SAN NICOLAS, Ilocos Norte — Former First Lady now Congresswoman Imelda Marcos led the crowd of tourists, visitors, “balikbayan” and residents in watching the street-dance parade that highlighted the “2014 Damili Festival” here, over the weekend.
A total of 24 contingents composed of students, who wore elegant and colorful native costumes, represented all barangays of the town during the street dance pageantry.
The groups of the students danced gracefully as they demonstrated the process of “damili,” an Ilocano term referring to the art of making pottery products, while an Ilocano song entitled: “Taga-San Nicolas Kami,” was played.
“Our people in San Nicolas are celebrating today (Saturday) two significant events –the Christmas season and the town’s fiesta to remember our rich heritage cultures,” Marcos said in her short message before the crowd.
Mayor Melanie Grace Valdez, overwhelmed by the attendance of Rep. Marcos and the big crowd of tourists, said: “This is another milestone for us because we had a lot of visitors, balikbayans, tourists and residents, who enjoyed and were entertained by our Damili Festival. This is the biggest event in the province after Christmas.”
Valdez said the “Damili Festival” was the main feature of their annual town fiesta not only to revive their pottery – One Town One Product (OTOP) but to give importance to the local pottery industry as a tourist attraction.
The centuries – old pottery industry in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte started with the influence of the Spanish colonizers in the Ilocos. The pottery – livelihood industry involved several processes starting from panagkali (digging of clay), panaglali (kneading), panagbirbir/panagpitpit (molding/shaping), panaggebba (drying and burning) and panaglako (selling).
At present, the town’s pottery product popularly known as “banga” has a high demand in the local markets in the entire Luzon area, said Valdez. (Freddie G. Lazaro)