A few years back, Philippine traditional weaving practices and colourful indigenous textiles were put into the spotlight when it was put on permanent exhibition at the National Museum through the efforts of Sen. Loren Legarda. Entitled, “Hibla ng Lahing Pilipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles,” the exhibition highlighted the distinct creativity and DNA of the Filipino people among other cultures through the fabric.
Eventually, the exhibition was graced by Queen Sofia of Spain, Paolo Zegna of Ermenegildo Zegna, and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild among many others and continued to gain popularity. However, it did not only rest in the museum but was promoted further to malls when Rustan’s chairman and CEO Nedy Tantoco partnered with the senator.
Filipino artistry and creativity are evident in various art forms but what makes the weaving culture distinct is its power to unite people as strong, resilient communities bound by living tradition and colourful textile patterns and motifs.
Origin: Ilocos Region
The Ilocano of northwestern Philippines is well-known for their handweaving, a tradition with ancient roots, with the kapas or cotton as the main material.
They use the pedal loom, locally called pangablan; employ several weaving techniques, and have numerous designs/patterns. Different weaving techniques include the basic plain weave, the double-toned basket weave or binakul, and the multi-heddle weave (binetwagan or tinumballitan), among others. Among the complicated ones is the brocade weave or pinilian, which uses sticks inserted on selected warp threads to create designs that float on the threads.
There are two kinds of pinilian: scattered and continuous supplementary weft techniques. The weavers of Pinili, Ilocos Norte, are said to be adept in the simultaneous warp and weft-float type of pinilian called the impalagto, a technique unique in the town.