Old and new, traditional and modern — these pair of words contradict each other but just as east meets west, one barangay in Bauko has found a way to bring culture and science together to benefit communities.
Looking back at tradition
Pottery in Bila, Bauko traces way back before the Spanish came looking for the Igorot gold.
“Bila is one of the early villages in the Cordillera that the Spanish recorded and pottery was already an economic activity,” shared Bauko Tourism Officer Arsenia Addon.
Through the barter system, pottery products from Bila have reached the lowlands in exchange of tobacco and salt.
Addon added the pots originally used as “pananuman” (water storage) and “panengdengan” (for cooking), are in some ways, a reflection of the way of life of the Kankanaey in Bila during the olden times.
Responding to modern-day challenges
Climate change, water shortage, and various health concerns – these are some realities of the modern world that the innovation inspired by the traditional pottery of Bila addresses.
Engr. Namar Gawaban of the Municipal Planning Development Office explained that waterborne diseases are among the top morbidities in the municipality.
Tests done in the 22 barangays of Bauko showed “water sources already contain coliform and is positive of E. coli bacteria,” Local Economic and Investment Promotion Officer Jake Oyang-o said.
The presence of E.coli bacteria in the town’s water sources poses risks especially on the health of residents.
Recognizing the issue, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Bauko and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) came up with the Ceramic Water Filter in 2013.
Minirva Songaben of DOST Mountain Province explained that the project is in line with DOST’s thrust on water sanitation, one of the five entry points of science and technology.
Having been tested before, Bila’s clay passed the requirements for the Ceramic Water Filter technology patented by the Industrial Development Institution of DOST.
Ceramic water filter — how it works?
The Ceramic Water Filtration System is made up of six parts – the cover, ceramic water filter, upper bucket, plastic hook, and the lower bucket.
Tap water is first put into the upper bucket. The water then trickles down and passes through the ceramic water filter which is infused with Nanosilver.
Nanosilveris an antibacterial technology that kills microorganisms making the water safe for drinking.
With a capacity of two liters and filtration rate at two liters per hour, the ceramic water filter is easy to carry especially for those who work in gardens and farms.
The portable ceramic water filter is also useful during emergencies.
“This is very good for LGUs during disasters because our community will have potable water to drink,” Oyang-o recommended.
Towards healthier and wealthier communities
Not only bringing healthier options for the community, the Ceramic Water Filter technology also provides livelihood for the locals.
“Uray haan kami mapan nga agbirok ti trabaho mi iti sabali nga ili ket adda met ditoy Bila mismo,” said Maribeth Popoten who is an employee of the ceramic water filter project.
A fourth class municipality, Bauko sees great potential in the project which is receiving orders not only around the region but from other parts of the country as well.
Oyang-o said DOST has recently purchased and distributed 990 pieces of ceramic water filter for their Empowering Communities Through Science and Technology Program in Paracelis, Mountain Province.
With orders in the pipeline, the municipality hopes for the sustainability of the ceramic water filter which helps create healthier and wealthier communities. (JDP/JJM-PIA CAR)