Aside from preserving Vigan’s ancestral houses, the people of Vigan also struggle to continue with the traditional way of making burnay or unglazed earthen jars, an industry that survived hundreds of years since the Spanish colonial era.
The burnay is made of clay mashed by carabaos (water buffaloes) and mixed with sand. Unfortunately, the more convenient electric kilns are displacing nowadays the dragon kilns where the burnay jars are baked, leading to the slow demise of a centuries-old tradition in Vigan
The burnay jars have small openings while those with bigger mouths are called wangging. In the early years, the burnay, also called tapayan or banga, was used for storage of water, rice grains, basi (sugarcane wine) and condiments like salt and bagoong (fish paste).
Burnay jars are also used to ferment vinegar that comes from the sweet sap of the Arenga Pinnata, a sugar palm tree more commonly known as “kaong.” According to locals, Arengga vinegar tastes better if stored in burnay jars than in plastic or metal containers.
Long live the burnay tradition!
Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo City Wikipedia photo
The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog in Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Aklan
The Dinagyang is held both to honor the Santo Niño and to celebrate the arrival on Panay of Malay settlers and the subsequent selling of the island to them by the Atis, the original settlers in the island. The festival began after Rev. Fr. Ambrosio Galindez of a local Roman Catholic parish introduced the devotion to Santo Niño in November 1967. In 1968, a replica of the original image of the Santo Niño de Cebu was brought to Iloilo by Fr. Sulpicio Enderez as a gift to the Parish of San Jose. The faithful, led by members of Confradia del Santo Niño de Cebu, Iloilo Chapter, worked to give the image a fitting reception starting at the Iloilo Airport and parading down the streets of Iloilo.
The Confradia patterned the celebration on the Ati-atihan of Ibajay, Aklan, where natives dance in the streets, their bodies covered with soot and ashes, to simulate the Atis dancing to celebrate the sale of Panay. It was these tribal groups who were the prototype of the present festival. (From: Wikipedia)
Long live Pinoy festivals!
The Miag-ao Church in Iloilo province was built in 1786 by Spanish Augustinian missionaries and was declared in 1993 as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Baroque Churches of the Philippines.”
On the front facade, which is flanked by two watchtower belfries, one can see the unique blending of Spanish and native influences (From Wikipedia). The central feature of the bas-relief facade is a large coconut tree which reaches almost to the apex. While an integral part of the Philippine landscape, the coconut tree is also the subject of lore. On the church’s facade the coconut tree appears as the “tree of life” to which St. Christopher carrying the Child Jesus on his shoulder is clinging to. The lesser facades feature the daily life of Miagaowanons during the time. Also depicted are other native flora and fauna and native garb.
The church and its watchtowers were also built to defend the town and its people against raids by the Moros, thus the church has thick walls and, reportedly, secret passages. Indeed stretching along the Iloilo coast are defensive towers, but none that equal the size of the Miag-ao. It is because of this defensive purpose that it is sometimes referred to as the Miag-ao Fortress Church.
Mabuhay ang Miag-ao Church!
Detail of the Paete Mural attributed to Dans
The 19th century Paete Mural is attributed to Paete artist Jose Dans (1805- ca. 1870), a true son of Paete who used color pigments mixed with pulverized volcanic ash and brushes fashioned from cat’s hair.
At the Pate Parish Church in Laguna are two works by Dans, probably one of the earliest recorded painters in Philippine (colonial) art history. The work “Langit, Lupa at Impierno” (ca. 1850, or Heaven, Earth and Hell), is a three-level painting which shows the Holy Trinity, Mary the Mother of Christ, saints, the Seven Blessed Sacraments and a macabre depiction of hell. The second painting is entitled Purgatorio (Purgatory) which shows the eight punishments the soul passes through for cleansing before reaching heaven.
The mural fascinates with its intriguing and disturbing details, graphically showing the eight forms of punishment. Writer Jose Dalisay described the mural as: “From the entrance, the two on the left depict San Cristobal (St. Christopher) fording a river with the Child Jesus on his shoulder; on the right is a towering, phantasmagoric rendition of Langit, Lupa at Impyerno (Heaven, Earth and Hell).
“The artistry in all three works is superb, the kind of detailing and nuancing you could mull over for hours, seated in a chair in front of the painting. However, all three — indubitably national treasures — are in dire need of restoration.”
Mabuhay ang Paete Murals!
The Blood Compact Memorial in Bohol
The Blood Compact site in Bohol marks the place where the Spanish colonist Miguel de Legazpi and the Bohol chieftain Sikatuna made a pact.
More than 40 years after Magellan’s death, Spain sent in 1564 four expeditions to establish colonies in the Far East, and to pick up a share of the lucrative spice trade which is under the control of the Portuguese. Legazpi attempted to sail to Cebu but was thwarted. He then decided to head to Mindanao but inclement weather forced his fleet to the direction of Bohol.
In Bohol Legazpi was also given a hostile welcome since Portuguese raiders a few years back have raided the Visayan seas, plundered Bohol and killed or enslaved about one thousand of its inhabitants. But with the help of a Malay translator, Legazpi persuaded two chiefs of Bohol, Datu Sikatuna of Bohol and Datu Sigala of Loboc that they were not Portuguese, and had come in peace, and not to plunder or kill. This convinced the tribal kings (big mistake!) to end their hostility and enter a pact of friendship.
On 16 March 1565 (or March 25, records are vague due to the Georgian calendar reform in 1584), Legazpi and Sikatuna performed the now famous blood compact, probably not far from the modern town of Loay. This event is still celebrated in Bohol every year in June with the Sandugo (One Blood) festival every July where balls, dances, beauty pageants, fairs, sports events, and the re-enactment of the blood compact to signify the friendship formed between the Boholanos and the Spaniards.
Mabuhay ang Bohol!