Support and patronize local and indigenous textile weaving industry – textile experts

September 29, 2020

Indigenous textile experts shared knowledge on culture-based livelihoods such as traditional weaving and crafts during the 19th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Change Pathways,” with the topic “Weaving Resilience: Reviving Indigenous Textiles and Crafts.”

The first of this three-part episode which focused on promoting indigenous textiles and crafts also highlighted the impacts of COVID-19 on the indigenous weaving and crafts industry and ways to enhance its resilience.

The online conversation, hosted by House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, featured Dr. Norma Respicio, Philippine textile expert, University of the Philippines (UP) Professor Emeritus; and Ms. Rhoda Pon-an, Executive Director of the Antique Development Foundation.

Dr. Respicio discussed the indigenous weaving traditions and local community craftsmanship from different areas in the Philippines, and shared the issues and problems for the Philippine textile industry and the tasks that need to be done in promoting and preserving traditional weaving and crafts.

“Let us include art technology in school curricula probably at Junior High School para mas maintindihan at ma-appreciate nila what they are learning. Also, set up community museums, and research and documentation centers, which can be run by the locals themselves so that they would appreciate more what they have,” said Dr. Respicio.

Ms. Pon-an introduced the work of Antique Development Foundation, showed various indigenous textiles and craft industries in Antique. She also shared ways on how everyone could support the Antique indigenous weaving industry.

“Gamit ang mga indigenous materials ng Antique tulad ng abaca, nito at pinya, ang mga weavers ay binigyan ng sapat na kaalaman para ang kanilang mga produkto ay maging maganda at mabili sa merkado. Ang iba’t ibang bayan ay may sariling produkto tulad ng buri weaving, patadyong, abaca, nito, hand embroidery, banig, bariw, piña at bamboo panel production,” said Pon-an.

Legarda highlighted the need to implement Republic Act No. 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabric Law which she authored, prescribing the use of Philippine tropical fabrics for official uniforms of government officials and employees and for the purposes which require the use of fabrics in government offices and functions.

Legarda also showed various weaving centers in Antique and fairs and exhibitions which showcase the indigenous weaving and crafts industry, such as the National Arts and Crafts Fair, Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Travelling Exhibition, and Harvest Fair in Antique.

Legarda also introduced traditional weavers from different regions in the country and the struggles they face due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tulungan natin ang ating mga micro-entreprises, tulungan natin ang ating mga weavers sa iba’t ibang mga probinsya, at tulungan natin ang lahat ng mga maliliit na negosyo para magkaroon sila ng kabuhayan during this pandemic and the days and months ahead,” Legarda concluded.

This three-part episode emphasizes the role of the traditional weaving industry in preserving our cultural heritage and local craftspersonship. The second part, which will air on October 1st, will feature Filipino designers supporting local weavers, and the third part, set on October 8, will focus on promoting traditional crafts.

Len Cabili, Designer of Filip+Inna; Marga Nograles, Designer of Kaayo Modern Mindanao; Niña Corpuz-Rodriguez, Owner of Nina Inabel; Looie Lobregat, Founder of Linea Etnika; Susan Marie Liao, Designer of Designs by Marie; Jor-El Espina, Owner of Jor-El Espina Atelier; and Elsie Standen, Creative Director of Allena will join the upcoming episode.
As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, Stories for a Better Normal aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.

This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines, and the Mother Earth Foundation. ###