Likhang Habi at Kultura features local textile crafts

The first collaboration of Likhang Habi and Kultura showcases local indigenous textile products to promote the preservation and creative enhancement of the industry, through entrepreneurship and synergy. This three day exhibit from April 13-15 took place at SM Megamall New Fashion Hall D as these two joint advocates of Filipino craftsmanship highlights brands that support the same advocacy.

Likhang HABI: The Philippine Textile Council began its project to promote and help Filipino artisans in the textile trade since 2009. As their annual tradition, this year marks their 8th Likhang HABI Market Fair in October at Glorietta Activity Center. Meanwhile, this first ever collaboration with Kultura serves as a teaser of their main local textile market fair this year.

“This year, we want to pay homage to the very makers of the indigenous Filipino textile who are responsible for the development and growth of our locally woven products. With their innate creativity and love for the craft, they empower the local Filipino tradition, culture, and customs to thrive in the modern market,” said HABI Chair Maribel Ongpin.

In light of the collaboration, the exhibit is divided into two. The left side of the area is Kultura’s booths while local textile vendors are on the right. Aside from bags, accessories, clothes and other textile related products, there were also booths for foods, beauty and bathroom essentials that are all locally made.

The HABI local artisans who participated in the exhibit are AKABA, Balud Craft, Baro + Saya, Creative Defintions, Goodluck Humans, Hola Lili-Risque, MCV Designs, Milvidas, Narda’s, Style Isle, Tagolwanen Handwomen (TWWA) and WVN Home.
“We promote the tradition of Bukidnon in making artisan mats (or “banig”). And not only the livelihood but our identity above all” said Lorie “Amihan” Rago-Marte founder of TWWA. TWWA is non-profit organization that aims to revive the vanishing weaving tradition of the Tagoloanen tribe of Bukdinon.

As HABI organization gathers weavers from Luzon to Mindanao, there are also booths that sell Maranaw textile products such as “malong” which are all made in Marawi; as well as Yakan tribe products that are originally from Basilan.

“I want to break that mentality about our area/tribe that just because we live in Basilan we have nothing but war and chaos” said Evelynda, a fourth generation weaver from Yakan Tribe. Selling their products gives them the avenue to show people that despite that particular cultural stereotype, they have a beautiful culture that is worth the attention.

On the other hand, while Marawi is still under restoration, Balud Craft owner Sittie Alonto strives to keep the beauty of their products by collecting old Maranaw textile crafts from Maranaws who are – sadly – about to throw it away. Even if she has a stable job to provide for her family, Sittie is determined to keep their weaving culture alive – a passion fit enough to be involved in HABI’s advocacy.

Besides these tribes, there were also fresh local artisans such as WVN Home that started in 2016 whose dream is to engage younger people in the weaving industry. They sell products that are millennial friendly using traditional weaving materials and locally made by the best weavers of La Union.

“The Likhang HABI market experience allows weavers and designers to innovate and to level up to modern trends. Through this, we hope that the Philippine indigenous fabrics industry will get the revival it deserves,” Ongpin explained.


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