To discover the true origin of Panama we have to go even further south, in Ecuador, precisely the coastal area around the town of Monte Cristi or the internal area around the town of Cuenca.
From the th century onwards entire generations have passed on to their children the art of the leaves of the Toquila palm (Carludovica Palmata), making this tradition a heritage recognized by Unesco.
Leafs are micro-areas of the Ecuadorian rainforest, separated, boiled and left to dry hanging in the sun.
The leaves are bleached at pleasure through sulfide and then further paraded, always by hand, to make them as fine as possible.
The entanglement process that will create the cone of the future hat begins.
You start with the central crown and continue towards the sides, following two types of entanglement: the ′′ liso ′′, with an edited and more elegant pattern, and the ′′ brisa ′′, with diamond-shaped and more sporty pattern.
Depending on the finesse of the straw, you will have different degrees of the hat: you start from a grade 3-5 standard ′′ cuenca ′′ (about 2 working), to the ′′ Monte Cristi ′′ higher than 10 that need many months of processing.
Record is eight months!