At Kiangan, the birthplace of Ifugao, weaving has always been a part of the community’s daily activities. May it be for economic purposes, cultural preservation or personal use. The Ifugaos of Kiangan either practice traditional weaving which follows old-age techniques passed on through generations, or the ikat, where bundles of yarn are tightly wrapped together and dyed as many times to create a desired pattern or design.
The weaving process usually starts with buying cotton from HABI, the Philippine Textile Council of the Philippines. The cotton then is twisted and collected into strands to prevent unwanted tangling. The colour combination is based on the ones available to the weavers. Most colourants are obtained from the seeds of nature: collected leaves, trees, mud from the river banks, or plants like mayana which give a greenish and yellowish colour to the thread.
The patterns used are mostly traditional ones, typically nature-inspired and beliefs-based. The bayawak pattern, for example, is based on an eponymous giant lizard said to be one of the gods who came down to earth to teach natives water irrigation. On the other hand, the phyton symbol is placed on borders of weaving textiles, inspired by a god who came down to Ifugao in the form of a snake to guard boundaries. A dividing line, in forests or rice fields, for example, is considered sacred among the Ifugaos because land is very precious to them. In addition, the star symbol represents abundance, multitude, and fertility.