Ayusan Sur

Damili: Ayusan Sur’s Main Source of Livelihood

The Damili is one form of terra-cotta craft considered to be indigenous to a number of residents in Ayusan Sur. Our barangay is situated around the Vigan hills whose immediate surroundings is that of Bantog clay, the main material used for pottery. A sizeable number of residents where there is a marked concentration of craftsmen, are still dependent on the damili as a major source of livelihood. Damili craft goes side by side with workers from seasonal laborers like carpenters, construction workers, fishpond handlers, etc. Others are professionals like teachers, nurses, engineers and even government and private office workers.

Traditional damili craftsmen produce cooking pots (banga), water vessels (karamba), water and animal feeding basins (bakka and paso) plant pots (masetera), souvenir items like figurines, vase, miniature kalesa, animals , lampshade, astray and “tuon-tuon”.

The process of production are usually done under the open sky and unpredictable weather which hampers good production. Airing and drying take a much longer time during the rainy season. Morever, since there is not enough covered space to keep them during the rains, and not enough time to gather and keep them during unexpected and sudden rains, a lot of raw products are ruined. Aside from that, the environmental conditions related to rainy seasons make it safe to fire only two layers of pots instead of three or four in the summer, and can cause unsatisfactory products as there are greater risk of breaking thus, this means more expenses and more loss.

Traditional damili craftsmen produce cooking pots (banga), water vessels (karamba), water and animal feeding basins (bakka and paso) plant pots (masetera), souvenir items like figurines, vase, miniature kalesa, animals , lampshade, astray and “tuon-tuon”.

Brief History

Barangay Ayusan Sur is bounded in the north by Ayusan Norte; on the east are Tamag, Paoa and Pagburnayan; on the west by a tributary of the Abra river (more popularly called Mindoro river); and on the south by Bulala. The two barangays, Ayusan Sur and Ayusan Norte was only one barangay of Ayusan during the Spanish time.

The place was sparsely populated during the early part of the Spanish period. It was a place where flood water found its way to a river flowing to China Sea. Many houses that were washed away during typhoons and floods drifted to the river banks near the Ayusan. It was for this reason that the people of the villages called the place “Ayusan”, an Ilocano word which refers to place where water flows.

The old barangay of Ayusan was divided into two; Ayusan Norte and Ayusan Sur. Ayusan Norte is more economically progressive as it is the home of pot makers, market vendors and carpenters while Ayusan Sur is the main source of clay which is used in making earthen ware.

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