THE mat industry in Basey, Samar, Philippines begun in the 50’s, and from a humble beginning, it grown impressively and gained recognition as one of the country’s premier local industry.
During the old times, mats or locally known as “banig” are being used only as floor covering by the natives to sleep on. But several years after, it is now being used for so many purposes such as for decorations, clothing and accessories.
Banig which is made of wild grass (Tikog) is being transformed into innovations of decorative mats, wall hangs, slippers, sandals, frames, boxes, wallets, bags, among other out-of-the-box items.
It is primarily hand-woven in Basey, a small rustic town situated in the southwestern part of Samar province, a place located beside Tacloban City – the economic center stage of Eastern Visayas region.
The town of Basey is known for its famous show caves inside the Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park, Kawayan-Banigan Festival and being a holder itself of Guinness World Record of longest mat-weaved “banig.”