Architect from Bicol creates cute dog baskets

As many of us have become plant moms and dads during the pandemic, turning our gardens into a more creative space would be a good idea. Fortunately, there’s Rukit Dukit Handicrafts in Brgy. Calbayog, Malilipot, Albay, a handicraft store led by Architect Gerald Volante, where we can order adorable dog plant baskets inspired by various dog breeds from Shih Tzu to Pomeranian to Maltese.

The baskets look almost like their dog breed counterparts, because they are made up of abaca fiber – a fiber extracted from abaca plants that are native to various Philippine regions such as Bicol. 

Volante came up with the baskets during lockdown

Dog baskets - Architect Gerald Volante and the Maltese-inspired dog plant basketsImage adapted from: Gerald Volante, Rukit Dukit Handicrafts

Volante came up with his adorable basket designs after he went back home to Bicol from Metro Manila due to the pandemic lockdowns. “Syempre mahirap yung balita about lockdown kaya pinilit ko talagang makauwi ng Bicol. Eh nung umuwi ako wala naman talagang magawa sa bahay,” Volante told Bicol Patrol. 

(Of course, the news about the lockdown was difficult [to handle], so I had to return to Bicol. And when I arrived, there was nothing much to do at home.)

He decided to create abaca-made plant baskets as gardening is popular

Dog plant baskets Image adapted from: Rukit Dukit Handicrafts, Rukit Dukit Handicrafts 

So he decided to create handicraft products from abaca, one of the Bicol region’s main sources of income. And because many have turned to taking care of plants these days, he thought that plant baskets inspired by pet dogs would be trendy and well-received.

Dog baskets - Rukit Dukit HandicraftsImage credit: Rukit Dukit Handicrafts

“Naisip ko siyang gawing planter kasi nga usong uso ang plantito at plantita[,] at madami ang naghahalaman kaya feeling ko in siya. Dog na nilagay ko[,] kasi hindi kakagatin kung plain lang.”

(I thought of creating planter baskets, since being plantitos and plantitas has been trendy lately, and many have turned to planting. I created dog designs because [the baskets] won’t be popular if they’re just plain.)

The handicrafts have become a source of livelihood for locals

Dog baskets - Rukit Dukit Handicrafts
Image credit: Rukit Dukit Handicrafts

“I did some mock up designs then itinuro ko sa mga pamangkin ko[,] and now at least 30% ng mga taga Calbayog [have] alternative source of income[,] lalo na this pandemic,” Volante shared. 

(I did some mockup designs that I taught to my nephews, and now at least 30% of the locals of Calbayog have alternative sources of income, especially in this pandemic.)

Dog baskets
Image credit: Rukit Dukit Handicrafts

His baskets have also surely garnered the attention they deserve, as aside from local orders, orders from the US and Canada have started coming in. The adorable baskets were also given as souvenirs to a team from the United Nations during their visit to Bicol in January.

Dog baskets - Rukit Dukit's dog baskets being given to UN team
Image credit: Rukit Dukit Handicrafts

To order from the store, you can message the Facebook page Rukit Dukit Handicrafts, and call or text the mobile number 09565912847. The baskets’ prices are easy on the wallet too, ranging from P350 (~USD7.29) to P1,100 (~USD22.90). And if you’re living in Metro Manila, you can also visit their stall at SM Megamall.

Doggo plant baskets created from abaca

The baskets are indeed a creative idea born out of the lockdown period. Not only can the adorable doggo plant baskets add pops of cuteness to our gardens at home, but they’ve also become a source of living among our local communities. 

Let’s keep a lookout for small local creators’ business like Volante’s and his partners’, and support them whenever we can to help our communities out. 

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Cover image adapted from: Rukit Dukit Handicrafts, Rukit Dukit Handicrafts



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