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W. Visayas at its best
Source: Manila Bulletin
Date: 2005-06-22
A visit to Intramuros Clamshell this coming two weeks will bring you to the exciting attractions and products sale of Western Visayas (Region 6) comprising the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Capiz, Aklan, Antique and Guimaras.

In the Kabugana-an showcase which opened June 16 to 28 at the Clamshell, Western Visayas, exhibits and sells live and processed marine products, souvenir items, woodcraft, handwoven textiles and products; and pasalubong food items. The six provinces also sell tour packages to their popular historical, cultural and religious destinations aside from beach resorts and festivals

This Kabugana-an presentation is part of The Best of the Regions year-round show in Intramuros, under the auspices of the Department of Tourism (DoT) headed by Secretary Ace Durano. Managing the two-week show are DoT Regional Director Edwin G. Trompeta and Rafael Tibong Jardeleza, events manager and assistant director.

As its theme: "Ginintuang Pamana: Arts, History and Culture" suggests visitors will experience the region’s wealth of arts, history, and culture through music and dances.

As you enter the domed-shaped Clamshell, you could see to your right a display of live seafoods from Pana-ay, Capiz consisting of grouper (lapu-lapu); seabass (bulgan); snapper (maya-maya); oyster (talaba); angel wings (dival); prawns (sugpo) and red crabs (kasag) or alimango to Tagalogs. Other marine products processed in Capiz and some northern Iloilo towns are also sold at bargain prices.

Iloilo booths have an array of food items like biscocho, barquillos, pulceras, principe, bañadas, ugoy-uyoy and pacencia. Negros, which grows sugar abundantly through the century, shares the tradition of baking pastries, biscuits and other sweet food items.

Aklan exhibits its processed meat products and some food items that are favorite pasalubong items. Antique with thriving muscovado sugar industry displays sweets like bandi with other candies.

The mounds of ripened mango you see in another corner of the Clamshell come from Guimaras, famous for its exportable mangoes. The youngest province in Western Visayas also displays for sale its mango products like dried slices of mango pulp, jams, spreads and other preserves.

For the duration of the Best of the Region Showcase other non-food products in Region 6 shall also be displayed:

Iloilo City will display local products such as jusi, piña cloth, and hablon; while Iloilo province will feature the Iloilo Producers Association products: Leganes woodcraft, Miag-ao hablon and hindi of San Noaquin;

Aklan brings its piña cloth, raffia products, abaca cloth, nito products, and Sampaguita Garden dolls;

The province of Antique exhibits and sells its bariw bags, aside from other souvenir items;

Bacolod City displays its colorful Masskara souvenirs, aside from T-flavors processed foods and pickled products as well as native delicacies.

Meanwhile, visitors will find Western Visayan textiles weave a rich tapestry of colors and culture.

Hablon, patadyong, silk, piña and other hand-woven products from Region 6 became the toast of the fashion runways. But they are also ever present in the homes of rich and poor in Western Visayas and sold in wet markets.

Patadyong is the cloth of many colors of stripes, squares and rectangles. Hablon are hand-woven textiles, sometimes in muted colors and sometimes combined with silk threads. Patadyong and hablon are available in the southern towns of Iloilo and in some parts of Antique, woven by women who have the tradition of weaving for more 150 years.

Piña comes from Aklan where weavers painstakingly processed pineapple fibers and weave them to become exquisite cloth that commands high price for its beauty and workmanship.

Silk is one of the recent products of Western Visayas coming from the silk farms in Negros Occidental.

The traditional textiles in Western Visayas have survived through the tenacity of families who learned the craft. Some fashion designers, entrepreneurs, and local government officials have supported their production, although it wasn’t enough to encourage many women to go back to their looms or prevent young weavers to leave for work in the cities or abroad.

Although they are not for everyday wear, Western Visayas has an attachment to these traditional textiles. Patadyong, for example, is a versatile cloth. It is a skirt, a hammock, an apron and a convenient wipe. Women wear patadyong while washing clothes or bathing in the river. The cloth also functions as a curtain, a tablecloth, pillowcase and blanket, among others. Fashion designers recently turned patadyong into gowns, cocktail dresses, and formal wear.

Crowd-drawing festival extravaganzas that entail huge expense on the part of organizers are part of packaged tourism and show certain aspects of local culture.

It’s more than street dancing to attract tourists. They also support local industries that otherwise do not get noticed.

For example, young festivals like Pandayan of Badiangan town and Pakuyang sa Tangyan of Igbaras town are deeply rooted in the traditions of the said towns. Pandayan, shown last June 18, draws inspiration from the centuries-old blacksmithing tradition of the central Iloilo town of Badiangan. The town produces many kinds of long blades (bolo or hinangon) and knives. The industry supports families and makes the town famous for its products.

Enduring and popular festivals in Western Visayas share that element of promoting culture and livelihood. These were evident in the Ati-Atihan, Dinagyang, Masskara, Halaran and Binirayan where tourism receipts as well as local revenues get a boost. Ties were also strengthened, local talents were tapped and tourism facilities are upgraded.

A 20-minute boat ride from Iloilo takes a traveler to Guimaras Island for a day tour. Guimaras has unspoiled landscapes and white sand beaches. It also has mountain resorts like Valle Verde which gives a panoramic view of the sea. Guimaras offers island hopping and visits to coves and secluded beaches. For a more quiet time, a visit to Trappist Monastery or a hike to Balaan Bukid is a must.

If you’re searching for what is authentically Ilonggo, a city and countryside tour in Iloilo is a good place to start. A visit to Museo Iloilo that outlines the history of the Iloilo province introduces a visitor to origins and many influences that make up the Ilonggo culture. A drive through the old commercial district, known as Calle Real, and a stopover to the Iloilo Producers Association showroom are rewarding.

A visit to Jaro district brings a traveler to see turn-of-the century buildings and homes and the stately Jaro Cathedral where all its icons are male saints. This contrasts with that of the Molo Church, inspired by Gothic-Renaissance style, where all saints are females. While touring Iloilo, it is best to sample two famous dishes – Batchoy and pancit molo.

In a city tour of Roxas City, Capiz, one basks in freshness and abundance of seafood of which Capiz province is known for. A visit to Teodoro Arcenas Trade Center and Banica Dried Fish market is a must. These places offer a wide variety of fresh and processed marine products. Baybay Beach has rows of restaurants and resorts that serve delicious seafood grilled, stewed and cooked the native way. Try your angling skills at Capiz Bay Resort.

For a glimpse of culture and history, visit the Ang Panubli-on (Heritage) Museum and Roxas City Display Center where handicrafts and cut flower and ornamental plants are sold.

[ Baybay Beach Wiki | Molo Church Wiki | Trappist Monastery Wiki ]


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