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Legarda Celebrates Talent, Artistry of Women Weavers

March 10, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda continues to highlight the talent and artistry of women weavers with “Abel Ilokana: Celebrating Women Weavers From Ilocos Sur, La Union, Ilocos Norte And Abra.”

Launched in partnership with the National Museum, the month-long exhibition is on at the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Gallery, 4th Floor, Museum of the Filipino People in Manila. It will run until March 30.

Speaking during the launch, Senator Legarda said, “Today, we celebrate the strength of women and the enduring weaving culture in our country as we have aptly placed the spotlight on our women weavers from the North in time for the National Women’s Month and the International Women’s Day, which is celebrated every 8th of March.”

“Among the tropical fabrics in the Philippines, the Abel of the Ilokanos is one of the famous pieces. Tradition has made it part of an Ilokano’s life – at childbirth, in marriage, and even in death. It is also as mundane as a blanket or a tablecloth or a purse. But behind every Abel is a great synergy of a weaver’s mind, heart and soul. Behind every cloth spun from threads of various origin and colors is a story of a weaver’s relationship with her loom. It is her craft, her passion, her life,” Senator Legarda stressed.

Senator Legarda noted that while she knows of many communities that continue to practice weaving, it is quite a challenge to keep the tradition alive especially in a fast-changing world.

The Senator has been engaged in efforts to enliven weaving. Among her initiatives include the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Gallery itself; the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines, which displays the different weaving products made by various indigenous communities; and the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, which enriches citizens’ knowledge on tropical fabrics and the culture of weaving.

Senator Legarda is the author of Republic Act 9242, the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law of 2004, which aims to promote and strengthen the local fabric industry as it mandates the use of indigenous fibers for the official uniforms of government officials and employees.

“The task before us is to help our people value and continue our heritage. We must open doors of opportunities for weaving communities. We must promote greater support for cultural enterprises and creative industries of our indigenous peoples. As we do this, we also empower our weavers, many of whom are indigenous women,” she said.