Making them is an art that is passed through generations.
The flat baskets are woven from natural fibers and colored with natural dyes, they are traditionally used as trays in which food is placed for sharing. Their patterns are inspired by animals, plants, and their origin stories.
Balay patterns reflect the tiger’s face, butterfly wings, monkey tails, stars and constellations, the spider’s web, fish in the river, and the mirroring of the leaves on the palms.
It is said that the balay is where the Cubeo people receive messages from “the father” so the weave has to be tight to keep this wisdom from falling through.