'Keeping the heritage alive': DOT opens bazaar, exhibit of Cordillera weaves

Published November 29, 2021, 4:20 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Cordillera’s weaving industry was given again the spotlight as the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched an exhibit and bazaar of handwoven textiles from local weavers in the region to help them bounce back amid the pandemic.

INTRICATE AND VIBRANT – Cordillera master weavers congregate at the First Weaver Bazaar at the Department Of Tourism-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOT-CAR) grounds showing the finest weaves and fabrics the Cordillera has to offer. (MB Photo by JJ Landingin)

The DOT-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), in partnership with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, opened the Cordillera Weaves Exhibit and Weavers Bazaar to showcase the different weaving traditions across the region.

“Weaving has long been a part of the cultural identity of the Cordillerans. Weaved through every unique pattern are the traditions and heritage of every Cordillera province,” DOT-CAR OIC Regional Director Jovita Ganongan said during the opening ceremony.

Aside from selling handwoven products, Ganongan said they also want the public to know the stories of the local weavers, as well as learn the history and cultural importance of the weaves to understand its “premium value.”

Banaue, Ifugao Mayor Wesley Dulawan said the local weaving communities in the entire region have also been affected by the restrictions on tourists brought by the global pandemic.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic set in. We had many plans like how to increase the volume of production, technologies, designs, pero lahat nag-backseat (but everything took a backseat), including the weaving industry,” he noted.

During the onset of the pandemic, Dulawan shared he had to personally help the weavers in Banaue to sell their products in Manila to cope with their losses.

However, Dulawan is optimistic that with the government’s efforts in addressing the crisis, the entire tourism industry will go back on its feet again.

“Hopefully in the near future, when we go back to normal, the weaving industry will rise again,” he added.

For her part, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat lauded the initiative of the DOT regional office to promote Cordillera’s woven products and help generate income and sustain the livelihood of the region’s weaving communities.

“Weaving was never meant to be a source of income but through time, indigenous communities had to use weaving as a way to cope with modernization, it became a source of livelihood,” Puyat shared.

“Cordillera weaves are appreciated by many, including me, and have been used as attires, decors, and accessories. Continuous innovations in the weaving design and patterns, coupled with the diversification of woven products adapting to the needs of the time has made weaving a viable economic activity, at the same time the weaving heritage has been kept alive,” she added.

The weaving exhibit and bazaar, located at the DOT-CAR Compound in Baguio City, will run until December 1 where visitors can buy Cordillera weaving products while learning about past artistic traditions.

Weaving communities from the six provinces in CAR are participating in the bazaar including Kalinga Weavers, Baliga Cababuyan Weavers Association, Narda’s Handwoven Arts and Crafts, Mabilong Weavers Association, Namarabar Indigo Natural Dye Producers Cooperative, Can-eo Weavers Association, Apayao Weavers, Kiyangan Weavers Association, Bulbulala Weavers Association, and Lepanto Weavers Organization.