Engielle Paguican, a Filipino volcanologist living in Norwich, wanted to bring the joy and spirit of Christmas from the Philippines to the city by starting a pop-up stall called Lalahon. In the Philippines, the Christmas season starts in September, and when Engielle arrived in Norwich in October, she wanted to bring some Christmassy items to replicate the holiday spirit from her home country. The name Lalahon comes from Filipino mythology and represents the deity of fire, volcanoes, and harvest, which is fitting since all the materials used for the woven goods are taken from plants that thrive in volcanic soil.
The pop-up stall at Norwich Market features hand-woven goods such as shopping bags, water bottle holders, and festive items like Christmas trees, angels, and wreaths. These items are all woven in Filipino villages near volcanos, using materials such as abaca, pandan, and pili, which are resilient plants that thrive in tough conditions. Engielle aims to show that people can be creative even in difficult situations, and the products represent resilience. She ensures that the products are directly sourced from the villages where the materials are harvested and woven to support the local artisans and bypass any unnecessary middlemen that could diminish the profit for the weavers.
The inspiration behind Lalahon is to bring a piece of Filipino Christmas to Norwich and to spread joy through the hand-woven festive items. Engielle and her husband were excited by these materials, and she thought sharing them with the people of Norwich would bring a smile to their faces and make them feel the warmth and joy of a Filipino Christmas. The pop-up stall is set to close on Christmas Eve, allowing the people of Norwich to enjoy these unique and culturally-inspired products during the holiday season and support the villages in the Philippines where they were made by purchasing directly from Engielle’s stall.