Banigan Festival popular for its banig weaving demonstration
The Kawayan-Banigan Festival Parade is a yearly dance parade of pageantry and colorful mats, winding through the town key streets, reliving the two main source of livelihood of Basaynons – bamboo and mat weaving – through their music, dance and drama. It is celebrated every September 28 & 29. This festival became famous when hundred of community folks paraded a one-meter wide mat and claimed now as the world’s longest mat in Fiesta feat in year 2000. Since then, the town, which has weaving as its prime industry, comes to life when it celebrates outlandishly the feast of St. Michael, its patron saint. The highlight of the feast is the Banigan-Kawayan Festival, where the women of Basey weave a variety of intricately designed mats from sedge grass locally known as tikog (Fimbristylis miliacea). This tradition was handed down from many generations, and up to now.
The festival’s concept is based on the importance of banig (bariw) weaving as major means of livelihood of the Libertadnons. The celebration involves various activities highlighted by the Mardi gras and esteemed Lin-ay kang Libertad, a beauty pageant which showcases the beauty, intelligence and character of Libertadnon young ladies. One of the most awaited contest’s categories of the pageant is the banig gown competition. Banig products has since gained importance prompting local officials and Libertadnons to establish the Banigan Festival to promote banig (bariw brown mats) and sub-products of banig as their One-town-One Product (OTOP). The festival also aims to encourage the banig weavers that the banig they produced could possibly turn into a highly valuable item that can be known not only in the province but also in the international market.
The Banigan festival is very popular for its banig weaving demonstration to visitors and tourists. Varieties of hats, bags, slippers and gowns made of banig are also exhibited during the festival. The celebration is also a tribute to the town’s mat weavers who have preserved the priceless tradition of their forefathers. Thus, this traditional craft remains viable and continues to flourish in the wider market, but its sustainability depends on the willingness of the skillful young generation to keep alive the tradition that is the stamp of the real Antiqueno’s ingenuity, diligence and dexterity. Weaving has become a tradition of Basey and was handed down from generations to generations. In the year 2000, Basey attempted to submit a Guinness Book of World Record entry for the longest mat. The 1-meter wide and more than a kilometer long banig was paraded by hundreds of townsfolk. So when in Basey, take home a woven pasalubong. Not only that you are supporting the local community but you know you are bringing home a high quality made product that you can be proud of.
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