Ilocos town to parade world's longest mat
By Freddie G. Lazaro
SAN JUAN, Ilocos Sur (22 November) -- Local folks of this town are trying to make a record at the Guinness Book of Record by presenting their longest mat during their maiden "Buri Festival" on December 27-30, 2006.
Mayor Benjamin Sarmiento told on Monday that his townmates had weaving a 4-kilometer mat that will be laid down along the streets during the opening of the festival on the 27th of December.
Each mat weaver is set to make a five-meter long mat. Which will be connected to complete the 4 kilometers long mat.
"Our Buri Festival falls with the celebration of our town fiesta, which we usually dubbed as San Juan Christmas Festival. However, we realized that we need to focus our fest into one of our major products, so we have chosen the Buri Festival to promote our woven products and the same time, promote our tourism industry," Sarmiento said.
"Our fest for this year is different because we want to put our town in the world map as the producer of world's longest mat," he added.
Highlights of the activities of the 3-day "Buri Festival" include a grand parade and streetdancing competition dramatizing the technology in making woven products; opening & cutting of ribbons of the newly constructed public market; amateur boxing competition; coronation of Miss San Juan featuring the three winners from America, Europe and Asia.
According to the mayor, a "tax holiday" will also be launched, wherein resident vendors and visiting vendors are entitled for free taxes in selling their productsduring the festival period.
Mayor Sarmiento cited the town of San Juan as the well-known producer of woven mats, hats and baskets in the Ilocos region due to its abundance of buri (silag) plants in its eastern barangays.
"Our residents from the eleven eastern barangays namely: Cacandungan, Darao, Lapting, Malammin, Labnig, Caronoan, Bannuar, Ressurecion, Camanggaan, Namuraya and Barbar are engaged in weaving of mats (banig), hat and baskets," he said.
The Buri product was recognized by the Department of Trade and Industry as the One Town One Project (OTOP) of San Juan town. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]