Two companies in the Philippines are redefining design for gaming by incorporating elements of indigenous culture with their gaming products. Bathala Gaming Chairs and PATAG Pads are instilling a sense of pride in Filipino gamers with products that showcase Philippine mythology and pre-colonial history.
Bathala, which in Filipino mythology means God or Supreme Being, is owned by NBA 2k pro-gamer Rocky “Rak” Braña. Rak was motivated to create his own brand of gaming chair when a branded one he ordered didn’t meet his expectations.
“I thought of creating my own brand with my standards,” Rak shares with ONE Esports. “I wanted to help my fellow gamers have a quality gaming chair at an affordable price.”
He founded Bathala with his wife, Venice, whose background in industrial design complimented Rak’s gaming background to produce a premium product. They are made from various materials like high-grade steel, PVC/PU leather, nylon parts, and memory foam.
Rak says that the chairs go through a three to six-month testing phase before they are released to ensure quality. “We also conduct a final inspection before releasing a product. The chairs also have a warranty in case our customers meet problems with their chairs.”
The chairs are named after gods and warriors in pre-colonial Philippine history, such as “Apolaki” (god of war), “Dumangan” (god of the sky and of harvest), and “Mapulon” (god of health/medicine). They also have Baybayin, a pre-Hispanic Philippine writing system, inscribed on them.
Bathala chairs are very affordable, ranging from US$100 to US$160. Their most expensive chair, the limited edition Trono (Throne) is about US$200, all fabric, and with a numbered plaque. They currently partner with local streamers and gaming influencers, as well as esports athletes like AK of Tekken 7 fame.
To complement a Bathala gaming chair, you might want to partner it with PATAG pads. “Patag”, a word that means a flat or even surface in Tagalog, has gaming mousepads that merge contemporary designs with indigenous Filipino themes. Some have designs inspired by traditional weaves and patterns, and often have Baybayin on them as well, like Bathala. Made from microfiber cloth and natural rubber, the products are named in Filipino, such as “Manlalaro” (player/gamer), “Hiwaga” (mystery/magic), or “Dapithapon” (evening/dusk).
Jaedick de Leon, owner and founder of PATAG, shares the immense detail that goes into designing their products.
“Our pilot product, PATAG Manlalaro, is designed with a combination of two Filipino cultural groups – Ifugao and Tagalog elements. The Ifugao symbols and patterns used are: Kinattibanglan – a fernwood diamond-shaped design representing the eyes of the Ifugao’s ancestors; and Inambayung – triangular symbols representing the hip bags used to store amulets blessed by gods. The Tagalog baybayin script translates to “Real gamers, in thought, in words, and in action.”
An upcoming design for 2021, “Lagud”, is named after the Eastern world in the mythology of the northern, mountainous Ifugao regions of the Philippines. PATAG is committed to giving back to indigenous communities with all their designs. They donate 10% of their profit to the Ifugao Indigenous Peoples Education Center.
The brand hopes to connect contemporary society to Filipino heritage and spread awareness by creating more designs inspired by indigenous and remote communities’ culture, representing every region of the country.
Want a Bathala gaming chair or a PATAG pad of your own? Check out Bathala and PATAG on their Facebook and Instagram pages!
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