Most of the western world use rakes to gather leaves that have fallen from trees. We use brooms. Besoms, to be more precise, which are sold primarily as outdoor brooms. So, we don’t rake fallen leaves; we sweep them.
It’s not like besoms are only found in the tropics. Of course, the western world has them too. We know that from Harry Potter, right? But while western besoms are made with twigs, the Philippine (also India, Malaysian and Indonesian) version is made with the ribs of coconut fronds. We call it walis tingting. Walis means sweep; tingting means stick. There are two varieties — with and without the broomstick.
Before there is waling tingting, there are coconut fronds. If you want to be puritanical about it and restrict the use of the term “frond” to ferms, then, let’s call it coconut’s pinnately divided leaves. Pinnate, meaning, multi-divided like a feather. You can just Google the terms “frond” and “pinnate”. I did. I’m no botanist but I want to be able to use the right terms to describe how the walis tingting is made.
So, I drew an oblong that encloses a leaf. The arrow points to the midrib of the leaf. But that’s not what walis tingting is made of.
Here’s a closer look at a coconut leaf. The feather-like structures are stripped from the midrib. Then, each of those pieces are again stripped to separate the thinner rib from the leafy sides. The leafy sides are dried and woven into baskets or mats, or used for roofing. The thin ribs are dried and tied together to form the walis tingting.
As an additional point of interest, the tingting today isn’t just used for making walis. The dried sticks have become sought-after interir decor items. They are sold straight or curly; plain, colored or glittery. Just see here, here and here.
The coconut fronds photo is from Stock.Xchng.