Kite-maker interview: Eric Basit

We talk to Eric Basit. Ultimate kite guy :) I meet him in a kite event from there we had been buddies sharing our love for kites and kite aerial photography. Founder of Saranggolistang Pilipino group on facebook. And founding member of the Kite Team Philippines.

Gerome Soriano
Introduce yourself and how you got started with kites?

Eric Basit
I'm Eric Basit, 35 years old, lived in Pampanga.
Right now I am staying Batangas for our family business.
Ever since I was a young boy at school I was already really in love in kite-making and flying.

I used to make kites with plastic bags and newspaper. Then use sticks from "Walis tingting" and sewing from my Mom's sewing box.

We used to fly kite on rice fields and on top of our roof.

In 1997 I met tatang eloy,a legendary traditional kite maker in Angeles City, Pampanga.
I bought 1 of his creation then eventually we became friends.

From there he regularly invited me to have fun flying kites. To weekend flying. And other kite events.
I also met Edgar Cano, a kitemaker who always made unusual designs.

Both of them introduced me in making of huge kites.
Eric in the middle preparing their kite for the Calamba,
Laguna kite competition.

Before I thought a 3 foot size kite was already big kite. They changed that.

I remember the first kite that I made with them was pretty and colorful. Unfortunately it did not fly.

My mentors taught me a lot of corrections,proper balancing of frames,and the proper skins to be used.

Collective effort and idea-sharing made me learn from them faster.

I am a constant learn, until now I still ask other kite makers about their ideas,techniques and styles.

And in turn I share my experiences and knowledge in kite making to others whenever I attend workshops and when somebody ask me how to do this and do that.

When I was started joining kite competitions. My Mom asked me stop kite-flying because I was spending all of my time on it.
But then I won in a kite competition and gave here half of the money I won. Her thinking changed and asked me "When is your next kite competition". Hahahaha

During my school days, my classmate and I would take some japanese paper and do kite-fighting. Ahahaha.
Happy days to remember.

Gerome Soriano
What was the first kite competition that you joined?

Eric Basit
Angeles Jaycees,1992. My kite flew and I qualified but I did not win anything because back then I very little idea about joining kite competitions.

The kite I made back then was a classic box kite.

Gerome Soriano
What was your idea of kite competitions when you started?

Eric Basit
What I know was that as long as the kite was able to fly you had the chance of winning. What I didn't know was that there themes in kite competitions.

Gerome Soriano
So you were making kites, you had develp friendships with kite-makers, you were beginning to joining kite competitions.
Then what happened? How did you became part of Kite Team Philippines?

Eric Basit
When I became a friend of Pareng Edgar. He began inviting me to kite competitions. Sometimes we win sometimes we lose.

The first kite that I made that won was a multiple box design. I placed 3rd.

I was a founding member of kite team Philippines. We started it.

Gerome Soriano
How did you come up with the idea for kite team Philippines? How did you begin with stunt kites?

Eric Basit
We started the Kite Team because of the stunt kites.

Because there were only few kite enthusiast and even fewer people interested in stunt kites.

We had the thought of doing team flying. Synchronized with stunt kites.

Eric has also started doing kite aerial photography. In this photo he is attaching his camera to the kite line.

Gerome Soriano
How did you begin with stunt kites?

Eric Basit
We had different stories on how we got started with stunt kites.

With me I was amazed when I first saw a stunt kite. It looked very fun and cool to do.

That the kite pilot was able to do tricks with the kite.

And not the kite follow the kite's movement.

Gerome Soriano
Where did your stunt kites came from? Those are quite expensive

Eric Basit
Very expensive.

Gerome Soriano

Eric Basit
At first Jing and Willy made using tafetta for the sail. Then we experimented with different materials for the frame.

We were able to use bamboo sticks. Then aluminum for tent frames.

We also experiment the indigenous material called "Lasa". That's the one that our Aeta brothers use for their bows.

Mine and Edgar's stunt kites we used plastic bags for our sail.

The big challenge there was the line to use because it had to be light and most not stretch over time.
So we experimented again. We used dental floss.

What we found ok to use were dial cords the one used in transistor radio.

But those were expensive. 20 pesos feet foot and we needed pairs so we needed 50 feet.

From that experience we learned a lot.

Especially me and Edgar because we did not have the money to upgrade or buy original stunt kites.

Gerome Soriano
Wow! that's really diy!!!

Eric Basit
Really diy! One time we used "used sando bag". We attached it using scotch tapes to a bamboo frame.

The way we made kites back them was to look at books. Now we have the internet where there are many kite plas.
We used to pass around those books and had then photocopied.

Other designs where from kite catalogues.

Gerome Soriano
So it was 1997, what year did you meet Tang Rumin?
Then Edgar?

Eric Basit

I really don't know when they started because when I meet them they already knew each other.

Gerome Soriano
What year was that?

Eric Basit
1998. I first meet Tang Ruming. Then I meet Edgar who invited me to the Centennial park.

Gerome Soriano
Now let's jump to the present.

The facebook group Saranggolistang Pilipino how did you come up with that group
What were your plans for the group?

Eric Basit
Because I had the ambition of uniting kite-maker and enthusiasts that I have meet and will meet.

So I thought of making a facebook group.

With that it will be easier to invite Pinoy Saranggolista (Filipino kite-enthusiasts) when events come up.

And if people have questions regarding kite-making there will be a place for them to ask.

With the group we can help each other. Support each other with our kite projects and materials.

My plan for the group is to show the world what Pinoy Saranggolista can do.

Gerome Soriano

Last but not the least

What other awesome plans does Senor Eric Basit have for the future?

Eric Basit
A lot!
To expose my kite-enthusiasts friend to national and international kite events.

I would like to show our felow Filipino kite enthusiasts new ideas and techniques from other countries that we can adapt as Saranggolistang Pinoy.

I want to show how to capture photos from above with the use of kites to fly a camera.

I want to show that Pinoys can fly kites when the wind is strong and even if there is no wind.

I want to show to everyone the Pinoy culture of making and flying kites. And that the Philippine kite tradition is still alive.

Gerome Soriano
Awesome! Thank you Eric Basit for sharing your story with us. I know that there will be a lot of Saranggolista out there that will be inspired by this interview.

Eric Basit
I know that I am not that good. I only share what I know.

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