Saturday, September 6, 2014

Maasin: Bamboo Capital of Iloilo

photo from
Maasin, Iloilo is a dedicated bamboo town located 29.5 kilometers west-central portion from the city. The town is blessed with scenic views of villages along plantations of bamboo where farms are being developed by the Municipal Government as one of its eco-tourism destinations.  Many of these farms showcase varieties of bamboo to have more people appreciate and discover more about it and it uses.

Think of your stay in Maasin as an escape from your hectic city life. Many of the farms in the area are ideal places for people who want to spend some time in lap of nature. Pamper yourself with long walks around the plantations and find a corner to read a good book or indulge the photographer in you.

Bamboo farming has a great potential in alleviating poverty and providing livelihood opportunities in the countryside. Bamboo is used to make chairs, wooden sofa, wooden beds, and as a frame for traditional houses. Bamboo is no longer considered as a poor man’s timber but a multi-purpose crop with so many uses.


Bamboo belongs to the grass family and is known to be the largest grass in the world. There are around 91 genera and over 1,000 species of bamboos all over the world.  They are commonly found in East Asia and Southeast Asia but common in the Philippines are the bamboo species of Laak, Kawayan tinik, Kawayan tiling, Botong or Patong, Bolo and Kayali.

The size of bamboo varies from small annuals to giant timbers and divided into Clumpers – those that grow from the soil in a slowly expanding tuft; and, Runners – with underground rhizomes to produce shoots several metres from the parent plant. They are known to be the fastest growing woody plants in the world with a growth rate of about 24 inches daily. This is because it has a unique rhizome-dependent system. It produces flower only every 20 to 120 years, and the flower is the easiest way to classify the type.


The province of Iloilo has an abundant supply of bamboo poles. Around 8, 085 hectares is planted with bamboo producing 2,426,487 poles every year with the municipality of Maasin devoting 3,000 hectares for bamboo farming.

The province supplies raw material requirements of 41 manufacturers, 32 domestic producers, and 9 exporters of various processed bamboo products (source: Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC).

With this, Iloilo is aiming to be recognized as the “Bamboo Capital of the Philippines.” With its increasing demand for bamboo poles, the provincial government is accelerating its plantation development efforts with a long-term plan of establishing additional bamboo plantations of about 58,200 hectares in the coming years.


Aside from its household and industrial use, bamboo experts in Iloilo, for many years have been experimenting with other possible uses and are still discovering new applications. Bamboo enthusiasts, local government units and support agencies from the regional offices, livelihood cooperatives and researchers from the academe have committed to give full support to our local bamboo-based producers. People are exposed to study tours and with trainings related to bamboo and bamboo technology.

It is also used for preparing food. The chemical ingredients of bamboo in bamboo shoots, , are made up of 88.8% moisture, 3.9 % protein, 0.5% fat, 5.7 % carbohydrates and 1.1 minerals. Its amino acid content of bamboo is higher than cabbage, carrot, onion and pumpkin. Bamboo also contains 17 different types of enzymes and more than 10 kinds of mineral elements, such as chromium, zinc, manganese, iron, magnesium, nickel and cobalt. Mixes of tender bamboo shoots are used to clean wounds and treat ulcers and maggot-infested sores. Bamboo leaves are used to fight spastic disorders and bleeding conditions, as well as diarrhea and stomach disorders.

One of the major products of Maasin is bamboo charcoal. Iloilo Kawayan Marketing in Maasin in known to produce this 100% natural product that is ecologically friendly. When used as a fuel, it is smokeless and odourless that is why it is best for barbecues. Bamboo charcoal works as a natural fertilizer and pesticide. It is also used as a deodorizer. It can also be used to filter tap water. Alternatively, you can also try putting pieces of bamboo charcoal in a jug of tap water then leave it for 4-5 hours. The water in the jug will taste like mineral water.

Bamboo charcoal is now popularly used in soap due to its anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It cleans the skin deeply. Because of the incredible absorbency of the bamboo charcoal with activated carbon, the soap can clean to the very bottom of skin pores and does not leave a residue on the face. This means that the newly cleaned skin pores can receive natural moisturizing from the body’s oils. Because bamboo charcoal soap cleans the skins pores thoroughly and then allows them to be moisturized it is recommended that people with acne wash with bamboo charcoal soap.
Maasin is made up of 50 barangays over a land area of 15,658 hectares. It is bounded in the north by the Municipality of Janiuay; in the east by the Municipality of Cabatuan; in the south by the Municipal of Alimodian; and in the northwest by the mountain ranges of the province of Antique. It annually celebrates its patronal fiesta every 30th of December in honor of San Jaime. Market days are every Mondays and Thursdays.

To know more about Maasin and its established bamboo industry, visit their booth on 10th TUMANDOK celebration on September 18-20 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact, Miss Kristine Mae Cartagena-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09088601549.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this! I'm considering this bamboo industry to be my topic in my unergrad thesis :)
    -Juvelle Manas


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