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Saturday, September 14, 2019

OISCA Bago City Training Center: Sericulture a.k.a. Silkworm Farming Tour (Negros Occidental)

Do you know that the Philippines is fortunate to have only two seasons?  Because of the wonderful climate in the Philippines, Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) International established its Bago City Training Center in Bago City for Sericulture or Silkworm Farming 31 years ago and just last August 2018, it added Sunflower Farming (around 3,200 sunflowers in a 25-square meter land area) too. The entire farm land occupies 26-hectares of land area!

Without the winter and autumn season, it easy for resilient plants like Mulbery Trees to thrive here.  The Mulberry Tree leave are what silk worms feed on. Why Mulberry leaves?  It emits a fragrant chemical called cis-jasmone which attracts silkworms.

bombyx mori
You can touch and hold them!  They don't bite. =D
There are three variants of the Bombyx Mori Silkworm that are bred and sold by OISCA:

(1) Pure White from China.  These  are the most common kind.  They are bred since ancient times to produce the most quality silk but have shorter life spans

(2)  Tiger Silkworms that are evidently black with white stripes.  These are from South Africa

(3) Zebra Silkworms are a mix of the two to make them more resilient.    

You can buy both the silkworm and the Mullbery plant from OISCA if you want to get into Sericulture.

Cocoon Development

silkworm cocoon
A Perfect Cocoon
After being stuffed and fattened up, the silkworms will be placed in these cocoon holders.  (The cocoon holders can be any texture which their cocoon threads can attach to.) Before they form the cocoon using the liquid protein from their salivary glands, they will first clear their intestines and poop.  This is because they don't want to poop inside the cocoon. How hygienic right?

hatched silkworm cocoon
Defective Cocoon
The silkworms inside have to be killed so they don't grow and hatch out from the cocoon.  If they do, then the cocoons cannot be used to make silk (or only 40% of it can be used to produce silk).

silk moth
These are the moths that were able to grow out of their cocoon - which means they are already past the 10 day growing period so they hatched from their cocoons.  A silk-moth has a life span of only 5 to 10 days which is only enough for it to lay eggs.  A female silk-moth can lay up 500 eggs at a time.

oisca sericulture
After selling the silkworms to the farmers, OISCA buys them back in cocoon-form.  The price is 30 php/kilo which includes the weight of live silk-pupa inside that are yet to be killed.  With this sell-silkworm-and-buy-back-cocoon cycle, Bago City Training Center is able to provide a stable and sustainable livelihood for the farmers and it can also sustain itself.

oica sericulture
Using these machines, the cocoons are heated up to kill the silk-pupa.

oica silkworm farm
All the machines are donated by OISCA-Nagano Japan Chapter.  These are complex machines which require parts from abroad.

oisca bago training center
When the cocoons are boiled, the silk filaments loosen.

oisca bago city
Once the silk filaments loosen, they can reel in the silk threads.  One cocoon can reel in 500-1,000 yards of silk threads.

Negros Silk Producers Association
The silk threads are re-reeled into hanks.

silk hank
This is what one hank looks like.  A hank of silk is 840 yards. 

silk yarn production
They can combine silk thread to make them into silk yarns.

silk yarn
Silk yarns are thicker and tougher.  One pound of silk yarn is composed of around 2,500 piece of cocoons.

kinds of silk threads
These are different kinds of silk.

floss silk
This is actually the first time for us to encounter floss silk.

floss silk
Do you know what it is for?

silk weaving
The last stage of course is the weaving. 

silk weaving loom
They make use of the pedal loom which is typical here in the Philippines. The workers here are paid per piece of produce or pakyawan so they are free to manage their own time and some even study while working.

Finish Products
oisca bago silk showroom
All products produced are sold in the Silk Showroom.  The Silk Showroom and tour are run by volunteers.  These volunteers are trained by OISCA locally and sent to other countries like Japan as well.

cocoon scrubs
The Cocoon Scrubs which contain a protein called "sericin" which is found to improve skin elasticity and several anti-aging factors, including an anti-wrinkle property.  The yellow Cocoon Scrubs is found to have more "sericin" so it is recommended to buy the white one if you have sensitive skin.

sunflower soap
As mentioned above, Bago City Training Center is also famous for its Sunflower FarmingOISCA extracts the sunflower oil and used it to produce products like this Sunflower Hand and Body Liquid.

sericin soap
The products here are well-packaged.

mulberry tea
We bought this Mulberry Tea for only 50 php.  Mulberry tea is hailed as a "Superfood" for having iron, magnesium, calcium (25 times more calcium than milk!), zinc, beta carotene, vitamin b2 and ascorbic acid.  It also has  gallic acid which reduces the blood glucose.  It also helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce inflammation and ease the pain.  It eliminates the bacterial growth and can treat liver conditions, headache, cough, painful eyes, fever and sore throat.  It also has moranoline (1-deoxynojirimycin) that helps flush out the carbohydrates and starches from the body so that it does not turn to glucose.  It also has  flavonoids and quercetin which reduces the chances of atherosclerosis by lessening the oxidization of cholesterol in blood vessels.

silk footwear
Overall, we Travel Tripsters recommend a tour at Bago City Training Center for their Sericulture a.k.a. Silkworm Farming as one of the best to experience near Bacolod City
You can email them like we did for an appointment for a guided tour (25 php/person).  We are so happy that they reply promptly and are very and accommodating. 

Commuting Guide from Bacolod City
  • From SM you can ride on Pta. Taytay- Cent. Market Jeepney until 7-11 sum-ag
  • From 7-11 Sum- ag you can ask tricycle drivers to bring you to oisca (Regular trip - requires long waiting time: 8-10 php; Special trip: 50 php)
Tips for Those with Private Vehicles
From Bacolod City, you will find the sign of Brgy. Tabunan on the left side of the road as entry point.  There is no visible sign for OISCA Bago Training Center.  Upon entry, you'll soon see a basketball court on your right and that is the entry point to OISCA Bago Training Center's Silk Showroom where you can avail of the tour.

Tour Spots Near OISCA Bago Training Center
  • Laguerta Home of the Vintage Glasses Museum (Tomiko Casiano: [0917] 309-8815) - Brgy. Sum-ag, Bacolod, Negros Occidental, Philippines

OISCA Bago Training Center / Negros Silk Producers Association OISCA-Bago City
Address Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City, Dakbanwa sang Bago, 6101, Negros Occidental Philippines
Budget Per Person 25 per person (purchase is encouraged) OISCA Bago Training Center Map
Payment Options  Cash

Operating Hours Monday to Friday:
(closed on weekends)
8:00 am-11:00am
1:30 pm-4:00 pm
Reservation Required No (Encouraged)
Contact  (0910) 856-0132 | (034)  702-9075

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