Not just any hat, but a piece of cultural heritage of humanity. These hand-woven hats have been around for longer than anyone could keep track. Their Spanish name was brought up by the Spaniards conquistadors that first arrived to Ecuador and saw the native people wearing them. Since they resembled the Spanish "tocas" they called them "toquillas". Made of young palm leaves which are boiled, dried and bleached, these hats are soft, airy, flexible, light, classy, elegant, ..., perfect!
They are famously, or rather infamously, known worldwide as "Panama Hats" because Panama was the biggest port of commerce for them. When someone bought one of these hats there and went home, it was inevitable to be asked where such great hat was bought. The trouble is that where it was bought, was not the same place where it was made. Ecuador is the only place in the world where these beauts are made and where this tradition has lived for centuries.
Finally, on the 5th of December of 2012, a new era started for this specialty hat. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially inscribed it on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
"Intangible Cultural Heritage is our bridge from the past to the future. It is the way we understand the world and the means by which we shape it. It is a foundation of wisdom and knowledge upon which to build sustainable development for all." -UNESCO