Legarda: Hibla, Keeping Philippine Weaving Tradition Alive

October 23, 2017

As Senator Loren Legarda leads the opening of the first Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Travelling Exhibition at the Philippine Embassy in London, she stressed the importance of the project in keeping the Philippine weaving tradition alive.


The Hibla Travelling Exhibition in London titled, “Piña-Seda: Pineapple and Silk Cloth from the Tropics,” will feature lectures onpiña-seda and demonstrations from weavers from Kalibo, Aklan and embroiderers from Lumban, Laguna.


“The Hibla gallery, which has blossomed into many other initiatives, is not only an effort to celebrate indigenous artistry through textiles and provide more Filipinos the opportunity to discover priceless information about our heritage, but an attempt to bring the challenge of nurturing our weaving traditions into the national stage, to a wider audience,” said Legarda, patron of the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles gallery at the National Museum of Anthropology.


Hibla is the first permanent textile in the Philippines. During the soft opening of the gallery in March 2012, the National Museum also launched the Senator Loren Legarda Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, which later evolved into interactive lectures and demonstrations featuring weavers and embroiderers from different parts of the Philippines.


“Through these projects, we are able to showcase the various weaving techniques of different weaving communities in the country. It is an opportunity for the public to interact with our weavers and appreciate the work and love they pour into every textile they weave. The Hiblagallery and lecture series with weaving and embroidery demonstrations help enrich our knowledge about our weaving heritage and our culture as a whole,” said Legarda.


Through the Hibla gallery and lecture series, weaving communities are able to share their craft to the public, like the T’bolis of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato who weave the t’nalak inspired by their dreams; the Panay Bukidnons from Calinog, Iloilo who employ intricate handiwork and a unique dyeing system in the creation of their traditional wear; the weavers of Lab Tie Dye Weavers Association from Banaue, Ifugao who continues to make textiles using the traditionalikat weaving technique; and the Bagtason Loomweavers Association in Bugasong, Antique which has reinvigorated the tradition of weaving the patadyong in the province, among many others.


“These are only a few of hundreds of stories of our weavers. Our piña-seda weavers and embroiderers also have their own stories—both challenges and successes—to share. And we could only hope that through these efforts, we can further enrich our weaving heritage. 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,” Legarda stressed.


“Let us make our people’s cultural identity a fundamental source of their socio-economic development. And let our common vision and values weave us together as we seek to empower those who have given meaning to our being Filipino,” Legarda concluded.


Exhibition viewing for the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Travelling Exhibition at the Philippine Embassy in London will be from October 24 to November 22, 2017, 10:00am to 5:00pm. There will be weaving demonstrations from October 24-27, and lectures and embroidery workshops on October 24-26.


There will also be lectures on piña-seda weaving and embroidery at the Brunei Gallery of The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)-University of London on October 25, 11:00am, and embroidery workshops on October 25 and October 27, 1:00-5:00pm.


The event was organized by the National Museum of the Philippines, the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Philippine Embassy in London, SOAS-University of London, and the municipalities of Lumban in Laguna, Kalibo in Aklan, and Bacnotan in La Union.