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The Great Abaca of the Philippines is Found in Many Surprising Things

Its fibers are now being made into face masks and PPE.
IMAGE Summit Media
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Today’s lesson is brought to you by the great abaca, the Philippine plant that looks like a banana plant but it is not (they're closely related). It’s great because of its fibers, which is the strongest natural fiber in the world. It is also called Manila hemp, but it’s not of the Cannabis species so...

Anyway, the great abaca and its very strong fibers are used to make a variety of things. Apart from the baskets, bags, and sandals that the Titas of Manila drool over, abaca fiber is found in coffee filters, mobile phones, laptops, and even cars. How about that? 

And now, the abaca fiber is being made into what we need most: masks (and also PPE) that ward against the coronavirus. 

What do these abaca masks look like? Well, they have that this eco-look that we want to say is crunchy but in a good way, the kind that proclaims, “I want to live and I also want the Earth to live.” That’s because the abaca fibers in these masks have been made into a protective filter that is seven times more efficient than regular face masks.

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Also, abaca is sustainable and biodegradable. It grows abundantly and decomposes safely, making it the woke raw material for so many things. Learn more about here:

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Clifford Olanday
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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