Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Binatbatan Festival of Paoay

This is a festival celebrated by the town of Paoay in Ilocos Norte. This town is popularly known for weaving the Iloco textile called “abel.” The main raw material for abel is the cotton. With the process of manufacturing this cloth, they are required at the initial stage to employ the use of two 18-inch long sturdy bamboo sticks called batbat to beat the cotton pods and later separate the seeds from the fluff. Binatbatan is the beating process. This is the first method of making the woven cloth abel.

Binatbatan festival originally has its roots from this historic town of Paoay and replicated by the City of Vigan because they also weave abel. Binatbatan became another Ilocano folk dance or an occupational dance. Performers of this dance maneuver in and out of the parallel sticks and the resulting rhythm and speed of the beating of sticks made a colorful and lively display.

The celebration of this festival has the main objective of promoting and preserving the livelihood or industry of the local fabric.

I witnessed a showcase of Binatbatan by the Paoay locals in their participation in the recently held Pamulinawen Festival in Laoag City where they depicted the stages of making Iluko abel from beating the cotton pods to producing thread or yarn up to its end product abel.

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