Words by Maffi Deparis
One way to describe Chit Sales is that she is a wise woman, an earth mother figure who in bygone times was sought for intensive knowledge of nature’s healing powers. Her shop, Lawiswis in D’Mall, is a local personality in itself; as you step inside you’ll be enveloped in the soothing scents of CintoNeem and coconut. Books line a far left wall, and silver tubular chimes tinkle above the doorway at the slightest breeze. When asked to describe her shop and her products, she said that in a way “it is a small and happy place where we can share the natural and organic abundance of the earth.”
Her tone is even and easy. She also admits to being the first to test any of the products, ‘’You have to experience and then you can share.” Aside from herbal supplements, essential oils, and bars of coconut soap, Lawiswis also offers natural insect repellents made from citronella and neem leaves or cintoneem.
“It’s funny,” she laughs, ”I used to be a baker in Bacolod. My first love was baking. I move every seven years, I’ve noticed. I was in the handicrafts business with my brother after handing over the baking to my scholars. We were treating bamboo in Manila, a far cry from what I do now, so we had to stop seven years later. We do not use chemicals in our products, everything is natural. Everything is a gift from nature and all our products are wrapped in recycled paper. No plastic bags allowed.”
When Chit smiles, you want very much to keep her smiling. A certain inner glow comes through, a satisfied serenity that comes from years of soul searching and self understanding. When asked if she considers herself a healer, she smiles brightly.
“If there is a mangagamot in the family, I can honestly say my brother is the one. He started his research on the medicinal properties of plants while we were in Manila. Now he grows and harvests the herbs we use to make soap, essential oils, and food supplements. My brother is our herbalist. I’m a believer in the healing power of crystals. I use beads, simple precious stones, and mineral stones, for all of these are gifts from nature and God gave us nature as a gift. He put medicine in the plants and stones, we only need to keep exploring this bounty to discover more.” Chit fingers a strand of blue beads that I later find out were made from lapis lazuli stones in the form of a 108 rosary called the japa mala.
She explains that “by using a japa mala, you are sending a prayer or vibration to the Universe. It can also be used for meditation for the mind. You choose your mala, the color that attracts you the most is your stone. If you don’t have a mantra in your life yet, by owning a mala you will definitely find one. My favorite mantra is OM Namah Shivaya, meaning to honor the divine within you, and of course, love and compassion.” Aside from herbal products and supplements, Chit crafts one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces with intricate silver and stones. Each piece is unique, and each is made especially for the one who buys it. “You don’t choose the pieces, they choose you,” she adds mysteriously.
“I remember I was wearing a necklace at the airport and a lady came up to me and grabbed the necklace, exclaiming how much she loved it. I was shocked, not because she was really persistent and wanted to buy it from me, but stones are personal, you see. If a person is sick, they absorb that sickness and can transfer it to you. That’s why you must wash your stones in running water or salt water to remove any other energy.”
When asked if there were people she would consider as Boracay’s Finest, she pauses, japa mala in her hands, deep in thought. “Yes” she says after a while, “Katia Kalyani, Dieter Schrottmann, and Julia Lervik.” The type of people I predicted she would suggest, all of them part of the growing Boracay Community, proud islanders and environmentalists. The type of people the island attracts, finding their niche beside whispering waves and swaying palms. Chit, as far as I can tell, has found her home in Boracay. Wherever she may be in the next seven years, I’m sure she will forever leave a large part of her heart on the island where she has already woven an infectious spell of laughter, creativity, and spiritual healing.