ManilaTimes: ‘Inabel’ weaving gets boost in Pinili

The “House of Inabel” by Magdalena Gamayo was launched in the town of Pinili in Ilocos Norte recently to preserve and strengthen the Ilocano weaving tradition called “pinagabel” in the local dialect.

This frail-looking old lady is magdalena gamayo, a living national treasure, gawad manlilikha ng bayan awardee for inabel weaving. way into her ninth decade, she has inspired her neighbors in lumbaan-bicbica, a poor barangay in pinili, ilocos norte to take interest in traditional loom weaving, to plant cotton, and to work with her and their benefactors to create avenues for livelihood and a better, more prosperous and healthy community.
Less than a decade ago, a good friend asked me to check how inabel weaving was in this corner of pinili, in preparation for the planned visit of a designer who was looking for material. i went, and sadly had to report that there was little by way of production in this corner of of the town close to the border with nueva era town.
Meanwhile, dr. norma respicio of the university of the philippines was then quietly working to have nana magdalena recognized for her innovations in inabel textile. the recognition came by way of her gamaba award in 2012, which initially restored some interest in nana magdalena and her craft. part of the award included funds for the establishment and maintenance of a school of living traditions that would enable her to teach her knowledge of the craft to interested parties.
A province mate and benefactor thought that locally grown cotton would best complement the traditional weaving of nana magdalena. he convinced a number of local farmers to grow cotton by providing the seeds and the water pumps required for irrigating the cotton fields, as well as promising to purchase the harvested crops. this year, the yield was a thousand kilos, which the benefactor promptly purchased for ginning, spinning and conversion to threads suitable for weaving.
From the initial three remaining weavers some years back, there are now 15 active weavers, with a number of teenagers also learning the craft keenly. from the initial two hectares of land planted with cotton, this year, there are now 15 farmers planting 22 hectares to the crop. with the pledges of support from the town and the senate, these numbers are expected to further improve dramatically.
The benefactor’s friend, observing the results of cotton growing and renewed interest in inabel weaving, offered their pinili ancestral home (currently not occupied) to house a showcase of nana magdalena’s weaving. said home was repaired and refurbished over the last few months.
At 4 o’clock in the afternoon of 26 december 2016 (meaning in about 17 hours), THE INABEL HOUSE OF MAGDALENA GAMAYO will open to the public as a showcase for the work of nana magdalena and her community, and as a new tourism and cultural destination of ilocos norte. the house is located along pinili road, very near the blue and white structure that houses the seventh adventist church of the town.

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