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The ‘lavanderos’ of Mandaluyong featured in NCR show
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: By Rachel C. Barawid
Date: 2004-10-13
Mandaluyong City will spice up its participation in the “Best of Metropolitan Manila exhibit” in Intramuros from Oct. 13-30, with a presentation of its very own “Lavandero Festival,” a distinct street dance depicting a major part of its history.

According to historical records, Mandaluyong was a town famous for its good laundrymen or lavanderos during the last years of the Spanish era. The male natives, who were preferred as clothes washers over females because of their sturdy built and bigger output, did the washing chores toearn a living. Women, on the other hand, did the ironing. These macho men were not ashamed to wash clothes of their clients who are mostly dormitory matrons who had under their care colegialas and internas, and members of the Roman Catholic and Aglipayan clergy.

The clothes were washed in the crystal-clear waters of the Pasig River. Along the banks of the river, the lavanderos were seen naked to their waists, with water up to their knees. Known for their unique and original manner of washing clothes, these men swing the clothes up in the air over their shoulders and strike them repeatedly against big slabs of live stones called batong buhay. A definite technique is required in striking the clothes on the big rock to beat the dirt out of it. This technique prevented the clothes from being torn by the impact.

This was a matter of skill. Good laundering then was characterized by the wrinkling of the clothes as these struck the rock with a subdued sound. A good lavandero was gauged with the very white clothes he can produce without tearing them.

Visitors to the Clamshell1 in Intramuros will be able to witness this long forgotten, century-old tradition which have made Mandaluyong and its early male natives famous during the Spanish period.

Today, Mandaluyong City is one of the leading business and commercial centers in the metropolis. Its ideal, strategic location — being the jump-off point to Makati, Manila and Quezon City — is one reason why many also prefer to reside in the area. The booming giant and its continuing journey to progress will be showcased in the Intramuros exhibit.

Nor Archangel, chief of the Cultural Affairs and Tourism Office of Mandaluyong City, said various activities have been lined up for visitors during the Mandaluyong Day on Oct. 29 and 30 at the Clamshell I, venue of the “Best in Metro Manila” exhibit.

Among these include services offered by the city government to its constituents such as free haircut, make-up; Ati-Atihan show; parade of the beauties Ms. and Mrs. Mandaluyong as well as the “beautiful bodies” of Bilbiling Mandaluyong; band concerts; fireworks display; and performances by the Teatro Rizalia of the city premier educational institution – the Rizal Technological University and the internationally-acclaimed Mandaluyong Children’s Chorus, a group of less fortunate but musically gifted children of the city.


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