The Art of Traditional Basket Weaving of General Luna, Antique

by UTROS in Philippines
November 4, 2019

GENERAL LUNA SAN REMIGIO ANTIQUE, 4 NOV 2019Antique is known for its main products that are shipped out of the province to other centers in the country include rice, muscovado sugar, fruits and vegetables, copra, and seaweeds. In General Luna, of San Remigio in Antique lies people who make rara or basket weavers. Although San Remigio has almost 70% of its land area and is mountainous and the remaining 30% comprises the flat lowland and rolling hills according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and there are still unknown people who make the basket as their main source of living.

Although the Philippine government provides several programs to enhance the livelihood of the Filipino together with The Department of Science and Technology (DoST) through various types of hands-on and personalized training programs, we are not aware some of the hard laborers are in the rural areas which are little known or less recognized.

Basketry is made from a variety of fibrous or pliable materials—anything that will bend and form a shape. During the market day in Sibalom, we strolled around and found a group of basket weavers in the plaza of Sibalom, a few blocks away from the market area. They display their products such as native bed bunks, baskets, banig and the rest that are usually used for daily or in farming.

Basket weaving has been a tradition for cultures worldwide for thousands of years. It has been part of our culture when there were plates, cups or bowls, baskets served as essential items for so many years. It is used to carry water, clothing, food, and much more. As part of our interviews, we travel to experience what locals do but some of the weavers we asked for an interview told us that coming to their town is not easy. They told us to prepare for a very long walk as skylab or motorcycles can’t get there. As they also traveled a long, vigorous walk just to bring down their products every Monday and sell it on Tuesday for the Market day in the plaza of Sibalom. They’re not for the faint hearten they added with a smile. And we were lucky enough to witness how to do basket weaving on the last day of our trip in the province of Antique with Ate Helen.

Amid our conversation, in tears as she remembers the struggles. She regretted was that she had never been able to finish her studies and now as a parent, her priority is to feed her children every day, so she needs money to get her the things that they need. A sense of shared sorrow, you will feel emotional after she shared that every Monday at dawn they have to walk almost 8 kilometres and bring their products to the town proper. Her son helped him carry products using stick to support their shoulders. There are times they slept near in comfort room when rain poured. They had to wait there to display the products on the next morning for the market day.

We all live busy, stressful lives and have endless concerns about our life but remember that adversity is a part of life. We salute the basket weavers for your hard work who maintained and keep the traditional way and cultural method of livelihood of weaving in the Philippines.

Give love and support to all the local basket weavers
You may visit Sibalom Plaza every Monday-Tuesday in Antique, Philippines

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