Loren Legarda Exalts Indigenous Artistry

October 23, 2012

Congratulations to Sen. Loren Legarda on her launching of the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines at the SMX convention center last week. The exhibition was held to celebrate Indigenous People’s Month “with the hope of solving one of the greatest threats to Filipino indigenous artistry — extinction brought about by apathy.”

The exhibition, Legarda said, “aims to tell the stories of indigenous communities through the intricate processes of weaving that were passed on by their ancestors. It also reveals the passion for learning, creating, and educating of master weavers and culture bearers of different indigenous groups.”

And what a story the exhibition made. Across the hall, women from various Philippine tribes wearing their colourful garb demonstrated weaving traditions like the B’laan tradition of mother-of-pearl beaded tribal wear and the T’Boli tradition of producing beaded belts where sequin, brass bells and beadwork are applied. Also featured were the intricate embroidery traditions of IP communities such as the T’Boli traditional cross-stitching in Mindanao and the panubok embroidery tradition of the Panay Bukidnon in the Visayas.

“Weaving is not merely a pastime or a livelihood activity because each thread signifies the values of diligence, patience, hard work, and love for culture that these indigenous communities continue to embrace and live by,” she said.

“This is an exhibition aimed at showcasing our rich and colorful heritage through the Schools of Living Traditions (SLT), a program I supported to ensure that indigenous techniques on textile-weaving, basket-making, beadwork and embroidery are passed on to the next generation,” Legarda said.

Legarda has supported the development of cultural villages of the Ata-Talaingod, Mandaya, B’laan, and Bagobo Tagabawa in various activities of their SLTs, which teach the young generation the traditional arts, crafts, music and practices of the village.

The Hibla Pavilion showcased several traditions of SLTs in the country. It exhibited the Ivatan and Gaddang traditional weaving, Antique abaca/bariw mat weaving, Iraya Mangyan traditional nito basketry, Hanunuo Mangyan weaving, Panay Bukidnon panubok embroidery, Subanen pulaw weaving, Ekam Maguindanao mat weaving, Ata Talaingod liyang weaving, T’Boli tinalak weaving and B’laan mewel weaving.

The Hibla Pavilion was a highlight of the Manila FAME Design and Lifestyle Event 2012, held last week at the SMX Convention Center,Prior to the Pavilion, Legarda had set up several cultural exhibits at the Senate that showcased the exceptional skills and world-class products of IPs.

She also authored the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law of 2004, which mandated the use of indigenous fibers for the official uniforms of government officials and employees, with the objective of strengthening the local fiber industry.

Last year, she organized regional assemblies — in Baguio City for Luzon IPs, in Iloilo City for Visayas IPs, and in Tagum City, Davao del Norte for Mindanao IPs — and the First National Indigenous Cultural Summit that served as avenues for dialogue with local and national policy-makers as well as international institutions.

This year, Legarda launched the country’s first permanent textile galleries called the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles, organized the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, and sponsored the documentation of indigenous knowledge systems and practices in the Cordilleras.

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Source: By Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star)