Bila potters exhibits traditional firing of earthen pots

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Bila, Bauko – People of all walks of life witnessed the geba, the indigenous firing of clay pots in barangay Bila, one of the barangays of the famous vegetable-producing town of Bauko.

As part of the process, the women potters arranged some stones where the fresh pots were laid. They tested the desirability of stones by placing and burning dried grasses and pine needles on top of the stones.

The potters arranged the clay pots on top of the pre-tested stones. Dried pine needles and twigs and grasses were placed on top of the clay pots, until fully covered. Small spaces (kawkaw) were then opened through these mounds around the base of the covered pots after which simultaneous kindling was done thru the kawkaw. Accordingly, synchronized burning is needed so that the firing of the clay pots will be done simultaneously.

See related story: The Jewels of Bila

While some of the pot makers continuously turned the unburned materials to ensure that all were burned, the others prepared the glazing material which was is made from the processed sap of the almaciga tree.

The pots were glazed after the pots were taken from the firing area and to test the pots of any leaks, the pots were filled with water and left overnight.

According to some elders, diwin di banga was the major economic industry of the people of Bila in the past with the pots brought to different places to be bartered with sugar, salt, and other household basic needs.

They recounted that the Igorot god Kabunyan appreciated the artistic and perfectly- made clay pots of Bila potters hence, he bequeathed the best clay to them, which is found in Kebasan that is located between barangays Bila and Otucan Norte.

Prominent Bila personalities who joined the event were Bauko Mayor Abraham Akilit, DTI-CAR ARD Juliet Palpal and Bila barangay chairman Rodrigo Payacda and his council members.

By Francis B. Degay
File photo – Traditional pot making at Bila, Bauko is one of the places of interest validated by the Provincial Tourism Office of Mountain Province and Municipal Tourism Office of Bauko LGU. Photo by FBD