The women of Taal made famous Burdang Taal, an artistic, intricate, and sturdy form of needlework. In the early 1900s, people from faraway places go to Taal for it.
The oldest Taal Embroidery store, Naty’s Embroideries, was founded in 1953. Framed on the wall of the store is the photo of its owner Natividad Noche, receiving an award from then President Marcos for being the top embroiderer of the Philippines.
Noche’s son, Chito, who inherited the store, fondly recalls the good old days of the Taal embroideries. He notes that in 1965, government employees were required to wear Burdang Taal barongs.
Now, most of the embroiderers have become Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and they have not passed on the craft to the younger generation who prefer to get white collar jobs.
“This once proud craft is dying,” Chito lamented. The burdaderas are a vanishing breed that they have become a tourist attraction.
Dindo Montenegro, a dedicated advocate and promoter of Batangas and Taal culture, includes in Taal’s tourist itinerary a visit to the last few remaining burdaderas of the original Taal embroidery.
An active member of the Taal Heritage Foundation Inc. and the Southern Luzon Association of Museums, Montenegro is also with the Diwa ng Batangan — the Batangas provincial chapter of the Heritage Conservation Society.
Montenegro shares the complaint of those in the embroidery business of the government’s lack of interest in saving the craft that showcased the finer aspect of our culture. He said the Taal local government did nothing more than pass a resolution declaring the town as the Barong Capital of the Philippines.