Welcome Remarks: Launch of the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines

October 17, 2012

Launch of the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and
Weaves of the Philippines
SMX Convention Center
17 October 2012

It is with great honor that I welcome you all today as we celebrate the Indigenous Peoples’ month and unveil the exceptional skills and enduring traditions of our cultural communities.

Together with the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), I thank you for being part of the launch of the “Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines”.

This exhibition is aimed at showcasing our rich and colorful heritage through the Schools of Living Traditions, a program I supported to ensure that indigenous techniques on textile-weaving, basket-making, beadwork and embroidery are passed on to the next generation. For these creative endeavors reveal anecdotes of the individual soul, of the community, and of the saga of the Filipino people.

Based on records of the NCCA, there are currently 439 Schools of Living Traditions across the country. However, only 39 remain active.

Through the Hibla Pavilion, we hope to solve one of the greatest threats to our indigenous artistry – extinction brought about by apathy.
It is time to celebrate the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the Filipino people, reflected in the traditional weaving of the Ivatan, Gaddang, Hanunuo Mangyan, Subanen, Ata Talaingod, and B’laan, the Antique bariw mat weaving, the Iraya Mangyan nito basketry, the Panay Bukidnon panubok embroidery, and the Ekam Maguindanao mat weaving, among countless creative expressions of our indigenous peoples.

I wish to thank the Schools of Living Traditions and the weaving centers who shared their talent and culture by participating in the exhibition–Rowilda’s Handloom Weaving Center from Vigan, Ilocos Sur; Federation of Banaue Women’s Organization from Banaue, Ifugao; Nagbacalan Loom Weavers Cooperative from Paoay, Ilocos Norte; Mangyan Heritage Center from Calapan, Oriental Mindoro; Delza Native Product from Basey, Samar; La Herminia Piña Weaving from Kalibo, Aklan; Antique Development Foundation from San Jose, Antique; and the Bagtason Loomweavers’ Association from Bugasong, Antique.

We hope that through the HIBLA initiative, we have brought our cultural communities at the center stage, closer to the global arena where their weaving traditions will be appreciated in a different light.

It is about time that we put premium on Filipino artisanship and uphold the traditions that give meaning to our history and identity. Let us open doors of opportunities for weaving communities and Schools of Living Traditions and generate greater patronage for creative industries of our indigenous peoples.

The mission of protecting our cultural heritage is a long walk. But it is a road we must take.

Thank you very much and I hope you enjoy the exhibit.