Philippine Romblon (Pandanus) Plant

The pandan plant is quite interesting and has many uses.  In certain parts of the Visayas region of the Philippines, it is called Romblon …which is also the name of an island / province.

Romblon - Close up of leaves

Pandan is a salt tolerant plant and grows by the seashore in Western Pacific Islands.  There are many varieties that grow in Malaysia, Indonesia and Hawaii.

In the Philippines, there are over 50 varieties, with some types producing leaves softer and more pliable, depending on where it grows.

Pandan leaves are super fragrant and used as a  flavor ingredient and as green food coloring in Filipino Cuisine.

In addition to the Filipino cooks, the Thais, Vietnamese, and Malaysians use pandan leaves in their cuisines.  Though most uses are for desserts such as custards, puddings and gelatin, there are other recipes I would like to try including pandan-wrapped fried chicken (from Thailand-wow!).

Pandan is also an ingredient for teas and other herbal concoctions.

Many cultures weave pandan leaves into useful items like

Weaving Romblon Leaves

  • sleeping mats
  • small bags
  • backpacks and market totes
  • boxes and other containers
  • place mats
  • trays

 

 

 

 

Below are some pandan /romblon product examples,  produced by Native Leaf.

Romblon Leaf "Bayongs" (Market Tote Bags)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romblon Mini Bag (and placemats in background)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a multi-purpose plant indeed!

Here is a picture I took of two friends collecting romblon leaves for their own projects.

Picking Romblon (Pandanus) Leaves

There are small islands in the Philippines whose economy is tied to picking, drying and selling romblon leaves.  More on this topic next time…

In the meantime, let me know if you know of other uses for this interesting plant.

Lola Jane

10 thoughts on “Philippine Romblon (Pandanus) Plant

  1. I love your blog on romblon pandan. I hope to go to Romblon soon and see their products.

    I am interested in products made out of palm and pandan leaves that I published a book on “Palaspas: an appreciation of palm leaf art in the Philippines.” If you wish to take a look at it:
    http://www.behance.net/karlcastro/frame/779040
    or wish to have a copy:
    http://ateneopress.org/detail_allbooks.asp?ID=313

    Hope you like it.

    • Hi Elmer — No, I have not seen that particular type of place mat, and would love to see photos if you can scan and email to lolakojane (at) gmail (dot) com. We can do a blog post on these old native placemats. Thank you Elmer.

  2. dear lola jane
    i am a student from muntinlupa science highschool and is currently collecting data about pandan leaves and their uses.Would you be kind enough to show me a book or a website that features the uses of these native leaves? i would be very grateful if you could 🙂

    • Hi Kyle,

      Thank you for visiting my website. I don’t have a specific book, but here are two blog posts on pandan uses:

      For cooking: http://nativeleaf.info/?p=981 on pandan uses for food flavoring

      In teas: http://nativeleaf.info/?p=1092 (using pandan leaves as an ingredient in the Philippine brand Rita Ritz’s “Pito-Pito” herbal tea).

      I would also recommend checking with your local government Department of Agriculture or DTI – Department of Trade and Industry Office in case they have statistics or booklets/pamphlets on pandan uses in the Philippines.

      Beyond the Philippines, other countries / cultures use and love this plant, namely the state of Hawaii, countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, New Zealand and other Pacific island nations.

      I hope this helps, and all the best on your project!

      Lola Jane

  3. Pingback: WPC: Early Bird – Sunrise and Philippine pandan leaf sellers | Lola Jane's World

  4. Do you know of a source to buy a roll of the leaves? Either in the US or ordering from the Philippines? I want to weave a basket with this leaf.

  5. Hi Lola Jane,

    I have heard of the same leaf and product, Pandan found in Luisiana, Laguna. Are you aware of this? What is the difference of Romblon’s Pandan to Luisiana’s? Thankyou.

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.