Banig Festival is a local festivity that is being celebrated by the residents of Badian Municipality, Cebu Province.
It is usually celebrated on July (25) to align with the feast day of its local patron saint - James the Apostle. This means that aside from promoting the local product(s), it is also expresses the people’s religiosity and probably their sense to gratitude for this source of livelihood.
‘Banig’ is a hand-woven ethnic floor mat commonly used as traditional bed (floor spread) where users sleep on it. It is made of local plant leaves or stalks depending on the area and availability of the materials.
The festival itself is being celebrated by the locals as a fiesta which showcases the Cebuano and Badianganon culture and tradition. During this festivity, delicacies, various sorts of products (mostly organic) and its famous ‘banig’ (mat) are being showcased and are also available to purchase.
The festival is usually commenced through a colorful parade that includes various competing groups/teams with their own themes related with the festival.
You will observe floats including the town’s patron saint’s image being paraded together with all the participants heading towards the town center where the day’s events will be publicly held.
There will be various sorts of competitions. There are beauty contests (usually women), banig-weaving and the colorful and energetic dance presentations by various groups. These groups also perform their dance steps while parading and heading towards the setup venue.
Banig beauty contest is usually a competition among younger, pretty and most talented women in town. They present not only their outward physical beauty but also their values, talents, intelligence and sense of concern and vision for the society.
They will be judged by selected individuals using most of the criteria aforementioned. The winners of this banig contest will be rewarded with various presents from the organizers and local government officials.
Colorful and revelry dancing competition is one of the highlights of this festival. Each group has from 20 or more members. They prepare their dance steps and routine with proper guidance from dance instructions and able organizers for each team.
Of course, each group prefers to include the ‘mat theme’ in their performance. Usually, the members of each group include in their costume a hand-woven mat – part of their clothes or any that will obviously portray the theme of banig festival.
Banig-making contest among individuals who can create this product is also being held during this festivity. Not many are qualified since, sadly, not many younger generation would want to do it. Even then, just for the sake of the celebration and supporting those who are still doing it as their source of livelihood, it is still being promoted.
Making the mat itself it tedious because it needs time to finish one and depending on the size. However, the most demanding task is the preparation and process of preparing the materials, which is by the way not part of the competition.
The competitors would only just weave the mat and will be judged according to the design or the finished product itself based on some criteria set.
The material, process and products
For the Badianganons, they get the material from a ‘Pandan’ plant. It is the leaf part of the plant which is thorny. One will harvest the leaves and remove the thorns and have to be dried for a few days under the sun.
The leaves will be evenly cut or divided evenly through each leaf’s elongated direction. After being dried, the leaves will be treated with natural dyes of various colors (some would prefer to keep the dried leave’s natural color, that is beige or light golden colors).
Banig related products
Banig is still commonly used among locals in many places as traditional material instead of the cotton spread on beds or the synthetic (plastic) mats common nowadays.
Aside from being used as a mat, the weaving process or the mat itself can be designed into various shapes for various purposes. These other products include home decors on walls, table mats, handbags, backpacks, tissue holders, decorative products and more. Certainly, creativity and visionary entrepreneurs can make use of this resource to create both business and work.
Personal experience with banig
Personally, when I was little, my family used ‘banig’s for sleeping. It is cool and safe because it is made of natural materials and is organic. We had mats made of ‘pandan’ leaves, tikog grass (the stalk or the aquatic grass itself) and other plant leaf product.
One time during my vacation (high school days), I tried weaving one mat for myself testing my own perseverance and resolve to accomplish something. Yes, I finish it during my vacation and only myself could fit in! I was proud of myself and was very happy and sleeping on it, but I did not try making a second one!
Now, if you are interested to learn more about Banig Festival in Badian, you may use the following contact detail for greater information.
Hope this helps you find the province more interesting to visit and explore.
Office of the Mayor
Tel No: (032) 475 – 5533; 475 – 9118
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