PH pineapple fabic takes center stage at exhibit in Madrid

Published June 1, 2018, 5:06 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Roy Mabasa

An exhibit highlighting the beauty, craftsmanship and the colorful history of the Philippine pineapple fabric known as “piña-seda” is now taking the center stage at the 300-year-old Real Fabrica de Tapices or the Royal Tapestry Factory in Madrid, Spain.

Ambassador Philippe Lhuillier delivers his remarks at the opening of the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino exhibit and related activities at the Real Fabrica de Tapices. (Madrid PE Photo)
Ambassador Philippe Lhuillier delivers his remarks at the opening of the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino exhibit and related activities at the Real Fabrica de Tapices. (Madrid PE Photo)

The Piña-Seda: Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Traveling Exhibition, Lecture Series, Weaving and Embroidery Demonstrations and Workshops is an exhibit aimed to increase public awareness and interest in Filipino traditional textiles, according to Philippine Ambassador to Spain Philippe J. Lhuillier.

Lhuillier further said the exhibit seeks to highlight the skills, knowledge and efforts of local weavers in preserving and upholding Filipino traditional weaving heritage.

In his remarks, the Philippine envoy underscored the contribution of the weavers and embroiders in the preservation of the piña-seda and called them “underrated artisans” deserving of further acknowledgment.

Real Fabrica de Tapices director-general Alejandro Klecker de Elizalde, for his part, expressed satisfaction over the exhibit and its programs and noted the forthcoming 500th anniversary of Magellan’s arrival in the Philippines and the long interlinked history of Spain and the Philippines which led to exchanges in culture such as the Philippines’ embroidery tradition.

Sen. Loren Legarda, a strong advocate of indigenous arts and culture, initiated the establishment of the first permanent textile exhibition at the National Museum of the Philippines in 2010.

Along with the National Museum, Legarda has been leading the promotion of local textiles by bringing the exhibit to various Philippines embassies in Europe.

“Pineapple fiber is considered to be more delicate in texture than any other vegetable fiber. It is extracted from the leaves of the pineapple plant, particularly the Red Spanish variety, which has leaves that yield excellent fibers for handweaving,” Legarda said in a statement promoting the piña-seda.

While the pineapple plant is not indigenous to the Philippines, Legarda noted it is believed that the Spaniards brought the plant to Philippine shores.

“The beginning of pineapple cultivation in the Philippines also marked the start of the craft of piña cloth weaving in the country,” she said.

Around 100 people from cultural institutions in Spain, including the Director General of Museo Naval, and representatives from other museums, textile researchers, members of the academe and the Filipino community were on hand to witness the launch and participate in the guided tour of the piña-seda exhibit led by officials from the National Museum of the Philippines.

Former President and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also visited the exhibit on the second day of its run and witnessed a weaving and embroidery demonstration.

The exhibit, which runs from May 24 to June 21, also includes the lecture series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge by Assistant Director Ana Labrador, researchers Anna India Dela Cruz and Lyn Liza Silva, all from the National Museum of the Philippines.

Also part of the exhibition are the weaving demonstrations of Nelia Rogano from Kalibo, Aklan and workshops by Magdalena Rosales and Marilyn Tobias from Lumba, Laguna.