GUAGUA-- Betis is staging its first open national competition for the country’s wood furniture makers and carvers as part of its annual Dukit Festival this month.
Guagua Mayor Dante Torres said the competition, which will be held at the Betis Church on December 23 to 28, will showcase the creations of top wood furniture makers and carvers from Paete in Laguna, Ifugao, Isabela and other known hubs for topnotch artisans, including Betis, in the country.
Former Central Bank Governor Jaime Laya, National Artist Ben Cabrera, Ilocos Governor Imee Marcos will top bill the panel of judges for the competition, according to Torres.
The judging and awarding of winners will be held on December 28 with Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda and Department of Tourism Regional Director, Ronnie Tiotuico, as special guests.
The master in ecclesiastical art, Wilfedo “Willy” Layug, is actively involved in inviting artisans from all over the country to join the competition, Torres said in last Friday’s weekly media forum at the Bale-Balita (House of News), Clark Freeport hosted by the Capampangan in Media, Inc. (CAMI) in partnership with the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and Social Security System (SSS).
Besides bolstering Betis’s 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 denuded forests and protecting the remaining forests in the land if only to help dampen the impact of climate change.
He added he was also hoping that with this Betis effort, Guagua’s wood furniture and woodcarving industry would get sufficient allocation of wood materials once the government fully implements its total log ban policy.
Betis has been widely known for its woodcarving (dukit in Pampango) and furniture making tradition 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 “sillion de fraileros” of the friars that later became the common “luklukan” or chair of a family patriarch.
The opening of the Suez Canal in the 19th century further buttressed the high reputation of Betis in wooden furniture and décor, with its artisans creating a full ensemble of interior decorations. (Ernesto Y. Tolentino)