CLARK FREEPORT – A small rural community here made famous by its artistry is now the venue of the first open national competition for the country’s wood furniture makers and carvers.
The village of Betis in Guagua, Pampanga, which gained world prominence for its woodcarving industry, will be the venue of he first “Dukit Festival” set on December 23 to 28.
Guagua Mayor Dante G. Torres said the competition, which will be held at the famous Betis Church, will showcase the creations of top wood furniture makers and carvers from Paete in Laguna, Rizal, Ifugao, Isabela and other known hubs for topnotch artisans, including Betis, in the country.
Former Central Bank Governor Jaime C. Laya, National Artist Ben Cabrera and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos will topbill the panel of judges for the competition, ores said.
The judging and awarding of winners will be held on Dec. 28 with Pampanga Gov. Lilia Nanay Baby” Pineda and Department of Tourism Regional Director Ronnie Tiotuico as special guests, he mayor added.
The master in ecclesiastical art, Wilfedo “Willy” Layug, is actively involved in inviting artisans from all over the country to join the competition, Torres also said in last Friday’s weekly media forum “Balitaan” hosted by the Capampangan in Media, Inc. (CAMI) in cooperation with the Clark development Corp. (CDC) and Social Security System (SSS) at the Bale-Balita here.
Besides bolstering etis’ image as the home of high-quality furniture and work of arts made from wood, Torres said the competition is also intended to heighten the national awareness on the importance of replanting trees in your denuded forests and protecting the remaining forests if only to help dampen the impact of climate change.
Torres said he was also hoping that with this event, Guagua’s wood furniture and woodcarving industry would get a sufficient allocation of materials once the government fully implements its total log and policy.
Betis has been widely known for its woodcarving (dukit in the local dialect) and furniture- waking radition that began even before the arrival of the Spaniards. The industry prospered during and after the spanish colonial period, highlighted by the creation and production in large number of the elegant “sillion e fraileros” of the friars that later became the common “luklukan” or chair of a family patriarch.
The hapening of the Suez Canal in the 19th century further buttressed the high reputation of Betis in the wooden furniture and décor with its artisans creating a full ensemble of interior decorations. Torres said he event is expected to create awareness to help Betis develop into a major destination for local and foreign tourists.