Balugo, the soapy vine

I met Conrad Bonilla last month at Baragatan 2011. Baragatan <ba-ra-ga-tan> is a Cuyonon word that means gathering.

He noticed me taking a picture of some balugo vines. The vines were being used for display–to decorate a booth.

Balugo Gogo Gugu "Entada phaseoloides" "Retired No Way" Palawan Philippines

Balugo (Entada phaseoloides)

Conrad said: we have that in our island and our parents used it as soap.

I made a mental note.

Last month, I visited his island, and he remembered to chop some for me.

Baragatan 2011

Baragatan is Cuyonon for gathering–a gathering. Baragatan 2011 was held inside the provincial government compound located at Junction-1. It was a market. There were booths for people or organizations that:

  • wanted to sell something — Chinese medicinal tonic
  • were asking to be visited — El Nido
  • were expressing their point of view — Coral Bay Nickel Corporation.

There were many interesting images.

"Baragatan Header Image" "Retired No Way" Baragatan 2011

I call this a Baragatan Header Image because I took the photo at last month's Baragatan 2011.

"Baragatan Header Image""Retired No Way"

Here's another Baragatan Header Image.

"Baragatan Header Image" "number 3" "Retired No Way"

Baragatan Header Image number 3

"Baragatan Header Image number 4" "Retired No Way"

Baragatan Header Image 4

There were two waves of booth building. The first wave included all booths except one kind. The second wave included the 23 municipalities of the province. Baragatan 2011 was formally opened on June 13 but it had its soft launch a week earlier.


There were several hundred booths in all.

Those selling something.

Balugo Baragatan "Retired No Way"

There were about 50 stalls that sold leather keychains, wooden masks, stick broom, etcetera.

Those asking to be visited.

Diorama "El Nido" Linapacan "Retired No Way"

This is a diorama in the lobby of the provincial capitol dome. To El Nido's northeast is the municipality and island group known as Linapacan.

Those with a viewpoint to express.

"Coral Bay Nickel Corp." "Sumitomo Metal Mining" Japanese "Retired No Way"

Coral Bay Nickel Corp. -- from the website of Sumitomo Metal Mining, a Japanese industrial heavyweight

Coral Bay Nickel Corporation–operating here in the municipality of Bataraza–is owned and operated by the good engineers of Sumitomo Metal Mining.

How soap works

Going back to the wood, I decided that I wanted to test it. How would this wood work as soap? Would it build up a lather? Would the wood sap “sting?” And most of all, would it work?

I frequently research or back up with research any diversions into specialized knowledge. I wanted to compare it to soap so I did some research on soap.

How soap works at the molecular level is explained by the illustration below. Soap molecules have two components: white balls and tails. The white balls love water; that makes them stick to each other. The tails stay away from water.

Inside the cave formed by the white balls and shielded by the tails is space that can’t be occupied by water molecules. Any other molecule except water’s can occupy it. For instance, a dust molecule can occupy it.

The cave makes an effective storage space for the dirt molecule (the U-shaped black thing). Thousands of these suspend the dirt molecules in a bubbly film that can be washed away.

Detergents work because soap molecules possess a structure that’s perfect for trapping dirt molecules and spiriting them away.

This diagram shows how a soap molecule traps and then stores the molecules of dirt where it can be washed away with water.

Soon: my impression of the effectiveness of balugo vine as a soap.


2 responses to “Balugo, the soapy vine

  1. Pingback: Was balugo effective? | Retired? No way!

  2. Pingback: It’s more fun in the Philippines! | Retired? No way!

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