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Republic of the Philippines Department of Education VALERIANO C.






Teacher III



Vocational School Administrator

THE HISTORY BACKGROUND OF MAT WEAVING Learning Outcomes: When you complete this lesson you will be able to:
1. Define what is banig. 2.Trace the history of banig weaving in Basey, Samar. 3. Identify the variations of banig weaving in the country. 4. Identify the raw material used in banig weaving in different ethnic groups.

Overview: 1.1. What is a banig?


1.2. History of banig weaving in the Philippines 1.3. Variations of banig design from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao 1.4. Raw materials of banig weaving in different ethnic groups

TOPIC 1: Meaning of Banig

Picture 1. Variety of banig in the Philippines


A Banig is a handwoven mat usually used in East Asia and Philippines for sleeping and sitting. This type of mat was traditionally made in the Philippines. Although has been more widely used too. Technically, it is not a textile. Depending on the region of the Philippines, the mat is made of buri (palm), pandan or sea grass leaves. The leaves are dried, usually dyed, then cut into strips and woven into mats, which may be plain or intricate. The Samals of Sulu usually make their mats out of buri leaves. Often, dyed strips of buri are woven to produce a design. Another region in the Philippines which is famous for intricately designed mats is Basey,Samar. Unlike Sulu, the banig in Basey are made up of tikog leaves. The leaves are dyed with different strong colors to make beautiful, colorful and unique designs.

TOPIC 2: The Legacy of Banig Weaving

It is foolhardy to believe that Basaynons invented mat weaving. The sedge grass Fimbristylis utilis Elmer, locally called tikug used as raw material, grows abundantly in the marshlands. It is as ubiquitous in the region as coconut for copra and abaca for rope making. However, mat weaving is an example of discipline in the Basaynons. For generations they have practiced this handicraft from their Malayan ancestors. Like fishing and farming, it has become a source of livelihood for a typical family. The people in Basey had been weaving mats

long before the Spaniards came, it was said. The tradition went on with almost all, if not all, of the womenfolk here learning the art of weaving at an early age. The weavers are locally known as paraglara. With many people in Basey engaged in mat weaving, it came as no surprise that there is now a scarcity of the raw material. Some of the weavers or the paraglara have to procure tikog from some Leyte towns like Mayorga, Abuyog, MacArthur and Sta. Fe, among others, to augment the supply that they acquire locally. The traditional art of mat weaving continues to flourish in this old town whose name has become synonymous with woven sleeping mat, or banig.And the practice of this ancient art, which has been handed down from one generation to the next, recently took a new turn as demand for the product increases. This is because use of the banig has expanded. Where once the age-old mat was used solely for sleeping, it now adorns modern walls or ceiling panels. It has been turned into bags, throw pillows, framed decors, as well as place mats and furniture matting. In recent years the art of the banig has made a spectacular

transformation. The traditional plaited sinamay and colorfully embroidered sleeping mats found place in other household uses and to accent wall decors, dividers, lampshades, bags, slippers and other novelties.


More recent innovations extol the artistic merits of the banig in fabulous accoutrement by local fashion designers and craftsmen as displayed during the much-celebrated Miss Guibaysayi beauty pageant. This annual, pre-fiesta event is a competition of sorts but more among local artisans of elegant and ostentatiously embroidered ternos of banig. These bring out the best

presentation among its beautiful contestants albeit for fashion shows only. This big development in the towns mat weaving industry has caught national attention and importance. It has certainly become a source of pride for the Basaynon. In 2000, the Basaynon laid its claim to have woven the longest banig in the world for the Guinness book.

Topic 3: Variations of Banig Weaving in the Philippines The designs and motifs of banig, as well as the raw materials used in weaving, differ from one ethnolinguistic group to another. Among the boatdwelling Badjao of Sulu and the agricultural Samal of Tawi-Tawi, pandan is used. While the mats of these two groups feature practically the same color (green, orange, red, violet blue and yellow), they differ in design and motif. The Badjao mat is characterized by vibrant colors and spontaneous geometric patterns and symbols reflecting the group's way of life such as those of crabs, wave, boats and marine life forms. On the other hand, the Samal mat's prominent patterns are stripes, multi-colored squares, zigzags and checkered


patterns of white and other colors. It also sports muted colors and is comparatively soft in texture. The mat of the Tausug, also of Sulu, is similar in design to that of the Samals. The Maranao of Lanao and the Maguindanaon of Cotabato have a common weaving tradition presumably due to their proximity to each other. Their primary raw material is a rush plant known locally as sesed. Their banig features the colors green, maroon, yellow and blue and is characterized by irregular patterns of geometric shapes in different colors. The most interesting feature perhaps of their banig is its round-shaped variation, which is the only mat of such shape produced in the country. The Tboli of Highland Mindanao opt for simplicity as opposed to their more design-oriented counterparts. Their banig, made of locally found reed, are typically not dyed. The Tagbanua of Palawan make their banig with careful attention to durability; they weave together rattan strips which they reinforce by locking their edges with smaller strips. The mat made in Samar, with its lush colors and attractive designs, is arguably the most ubiquitous in the country. Marrying tradition with presentday conventions, Samar weavers employ the same weaving process on their banig as the Maranao but the product differs radically in design. The weavers of Basey, Samar, regarded as the center of mat weaving in the province, use such


stylized motifs as flowers and other ornamental objects. Their banig, made of

tikog reed, can even go as modern and elaborate as to feature portraits of both
local and foreign figures. The towns chief cottage industry is the making of beautifully-designed mats made from reeds called tikog (Fimbristylis milliacea), a sedge grass that grows wild in swampy places. They are woven into different sizes (single, matrimonial or family) and are either plain or embroidered in different colorful designs with flowers, birds, fishes, mermaids and scenes from folktales and legends. They are also made into place mats, prayer mats, slippers, wall decor, lamp shades, dividers, bags and even as

upholstery. Basaynons also engage in bamboocraft, making ashtrays, baskets, fish traps, window blinds, flower vases, lamp shades, sala sets and native beds. In the Cordilleras, banig is woven using a reed referred to locally as rono. A variation is at times made of bark strips which takes considerably longer to weave. TOPIC 4 : Raw Materials in Banig Weaving in Different Ethnic Group Banig also refers to the traditional woven mat made in the Philippines. On account of the ingenuity employed in its creation, as practiced especially by some ethnolinguistic groups in the southern island group of Mindanao, banig weaving is considered an artistic activity. The raw materials used in weaving banig vary among ethnolinguistic groups, depending on available resources. . The Tikog (Fimbristylis spp)


Tikog (Fimbristylis spp.) belongs to the grass family. It is the raw material used in banig weaving in Basey, Samar. It has been popular as an excellent material for weaving quality mats. Due to its versatility, pliability and smoothness, various colorful functional handcrafted products can be made out of it. This publication compiles the available information on tikog and presents the current technologies on its utilization. In this volume, research institutions and the private sector have provided information on the cultivation and management practices of tikog in natural stand and in plantation, its protection and maintenance, harvesting and utilization, and economics and marketing.

Picture 2 Tikog (Fimbristylis spp)


Banig: The Art of Mat Making. (June 21, 2010.) Weaving: Libertad's Pride. (June 21, 2010.)


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