I once was fascinated by furniture design. During my stint as an Architecture student in UST, I used to design furnishings that go along with the houses I draw, believing that both the structure and its content should speak a single holistic language.
And during my still brief course as a traveler, I’ve seen all sorts of architectural gems around the country. But it has only been during my Pampanga tour with the Culture Shock PH crew that I was able to visit something related to furniture design; Pampanga’s Betis Crafts Inc.
Still full from Atching Lillian’s Kitchen, our group headed to the town of Guagua to check out the famed showroom by a furniture company named after a sector in the said town.
After warm greetings, we were quickly shown around the place which really looked more like a museum showcasing all sorts of pretty, and not to mention expensive, furniture that we all probably cannot afford to buy by being just travel bloggers.
The museum atmosphere only intensified as we went pass a corner where religious images are displayed. According to our host, these are all sculpted by Betis craftsmen which are called mandukits. Each piece was so meticulously done that one of my companions was so tempted to buy one if not for its bulk and weight.
But Betis Crafts Inc. isn’t always this big.
Like most rags to riches success stories, the company started out small; mainly building billiard tables and local crafts for the GI’s in Clark and Subic. Their attention to detail soon propelled them towards making house furniture, gaining grounds not only in the Philippines but even as far as Europe and the United States.
Unlike most export companies in the country, Betis Crafts Inc. designs are not what you’d call indigenous. In fact, a visit at their showroom would transport you to Europe; their designs, more western than Asian. It was something that came all the way from the Spanish era in the Philippines when the Spaniards would ask local artisans in Pampanga to copy the furniture they have from Europe.
To be honest, I find their designs too ornate for my modernist taste. But what do I know, these designs sells big especially for the rich (and probably the famous). The company’s success speaks for itself when its designs graced the pages of ELLE magazine.
Besides posing at the various lavish furniture at the Betis Crafts Inc. showrooms and poking around inside their furniture work area, we were also invited to look around the compound where we found some sort of tree house. Apparently this is being used by clients as their accommodation when visiting the showroom.
But we didn’t head there to stay overnight; what we’re there for was for their turon (banana fritters) with dip. I heard these were to die for, and upon first bite, have to say that it is indeed criminally awesome. It was unusual to finish a visit to a furniture shop with a bite of turon, but hey, you won’t hear me complaining about it.
Betis Crafts, Inc.
Address: Brgy. San Miguel, Betis, Guagua, Pampanga
Contact Number: (045) 900-0309 | (045) 900-2887
Website: Click Here
GPS Coordinates: 14°58'45.7"N 120°38'51.2"E
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