Provenciana at HABI Press release

Ces Drilon's Provenciana brings precolonial aromatherapy traditions to the forefront at HABI Fair

Download the PR here: Ces Drilon's Provenciana at HABI Fair.doc


Provenciana, a young homegrown natural wellness brand is thrilled to be counted among the 60 artisans showcased in the in-person comeback of the Likhang HABI Market Fair from October 14-16 at the Glorietta Activity Center.

Provenciana’s founder, journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon says the essence of the brand is to tap the healing and nurturing properties of plants and flowers endemic to the Philippines.

Drilon says, “Provenciana’s creations are aligned with Habi’s advocacy to preserve, promote, and enhance Philippine textiles through education, communication, and research using public and private resources.”

The core product of Provenciana is the Halimuyak smudge stick which is made of Philippine-grown herbs, flowers and rosins that help the user deal with stress and anxiety. It was made as an ode to traditional Filipino healing practices during the pre-colonial era. Among its ingredients are Guava leaves and Sambong, regarded as Philippine sage, and elemi rosin harvested from the sap of the Pili Tree, burned in pre-colonial times in the Philippines It also features other home-grown aromatics which when lit release a medicinal smoke that comes from the oils of the herbs.

Smudge sticks are akin to the modern-day diffuser that release essential oils of plants. Back in the olden days, ancient cultures lit herbs to ward off negative energy and bring an uplifting atmosphere into their spaces.

With growing mental health concerns, many Filipinos are looking for natural remedies to help ease anxiety.

And just like weaving, creating a smudge stick is about combining different elements to form a cohesive, well composed final product.

Drilon learned to make smudge sticks at a natural perfumery class at the start of 2021, at the height of the pandemic. This class opened the door to a whole new world for the former hardnosed reporter.  She was fascinated with using the actual source of essential oils - herbs and flowers with their beneficial aromas in what some cultures regard as “sacred smoke,” a practice that has stood the test of time.

After the class, Drilon created a smudge stick called Cecilia, which was a combination of traditional smudging ingredients used by the Native American Indians like white sage and Palo Santo, in the case of the indigenous peoples in Latin America. She added local elements like turmeric and elemi and almaciga rosin, from a tree that is abundant in Palawan. But her real quest was to compose one that uses totally Filipino grown herbs. Making the Halimuyak took months of experimentation. It was a tedious process of finding the right combination, burning and testing scents. Drilon also consulted anthropologists and scholars on the use of herbs by albularyos or traditional healers. The use of rosins harvested from the sap of trees is inspired by “kamanyang” sold outside churches and used by Filipinos to fend off bad spirits. Kamanyang are also resinous material harvested from trees and burnt to “cleanse” a home of what is believed to be evil spirits. There is also the practice of “suob” where steam from leaves like guava is used for healing ailments.  In the end Halimuyak became a smudge stick made from over twenty aromatics, even featuring the everlasting flower grown in the Cordilleras. Some herbs are grown in Drilon’s own garden and others are sourced from organic farmers.

The smudge stick is an aromatherapy tool for the user to bring in a combination of beautiful natural scents into their homes. It can also be a tool to transport one into a mystical and spiritual experience. Lighting, burning and smoking the natural materials in the smudge stick connects us to an ancient practice that has served mankind for thousands of years.


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