indigenous art still thrives. The art of brass-casting, beading, and weaving still exist because of the Tboli families who continuously work together to keep these traditions alive.
The kebeng (hearth) is still fired up and the metals are still melted in the Blunto household. Coming from a long line of Tau Temwel (brass-casters), Joel Blunto works alongside his wife Henia, who also learned the art through his family. Armed with their dream to manage their own business and help other households in the community, they created the first Sesotunawa brass items.
Inspired by this vision, people outside Lake Sebu started to come together to share this dream, which also encouraged other artisans in Lake Sebu to become a part of the growing community of culture movers. Today, our artisan community has grown to a total of 9 Tau Temwel and 2 beaders. We hope to engage more communities and inspire them and the future generations to rekindle their love for their art, culture, and identity.