The Weaving of Basey
Belle Piccio | May 02, 2013
Basey the “Banig Capital of the Philippines”
Basey is a municipality in Samar, Philippines. It is known for its woven products such as mats, wall decorations, placemats and the famous -- sleeping mat known as “banig”.
It measures around 2x3 meters and as thin as a chipboard. A banig is usually made from “tikog”, a special reed grass which grows in swampy areas along rice fields and has solid, jointless and usually triangular stems.
Banig weaving is the common source of income of people in almost any part of Samar, most especially by the housewives.
The traditional art of mat weaving continues to flourish in the old town of Basey. The practice of this ancient art has been handed down from one generation to the next. The weavers are locally known as “paraglara” (usually women weavers). The paraglaras is said to practice and were taught the traditional mat weaving at an early age. It is believed that the people in Basey had been weaving mats long before the Spaniards came in the Philippines.
Colorful banigs are more expensive than the simple ones. Because of the increasing demand of the product, the once known “banig” as a sleeping mat is also now being made into bags, decors, place mats, furniture matting, and adornments of ceiling panels or walls, throw pillows and more.
If you plan to visit Basey, Samar, visit their local tourism office. They can bring you to a showroom and workroom where you can see the traditional art of mat weaving.
(photo by Nelson Petilla)