Fabrics used for WYC garments
INABEL Long used as sailcloth for Spanish galleons, the inabel fabric is a durable textile made by the women of Ilocos. In the olden days, cotton planted the foothills of the province were separated by hand, treated with rice starch, and boiled with honeycombs to make them more durable. The resulting thread are then fed into looms, which the women work tirelessly to produce the beautiful inabel fabric. The inabel has withstood the taste of time and has acquired widespread popularity because of its versatility, durability, and beauty. The most popular patterns still being utilized in inabel weaving include the “dinapat” (overall pattern with no breaks or spaces), “pinilian” (linear patterns with spaces in between), and “barong” (with two parallel stripes and used exclusively in the making of barong Tagalog). Apart from being used in the creation of various clothing components, the inabel is also fashioned into bags, shawls, scarves, blankets, and shoes.
BINAKOL Binakol (or binakul) is an eye-catching textile pattern employed in the weaving of inabel. It became popular towards the end of the 19th century and was originally used in weaving as a representation of the waves of the sea. Among the highland tribes of the Cordillera mountain range, the binakol pattern was used to protect the wearer from spiteful spirits. Also known as binakel, or binakael, binakol (meaning “twill” in Ilocano), has a modern appeal because of its uniform, interlocked geometric patterns that result in psychedelic optical art designs. The most popular binakol designs include whirlwinds, stars, fans, cat’s paw prints, and capiz windows.
IFUGAO Characterized by the traditional diamond stripes of white and red, the Ifugao fabric is also known as ikkat. Ikkat, which means “to tie” or “to bind”, is an ancient style of weaving that uses a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye on either the warp or weft. The threads are then woven to create a pattern or design. The resulting fabric features a motif that is “cloudy” in appearance. This comes from the slight bleeding of the dyes into the resist areas. In “weft ikkat”, the variance in color in the weft makes the precision in the delineated patterns very difficult to weave. In “double ikkat”, both the warp and weft are dyed together, requiring an almost perfect precision and skill in weaving. Weaving in Ifugao is an exclusive responsibility of the women. It is a task girls learn at an early age by helping their mother, or elder sister, and by actual training. They weave G-strings, skirts, upper garments, belts, hip and hand bags, and blankets. The more common blankets, called bayaong, are dark blue with narrow red stripes and broad white bands covered with designs. These designs may represent “linuhhong” (mortars), “tinatagu” (men), “inulog” (snakes), “bittuon” (stars), “bannia” (iguanas), and “hinolgot” (spears).
YAKAN The Yakan women weavers of Basilan island have often been hailed as the most creative weavers of Mindanao. Using their looms, they deftly weave fabrics, which are treasured for their vivid colors and geometric patterns. The Yakan fabric is a versatile work of art that can be used in a variety of ways. Traditionally used as garments, square cloths of
the fabric, called “seputangan”, are often used by Yakan women as a head cover or as belt. Ornamented with gold, silver or bronze buttons, the “badju lapi” is a tight, long- sleeved blouse. Characterized by its vertical stripes design, the “sawal” is the traditional tight-fitting trousers made. The trousers are then covered by the “pinalantupan” skirt. Yakan weavers take inspiration from nature to create patterns that they incorporate into the weaves. Some of the most popular patterns include the “paipattang”, which is inspired by the rainbow, and the “bunga-sama”, which mimics the intricate pattern of the python’s skin.
HABLON Taken from the Hiligaynon word “habol”, meaning “to weave”, the hablon fabric was traditionally locally available fibers such as piña, abaca, and cotton. In the late 18th century, textiles were Iloilo’s main export, earning for the province the title “textile capital of the Philippines”. As such, the weavers of the town of Miagao took advantage of the economic trend and vigorously took to their looms to create the hablon. Other nearby towns such as Arevalo, Janiuay, Jaro, Mandurriao, Molo, Sta. Barbara, and Tigbauan also engaged in the industry of weaving hablon. Because of its beauty and versatility, the hablon found an infinite number of uses. It was used a clothing material, as a hammock, bag, and shoulder sling, among others.
SINALUAN The sinaluan is a Yakan fabric with bright colors and the signature repetitive pattern of small bands of bisected and quartered lozenge shapes. Originally from Basilan, the Yakan tribe, including its skillful weavers, has migrated to Zamboanga due to unrest and conflict. Apart from the sinaluan, the Yakan fabric also incorporate such traditional patterns as the “bunga sama” (based on the diamond), the “pussuk labbung” (saw-tooth pattern), and the “kabban budi” (triangular-rectangular design).
SAGADA The fabric woven by the highland weavers of Sagada is known for its strength and durability. The patterns employed in the weaving traditionally came from the lowland Ilocanos who engaged in trade and commerce with the people of Sagada. The women of Sagada used to weave using a backstrap loom, but the more modern convenience of a stand-alone loom is now mostly utilized. Before the arrival of the Americans in Sagada, the natives dress themselves up in traditional attire that include the “wanes” or g-string for the males, and the “tapis” (woven skirt) and “bakget” (belt with a tail) for the females. These garbs were woven using 2 distinct patterns—the simpler “kinayan” and the more elaborate “pinagpagan”. Motifs from the older generation include the zigzag lines to represent rivers, and triangles that take inspiration from the surrounding mountains and rice paddies. The Sagada weavers also use traditional, intricate Cordilleran designs, which consist mostly of vibrant red and black stripes on a white center panel with additional red, yellow, black and green. Running through the patterns are such native motifs as “oweg” (snakes, a fertility symbol) and “tekka” (lizards, a symbol of longevity).
The art of patadyong weaving is a painstaking process. The weavers start by determining how many meters and pieces can be made with or without the design. Then, they combine different colors of the threads according to the color combination of the design. For the standard patadyong design, the weavers mix the threads to capture the tones of nature and also to show personal status. The weaving is done by interlacing the different colors of threads through a wooden handloom called the “teral” or “habulan”. In Barangay Bagtason in Bugasong, Antique, weavers produce the plain patadyong known as “yano”, “tubao” (handkerchiefs), and the “pinilian” (patadyong with embroidery). The patadyongs are also made into shawls, leis, scarfs, wallets, hats, bags, and table runners.
KALINGA Like most highland weaves, the Kalinga textile is characterized by dominant red stripes and motifs of geometric patterns. Kalinga weavers also use nature symbols interlaced with white, yellow and black fibers. One of the more prominent uses of the Kalinga fabric is in the creation of the “gilamat ka-in”, a skirt traditionally woven in Lubuagan, but has become universally used all over the province. Colors in Kalinga weaving also depict meanings based on tradition. The colors of indigo and red—the national colors of Kalinga—represent the sky and the earth. Yellow, on the other hand, represent the mountains that surround the province, and symbolizes wealth and stature. The embroidered plants are visual interpretations of growth and fertility.