Samar’s Basey town to showcase best mats in festival

September 19, 2014 10:27 am 

BASEY, Samar, Sept. 19 — Mat weavers in this town will showcase their masterpiece in a competition on September 29, one of the highlights of fiesta celebration in this town, known as the “Banig (sleeping mat) Capital of the Philippines.”

Evangelina Odal-Ritaga, the town’s tourism officer said the competition is one way to promote the product as many visitors and tourists will be visiting the town.

“We’ve come up those outstanding mat weavers, embroiders, and banig bag makers to successfully show to the visitors the expertise of Basaynons (native of Basey town) in making banig products,” said Ritaga.

Based on the final list after the deadline of registration, there are 29 competitors, but they are still open to accept registrants.

The competitors are composed of the members of the Basey Tikog Workers Association — a group of weavers who has the talent and are willing to participate.

Tikog, a raw materials for mat making, is a local term of an aquatic plant, erect, stem less and usually perennial.

“To come up with this, the association of mat weavers of Basey was of a great help because they are the one who supports in promoting the banig product of Basey,” said Ritaga.

Ritaga added that "tikog" is not only considered as the product of Basey, but it’s also the fame of the whole region. The raw product is sometimes being sourced out in some town of Leyte like San Miguel and Alang-Alang.

“But no one can beat the expertise of Basaynons in terms of mat weaving. That’s why Basey is considered as the center for mat weavers,” Ritaga claimed.

The mat industry continues to grow in the town of Basey while it is being promoted through the joint efforts of the Basey Tikog Workers Association.

“The association is participated by 22 villages of Basey, in which each of them has their corresponding officials. All the presidents in each village are organized into a federation in which they had elected their president,” said Ritaga.

A mat that is made of "tikog" is one of the main livelihoods of the villagers, making the town of Basey as one of the main producers of mat in the country.

The town is known for its woven products such as mats, wall decorations, placemats and the famous — sleeping mat known as “banig.” (PNA)



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