The Montecristi Hat, erroneously known as Panama Hat, has been 5 years since it was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. To celebrate this date an exhibition of the hat was made: Living heritage.
The event was held at the Ciudad Alfaro Civic Center, in Montecristi, on December 6. Here artisans from different cantons of Manabí met. The weavers taught the different techniques to weave the straw hat. These hats have different degrees of tissue. The finer the tissue, the more expensive the hat.
The Ministry of Tourism was in charge of organizing the event. They brought artists and dance groups. On this day there was also the exhibition of the book "Senderos de Toquilla" by the author María Emilia Moncayo, The book is based on how artisans have spent years studying the process and elaboration of straw hat.
In the event, the sculptor Ivo Uquillas was also presented. He painted a portrait of a weaver woman live. The meaning of this painting tells the effort and love that weavers have when making a hat. This portrait was presented to a weaver as a thank-you for the work done for many years.
Many weavers spoke of the importance of this hat recognition in their economy. Cruz Chávez, weaver of Santa Ana was one of them. She said that from the recognition, her work has been valued. He also expressed that it is a task for parents to teach their children how to weave.
Another artisan, Graciela López, comments that weaving is her inheritance. she is a housewife, she takes care of her children and this work gives her enough economy in her home.
The National Institute of Cultural Heritage (INPC) and the Provincial Government of Manabí signed an agreement for the construction of tourist facilities, and also for the creation of 5 museums in different areas of Manabí: Julcuy, Liguiqui, Tabuga, Cerro la silla on May 24 and Pedernales.
Elisa Mora, zonal coordinator 4 of the tourism ministry, also made a presence at the event. She highlighted that the recognition of the tissue has made the hat reach international leagues., because every time tourists come to Ecuador, they take their clothes to give as a gift. The marketing of the hat abroad exceeds $ 20,000.
For the straw hats to be declared by UNESCO lasted 2 years. They had to collect photos and videos of the straw in several provinces, and demonstrate how it is maintained 100 years ago. Another advantage of this recognition is that Ecuador would be recognized as the only one to make this hat, and not Panama.