Victoria’s Secret runway model Kelsey Merritt mocks Americans’ ‘walis’

July 19, 2019 - 5:04 PM
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Kelsey Merritt
Kelsey Merritt tweeted that she misses the "walis tambo" or the Philippine soft broom while she stays in the United States. (Instragram/kelsmerrit)

Filipina-American model Kelsey Merritt misses the kinds of brooms used in Philippine households as she stays in the United States.

The model tweeted that she finds the brooms in the US “ugly” and even shared a picture of it to her followers.

What Merritt shared is a modern version of the traditional soft broom, the angle broom. It has plastic bristles and can easily reach corners due to its angled head.

The model also implied in her follow-up tweet that she prefers Philippine brooms specifically made in Baguio, volunteering that she should become its “sponsor” for fun.

Her tweets expectedly amused Filipinos who claimed that she should consider her experience an opportunity to promote the Philippines’ own types of brooms or the “walis.”

Others suggested that she should go to an Asian supermarket, where brooms such as the “walis” can be supposedly found.

Understanding your brooms

There are generally two types of brooms used for cleaning tasks—the soft broom and the hard broom.

The soft broom has bristles traditionally made out of natural fibers or plant materials such as corn husks, reeds or tiger grass. This is also called the “walis tambo” in the Philippines.

It is used in indoor cleaning since its bristles are soft enough to be flexible for moving dust yet stiff enough to achieve a firm sweeping action.

Soft broom
Philippine-made soft brooms seen in Banaue. (CEphoto/Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons)

Nowadays, different varieties of it are sold in the market. There are angle brooms (such as the one Kelsey Merritt tweeted), push brooms and hand brooms.

Push brooms have wide plastic bristles used for cleaning large areas such as driveways, porches and sidewalks.

Push broom
A push broom has rectangular plastic bristles used for sweeping dirt off large spaces. (Creative Commons/Stock photo)

Hand brooms, on the other hand, have small plastic bristles with accompanying dustpans. These are usually used in cleaning small areas like tables and drawers.

Hand broom
A hand broom has small plastic bristles with an accompanying dustpan used for cleaning small surfaces. (Creative Commons/Stock photo)

The hard broom has stiffer bristles made out of thin midribs of palm leaves or coconut sticks. It is also referred to as the “walis ting-ting” in the Philippines.

This is used in outdoor cleaning since its much-stiffer bristles can sweep large debris off floors, especially in areas where a vacuum is not advisable to be used.

Hard broom
Philippine-made hard brooms. (Creative Commons/Thamizhpparithi Maari)

These types of brooms are available in other countries, not just in the Philippines.

However, the traditional soft brooms are more popular in Asian countries since the plants used for its bristles are more abundant in these locales.