Weaving Culture: Threading through the Future

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Ibaan is not a left behind in terms of culture and arts. Through the years, it was known as the home of “kulambo” or mosquito net. A time in the Philippine history chronicles a period where ninety percent of the mosquito nets used all over the country originated from the looms of Ibaan weavers. These weaving skills served as a traditional craft of Ibaan up to this day and are believed to emanate from the ancestral tribes passed on to the current generations.

Handloom weaving contributes to the economic development of the people in Ibaan. This is reflected through the handloom woven products that continuously surprise local and international markets a notch higher every time. As it functions more than its use in the fashion industry, it also paves way for promotion and use of natural fabrics.

However, the trend shows a weakening weaving industry in Ibaan as people learns to appreciate industrialization. For years, an initiative to strengthen and revitalize this industry before it dwindles worst has been the thrust of the local government unit. SM Sunrise Weaving Association has been formed to withstand the revitalization of Ibaan’s weaving industry. LGU Ibaan established a weaving facility for the association and augmented their working capital thru provision of handlooms, threads, and basic weaving equipment. They have been interlacing their vision, creativity, and traditional skills to function according to the thrust of weaving revitalization and livelihood development.

While the interest on handwoven fabrics continues to grow locally and abroad, the textile outputs of the Philippine weaving communities such as SM Sunrise Weaving Association in Ibaan, require improvement on quality specifications, standard measurements and design needs of various SME retailers, designers and exporters that cater to both mainstream and niche or artisan markets. According to PTRI, handloom weaving uses time-consuming techniques and produces significantly more expensive fabrics than machine-produced materials hence, struggles are need to be addressed in order to meet the demands of commercial production.

To make handloom weaving a growing, expanding and sustainable business for the SM Sunrise Weaving Association, and hopefully for their new generations to switch back to and boost the weaving industry instead of favoring foreign employment and industrial labor, PTRI in partnership with DOST Batangas provided the association with PTRI-designed handloom weaving technology. Compared to their existing handlooms which is capable of doing 2 designs only, PTRI-designed technology is capable of producing 2500 designs. The association was the first and only weaving community identified and assisted by PTRI in CALABARZON region. A plan to make it the Regional Handloom Weaving Innovation Center is being processed at present.

Meanwhile, to augment the needs of the association for more technology interventions, DOST CALABARZON PSTC Batangas provided them with 3 units electric bobbing winder, 1 unit working table, 1 sewing machine for bags, packaging and labelling design execution, and threads under the Grant-in-Aids Program. Advanced course on Handloom Weaving was also conducted as part of the weaving technology transfer in benefit of the association on Aug 13-17, 2019. Ms. JosefaGarlitos and Ms. Melody Lacsamana, both from PTRI, served as the resource speakers. To recall, the association has also received a training on basic weaving from PTRI, LGU-Ibaan, and DOST Batangas on Sept. 24-28, 2018. Further training modules on designs are expected to be pursued after the materialization of the concluded trainings.

Meanwhile, LGU Ibaan, thru Mayor Edralyn Joy Salvame, expressed their gratitude to PTRI and DOST Batangas for the extension of technological support and research outputs to the association. Yet to support this initiative, they plan to establish a showcase hub of the association in the soon-to-rise People’s Park.

Indeed, the association weaves their continuous development and brings back to life the industry where Ibaan is known for. (By: John Maico Hernandez, PSTC Batangas)

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