The loud banging sound, fire blazing and metal flares from the steel blade being honed in the furnace symbolizes that the blacksmith industry of Calasiao, Pangasinan is still flourishing. Coined from the Filipino term Panday or blacksmith, Sitio Pandayan of Brgy. Gabon, Calasiao, Pangasinan is known for its quality blades, samurai and other razor products. Blacksmithing has been one of the primary source of living of the majority of residents in the area who are also members of the Aliguas Blacksmith Workers Association (ABWC).
Although their association was relatively new, Ruben Magalong, ABWC President shared that the blacksmith industry of Sitio Pandayan has been in existence for more than seven decades now on which he described as reflection of valued tradition handed down to generations.
Some of the Panday in the area still do the old and very rigid process of metal honing. Although this method as incomparable and part of the rich tradition of blacksmithing, members of the ABWC recognized the need to upgrade their knowledge and facilities to cope up with the demands of the market and maximize the advantages of technology. In 2013, DTI introduced to them the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project. Established primarily to help MSME groups and cooperatives, it aims to improve the quality and productivity of microenterprises by addressing the gaps and bottlenecks through the provision of processing machines and equipment for the common use of the MSMEs.
DTI saw the potential for growth and development of ABWC, thereby, identified them as one of the SSF recipient. PHP1.2 million worth of machine and equipment like welding and sewing machines, metal cut-off,, forging hammers and others were provided to the association. Trainings and seminars were also provided to enhance their entrepreneurial skills. Aside from the increase of sales and production, the number of members also increased from 83 to 126. It included few from young generation who showed interest in blacksmith industry. Their present market include Pangasinan, La Union, Bulacan, Metro Manila. Orders from abroad are also starting.
“Salamat po dahil sa suporta ng DTI, hindi napag-iwanan ang sector ng pagpa-panday!” (Thank you! With DTI’s support, the blacksmith industry will not be left behind!”)
With the new technology introduced to the hardworking blacksmiths of Sitio Pandayan, they are now more driven to continue and develop the blacksmith industry. Hence, strong as the metal steel they honed, fierce as the fire in the furnace, their future will remain bright.