Ilocos folks push longest buri mat into Guinness Book of World Records
By Freddie G. Lazaro
SAN JUAN, Ilocos Sur (6 February) -- Local officials of this town are busy completing the documents for enlisting at the World's Guinness Book of Records the longest buri (palm leaf thatch) mat weaved by the local folks, it was learned.
Some of these documents include certifications and evidences on the existence of the made product.
The world's claim longest buri mat measuring 4,331 meters long or 4.331 kilometers with 1.17 meters width was unrolled along the center of the national highway by more than 5,000 local folks led by San Juan town Mayor Benjamin Sarmiento and Ilocos Sur Vice Govenor Jeremias Singson during the second edition of the town's Buri Festival held in the afternoon of December 28, 2007.
The unrolling of the buri mat by the residents took up 4 hours, which was started at the southern boundary of the town until the poblacion. The buri mat was placed in rolling equipment held by mini –trailer drawn by a vehicle. This was also drawn attractions among thousands motorists, travelers and local tourists.
It was also the second time that San Juan town's residents to attempt the inclusion of their longest buri mat in the Guinness World of Book Records. On December 27, 2006, the local folks were coming up with a 2.4 kilometers long by more than one meter width during the first "Buri Festival" which surpassed the unpublished world's records of more than a kilometer – long mat made by residents of Basey, Samar on September 20, 2000 in their "Banigan – Kawayan Festival.
"The weaving of our very – own longest buri mat is one of our significant achievements last year as we continuously promoting our various "Buri Products," our recognized One Town One Product (OTOP)," Sarmiento told Tuesday.
The longest buri mat, which weaved by 37 weavers from the eastern barangays of the town, is now preserved by the local officials for attraction and documentation.
San Juan town, which is approximately 350 kilometers north of Manila, is well–known for its woven mats, hats and baskets all throughout Northern Luzon and the country. It grows abundant buri (silag palm) plants in its eastern barangays.
"Our residents from our fifteen eastern barangays out from the total 32 barangays of our town to include Cacandungan, Darao, Lapting, Malammin, Labnig, Caronoan, Bannuar, Ressurecion, Camanggaan, Namuraya and Barbar are engaged in weaving mats, hat and baskets," Sarmiento said.
According to Sarmiento, even buri midribs that are by products of the silag palm are made into chairs in which these buri products are feted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as San Juan town's OTOP.
"We have come to realize that we need to focus our festival on our major product –the buri — to promote our woven product and, hopefully, for our tourism industry to flourish," he added.
Although they failed to put their longest mat at the Guinness World of Book Record in their first attempt, Sarmiento cited the positive impact of their "buri festival."
"Since we've launched this "buri festival," the demand of our buri products abruptly increased because even foreign companies were already interested," Sarmiento said.
Beth Viloria, 47, President of San Juan Buri Craft Association, disclosed that their buri products had already been invaded the world market since the Buri Festival initiated.
"Our buri products had already increased its demand in the world market since we launched this "Buri Festival." Some foreign countries from Europe and in America had ordered in volume of our products and most of which is our medium – sized weaved buri bags," Viloria said.
Viloria, who started to weave buri products since 1980, suggested the continuous training weaving of buri products to always meet its demand quality in the market. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]