VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur, May 7 (PIA) — The best time of the year to discover the native cloth, abel Iloco, is during the yearly Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts where all abel products available in the market are in their glorious moment displayed on the façade of ancestral houses, and business centers in the city.
Place mats with designs of butterflies, flowers and leaves are folded into fans; blankets and table runners where the words Viva Vigan are pinned or glued. Cellphone pouches and hand towels hanging from capiz windows. All these and more because some houses also completes their presentations by having live mannequins dressed in Ilocana dress called ‘baro’t saya’ or in the elegant ‘terno’ and ‘barong tagalong’ all made from simple or glittery abel Iloco. Not to mention the ‘burnay’ jars which are found only in this city, and the ‘terra cota’ products such as pots, jars, tiles, tables and chairs.
Ancestral houses come alive as one walks through the cobbled stone street of Mena Crisologo in the famous Heritage Village, even if he does not witness the design and fashion show of abel Iloco gowns, cocktail dresses, and barong tagalong.
These abel Iloco decorated houses have to meet the criteria on impact, materials used, craftsmanship and originality to win top prizes and at the same time promote the abel (hand loom weaving) industry of the city.
Viva Vigan Festival of the Arts is celebrated yearly since 1993 prolonging the Feast of the Natives of Vigan on the third day of May. Increasing the number of tourists each year, it united the residents towards the preservation of their heritage – their industry, arts and culture.
The Feast of of the Natives was established in honor of and in gratitude to the miracle of the Santo Cristo in Vigan in 1882 when 934 residents died of an epidemic in one month according to local history. The Santo Cristo is the miraculous patron of Sinait town, the northernmost town of Ilocos Sur. (ANL/ICR-PIA 1 Ilocos Sur)