SAN NICOLAS, Ilocos Norte, Dec. 18 — Residents are paying tribute to their ancient craft of terra-cotta pottery (or damili) through a month-long celebration of dances, exhibits, sports competitions and showcase of talents.
The Damili festival was institutionalized when the community saw the need to revive and preserve its traditional occupation of pottery that dates back to the turn of the 19th century.
The town’s most enduring traditional product is the lowly banga (cooking pot) which has become an icon of Ilocano heritage and a livelihood that sustained generations of families of pot-makers.
San Nicolas Mayor Alfredo Valdez encouraged potters to expand their products to include brick-manufacturing.
He also commissioned the town’s potters to produce bricks for a commercial complex in the town.
Valdez made it a policy for every construction project in his town to include bricks in the building’s materials to help generate income for residents.
The festival has also become one of the anticipated year-end events in the province where the municipal government lined up a variety of activities to promote the town’s industries this year.
Some of the festival highlights include an agri-industrial trade fair and exhibit, a bonsai exhibit, street dancing and competition, beauty pageant, indigenous games and a walking tour of the town’s heritage.
The provincial government will also sponsor a dinner for the town’s balikbayans who have contributed to the town’s various projects.
The festival will be capped by the 115th Rizal Day commemoration on December 30, where officials and residents will collectively offer a wreath before the hero’s monument at the town plaza. (JCR/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)