Local textile piña takes center stage in an exhibit at San Francisco International Airport

Published April 22, 2022, 5:53 AM

by John Legaspi

‘From Pineapple to Piña: A Philippine Textile Treasure’ exhibit explores the beauty and history of the local weave

The Philippines is known for its rich weaving heritage. Each indigenous tribe has its own unique textile and techniques to showcase in creating such wonderful tapestries. And if there is one local textile that is known by many Filipinos, it is the piña.

Piña textile (Images from SFO Museum)

Made from the fibers of the long leaves of the Red Spanish pineapple, piña is a product of an arduous and labor-intensive process, making it a true work of art crafted by Filipino hands. This time, its beauty is being showcased internationally as San Francisco International Airport’s SFO Museum launches its newest exhibition dubbed “From Pineapple to Piña: A Philippine Textile Treasure.”

Displayed at the airport’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1, the exhibit presents a selection of nineteenth-century examples of piña loaned by the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles and the piña garment designs of Filipino fashion designer Anthony Cruz Legarda.

“Europeans introduced the pineapple to the Philippines from the Americas sometime in the sixteenth century. Local inhabitants already had a long tradition of weaving fabric from plant fibers. By the 1570s, piña fabric production had commenced,” the museum states. “Piña textiles, as well as the pineapple fruit itself, were coveted in Europe and considered worthy gifts to give to royalty.”

In the country, Panay is known as the base of the pina cloth production. But this weaving heritage is also present in other locations such as Antique and Palawan. Piña is used in many traditional Filipino garments, including the barong tagalog, as well as the pañuela and camisa of a traje de mestiza dress, designed with intricate embroidery. Today, the piña textile is being reimaged by numerous Filipino designers and fashion brands, blending it with different textiles to give it a contemporary look.

From Pineapple to Piña: A Philippine Textile Treasure” is on display until Nov 13, 2022.

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