Barangay Bitas and the 10th Burihan Festival

Text and photos by Bombette G. Marin

Barangay Bitas in Tigbauan, Iloilo will celebrate the 10th Burihan Festival with the theme, “Maghugpong kag Pasanyugon: Burihan Pride kang Bitasnonon,” on Feb 11, 2020.

The highlight is the annual tribe competition at 3 p.m.

Burihan Festival aims to promote the buri industry. Buri weaving has been a traditional industry in the barangay.

Burihan Festival is tipped to be another cracker event. It officially started in 2011 to honor the barangay’s main industry and to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is also a thanksgiving jubilee for Evelyn Tupino-Igana, mother of Burihan Festival, who was able to send her children to school because of her buri business.

Clad in buri-inspired costumes, from hats to slippers and even trinkets, performers from Tribus Likyad, Luknit, Sasa, Hilo, Karatel will make joyous celebrations in the middle of a vacant farm lot at the back of their Barangay Hall.

The annual festival presentation is a symbol of the community’s undying love for the cottage industry that they proudly call their own.

Also known as the century plant, buri is a palm that grows to a maximum height of 20 to 40 meters and its trunk with a diameter of 1 to 1.5 meters.

There are three kinds of fibers obtained from the tree – buri, raffia, and buntal. The buri palm has large fan-shaped leaves that range from two to three meters in length. When mature, these are used for covering tobacco bales or as roofing for houses, while the ribs are used for making brooms.

The leaf also produces a fiber quite similar to raffia and used in making cloth or strings, and other decorative items. The fiber from the ribs of the palm’s unopened leaves is used to make hats, mats, and baskets.

The major sponsors of the event are M/V Rainbow Crew and Officers through Captain Aladin Tinambunan and Chemical Engineer Cyril Untalasco, Elsa Tirado, Mr. and Mrs. Jose Tubiano, Engineer Bimboy Terania, Arcega Marketing owned by Bong and Romelia Alinsasaguin, and Engineer Ma. Anita dela Cruz.

The peaceful barangay of Bitas is a 20-minute tricycle ride from the town proper of Tigbauan.

Tigbauan is a 30-minute drive or 22. 5 kilometers away south of Iloilo City. It has 52 barangays on a 6,062-hectare land area. It is bordered in the northwest by Leon; the northeast by San Miguel; east by Oton; west by Guimbal and the Iloilo Strait in the south.