Here’s one way to celebrate National Indigenous People’s Month
Since its establishment in 2009, Likhang HABI Fair brought the best Filipino-made products from different parts of the country to the metro. Bringing Philippine culture and art to the forefront of the lifestyle industry has been its goal for the longest time. And even in the face of a global pandemic, the Filipino artisans’ fair stays true to that mission.
For this year, Likhang HABI Fair takes a leap as it goes digital for the first time. Weaving enthusiasts and local merchandise aficionados can expect to see the vibrant Filipino artistry in its new e-commerce site www.shophabifair.com, from Oct. 21 to 27. Over 30 merchants representing various weaving communities from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will showcase sustainable and ethical fashion and lifestyle products at the online market fair.
“Since we are not allowed to gather in large groups because of the pandemic, the online edition of the Likhang HABI Market Fair is our way of helping to sustain the local weaving economy,” says HABI president Adelaida Lim. “We urge our HABI friends to join us in this endeavor.”
As many industries are looking at sustainability as a necessary business step to take, they’re are also recognizing the importance of the Philippines’ traditional weaving. Long before textile production has been a commercial business, weaving has been among the many ways Filipino indigenous groups preserve their traditions, centering their craft on sustainability by paying respect to the resources and their ancestors.
“There are many beautiful fabrics from the different areas in our country,” says HABI chairperson Maribel Ongpin. “One of our main goals is to make sure that our traditional textiles will still be a part of our modern lifestyle as we transition to the new normal.”
HABI also continues its long-term commitment and advocacy of reviving the use of pure Philippine cotton, a fiber that is very much a part of the Filipino culture. It has partnered with the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PHILFIDA) to give local weavers organic cotton seeds and threads for its Cotton Adoption Project to boost its position in the handloom weaving industry.
The latest on Philippine weaving
Part of the HABI initiative is to discover more of the Philippines’ textiles, how these can be innovated upon, and how these can contribute to the empowerment of the people who weave. That is why the annual fair is not just a platform to sell but also an avenue for customers and artisans to learn.
Likhang HABI Fair is taking its education mission online through a series of webinars and online summits celebrating the country’s culture and heritage. Nayong Pilipino for Mga Hibla ng Pamana: A Summit on Weaving as Intangible Cultural Heritage is a four-day online summit that aims to discuss how different sectors in the country are coming together to protect and conserve weaving practices and traditions.
HABI is also collaborating with CulturAid, Kularts, House of Gongs, and Museo ng Muntinlupa to present the first-ever international Voices from the Field Program that will feature a series of webinars on the topic of Filipino Identity and Contemporary Cultural Practice in the Philippines and the Diaspora. This webinar series aims to bridge interdisciplinary voices and encourage dialogue to better understand how our varied experiences as Filipinos have shaped the way we think, move, and learn.
Aside from the webinars, the latest work of Philippine textile experts Dr. Norma Respicio and Gayle Zialcita, “Weaving Ways: Filipino Styles and Techniques,” will also be available at the online fair. The book discusses the different weaving communities in the Philippines, their history and traditions, and the different weaving styles and techniques of Filipino weavers.
The mother of Philippine textile
Among of the yearly highlights of the fair is the Lourdes Montinola Piña Weaving Competition. Now in its third year, this competition recognizes exceptional craftsmanship and mastery of the delicate process of turning pineapple threads into works of art.
“The competition has encouraged us greatly over the years because it brings out new talent and revives old techniques,” says Adelaida. “So, we always look forward to the surprises that this competition will bring.”
This year’s entries will be judged by Filipino fashion designers Leslie Mobo and Len Cabili, and piña textile expert and food historian Felice Sta. Maria.
For more information on Likhang HABI Online Market Fair, the series of webinars, and other HABI advocacies, please visit www.habitextilecouncil.ph and its Facebook and Instagram accounts.