LIKHANG HABI, an annual event that promotes “the preservation and creative enhancement of the indigenous textile industry through entrepreneurship and synergy,” returns from Oct. 20-22 at the Glorietta activity center in Makati City. Now on its seventh installment, the fair features master weavers talking about their craft and a forum focused on the revival of the local textile industry.
“We want to preserve develop and modernize the textile industry… because it’s part of [the Philippine] tradition and economy,” Maribel Ongpin, chair of the Philippine Textile Council (Habi) during the launch on Oct. 3 at Hinelaban Cafe in Makati City.
She added that the Philippines – unlike Indonesia which has “a very active textile industry” – needs to increase its efforts in supporting and promoting its own. Noted Adelaida Lim, president of Habi: “We have a variety of textiles and a good diversity of them from north to south.” She added that the fair will showcase this diversity through its 60 booths and 30 weavers.
Among the master weavers participating is Raquel Eliserio of Kalibo, Aklan, who works with pineapple, silk, and natural dyes to produce high-quality pina-seda textiles.
The Kalinga Weaving enterprise will also join this year’s edition, as it has annually since 2013. Founded by Irene Bawer-Bimuyag, the enterprise was last year’s highest-seller, fulfilling Habi’s goal of “raising the bar for weavers in terms of market knowledge, design innovation, and thriving and surviving in the modern market,” said the press release.
Aside from the fair, Likhang Habi will also shine a spotlight on the hablon and patadyong on opening night. The hablon, which means weaving or woven in Ilonggo, are textiles created from piña and other gossamer fibers while the patadyong is a tubular skirt made of checkered fabrics worn throughout Southeast Asia.
“We hope to prove to our fellow Filipinos and the global community that indigenous textiles fit very well with the modern lifestyle,” Ms. Lim said in the press release.
She also remarked that the fabrics and items for sale will be fairly priced. “It shouldn’t be cheap because if it’s handmade and made of natural fibers, it’s more expensive than synthetic fibers,” she said.
The three-day event will also host a forum where Lulu Gan-Tan, dubbed “Queen of Knitwear,” will impart notes to traditional weavers about fashion while Marlon Martin of the Save the Ifugao Rice Terraces Movement will talk about cultural appropriation.
“We find it important to go to the ‘outside world’ to educate them how our sacred textiles should be used,” Mr. Martin said during the press conference, explaining that Ifugao death blankets, woven in cotton with longitudinal red stripes and brocade work in white and black, are sometimes used as wall hangings or furniture covers.
Said Ms. Ongpin: “[Textiles and its designs] are part of the rural economy and it’s also about identity. Designers should try to understand the meaning behind the designs and not appropriate without thinking.”
There will also be a lecture on cultivating and growing cotton, a fiber endemic in the Philippines that is “very much part of the native Filipino rituals and lore, and indigenous culture,” said the press release. – Zsarlene B. Chua
The 7th Likhang Habi market fair will be from Oct. 20-22 at the Glorietta activity center in Makati City. For more information about the fair, visit habitextilecouncil.ph or facebook.com/HabiThePhilTextileCouncil and Instagram @habifair.