The Swiffer…are you ready to replace your walis tambo or ting-ting?

Using Walis Tambo

Our (very tall) brother-in-law likes to use walis tambo for quick clean ups inside the house.

Did you replace your walis tambo — the traditional Filipino broom — with a Swiffer and wonder how the name Swiffer came about?

We know that language used in advertising and by PR firms are all about enticing us to buy products, but how did the branding team who come up with the name for Procter and Gamble’s new mop, the Swiffer?

As you can imagine, a cool brand name is crucial to introducing a product to market.

For the Swiffer, the branding firm started with a play on the word “mop” but decided to throw that out since it was a new type of mop.

Instead, a play on the words clean, wipe and sweep was how the name “Swiffer” came about.

Swiffer is now among Procter and Gamble’s biggest sellers, sold in 15 countries.

The experts say that one of the keys to a cool name is that the word has to be easy to say in all languages —which is vital to brand success.

With Filipinos having a tendency to replace “F” words with “P’s”, or strangely, vice-versa— since the Tagalog alphabet does not have a letter “F”, some Filipinos may call the Swiffer a SwiPPer.

Which, actually…sounds like, a SWEEPER anyway!

Though good luck with replacing the trusted walis-tambo, or walis ting-ting, the traditional brooms made of grass (tambo is soft for inside jobs) or from the rib of coconut fronds (nice and stiff for outside jobs).

Lolas walis ting ting webI have lived in the U.S. for a LONG time, and I still use traditional Philippine brooms.

I suspect that if there was a survey of broom types used in Filipino-American households, almost always, they will find  traditional brooms, which, by the way, are usually made of natural plants that compost or biodegrade.

Here is the link to the article,  With Billions at Stake, Firms Play Name That Mop, featuring hit names like the Outback but also some misses like Google’s “BackRub”.

Do you live outside the Philippines now but still use your walis tambo or walis ting-ting — or other types of traditional brooms?

Or are you now using a Swiffer, too?

walis tambo with plastic trim for web

Walis tambo for sale at one of our local Filipino store. The walis makers should go back to using natural materials (bamboo or rattan strips, natural fiber twines) so that the entire walis can be composted when no longer usable. The walis is not going to last forever, so why use plastic unnecessarily? It would be prettier with natural materials, too!


Picking Coconuts Philippines RdNot just for coconuts! Every part of the coconut tree is used, including the leaf frond rib to make the stiff traditional brooms called a “walis ting-ting” — click on photo for more about the coconut tree and coconut products made from this “Tree of Life”.

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5 thoughts on “The Swiffer…are you ready to replace your walis tambo or ting-ting?

  1. Pingback: Blog Birthday | Lola Jane's World

  2. Will be visiting relatives in the US this May. One of them requested for a walis tambo as I think it’s hard to find good ones in NJ. Is it safe to bring them or will custom just confiscate them! I would not want to have problems with Customs. Thanks.

    • Hi Carol — on the walis tambo, yes, there are definitely nicer ones there, compared to the ones offered for sale here in the U.S. (and if you do find one, minsan, pangit ang quality and style).

      I found out that it is usually OK to bring walis tambo from the Philippines to the U.S.

      What customs official will look for is if the tambo has any seeds..and/or bugs. The reason for this they don’t want to accidentally introduce an invasive grass or species here, should the tambo for example, release seeds accidentally. So, as long as you make sure your tambo is free of seeds and bugs, then you should be able to bring it as one of your pasalubong items. If not, they WILL confiscate the walis.

      As always, you should declare all items you are bringing in. Before you leave, have your relatives in NJ call the Port of Entry, for the airport you will arrive at, and ask for the “All Traveler Information Department ” — or the service contact for those traveling with pets, food or plants. They can double check on the walis tambo rules, in case of policy changes.

      For other Philippine to US travel related topics — like bringing fish sauce (patis) or bagoong / ginamos (fermented fish products) to the U.S., please read Luggage with a Special Kind of Stinky. You might also want to read about the customs ban on two often carried items by Filipinos traveling to the U.S.

      Safe travel, and enjoy your visit!

      Lola Jane

    • Hi carol de ocampo we have walis tambo and we supply many company if you are interesting to our products just txt me 09353679066 it just only 95pesos each but in whole sale we give 89 to 90 pesos

  3. Pingback: Two items NOT to bring in your luggage from the Philipppines | Lola Jane's World

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