Likhang Habi Fair returns with two flagship weaving competitions, here's how to join

Philippine Textile Council shines the spotlight once more on piña and abaca

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All submitted entries will be displayed for the public’s appreciation during the Likhang Habi Fair, Oct. 13-15, 2023 at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City. The announcement of winners will be one of the market  fair’s highlights.

In October, the Philippine Textile Council’s Habi launches the 6th edition of the Lourdes Montinola Piña Competition and the 2nd Eloisa Hizon Gomez Abaca Competition.

These competitions are an opportunity for fabric artisans to showcase their unique creations in the world of Philippine fashion.

The Lourdes Montinola Piña Competition is the country's premier piña weaving contest held annually during the Likhang Habi Fair. The competition is named after local textile champion Lourdes Reyes-Montinola, chair emeritus of the Far Eastern University. The competition invites local artisans from all over the Philippines to join and exhibit their talents in weaving, dyeing, embroidering, and embellishing piña. The competition aims to keep this traditional craft alive and promote appreciation and use of Philippine textiles.

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Nening Tuan from South Cotabato was one of the winners of the 1st Eloisa Hizon Gomez Abaca Competition. Her entry features a cloth with traditional patterns made of duon basag (palm leaf) weaved on a backstrap loom with abaca filament and dyed using T’boli ikat technique.

To join the Lourdes Montinola Piña Competition, interested participants should submit a panel of their creation that's at least two meters long, along with a detailed description of the work, and a photograph of the weaver with his or her entry. More than 50 percent of the body of the cloth must be made of piña. At the end of the competition, three major winners will be selected, and two weavers will be granted special awards.
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Last year’s Grand Prize winner of the Lourdes Montinola Piña Weaving Competition - “Kahel” by Urita Dela Cruz of Kalibo, Aklan.

Last year's winning weavers all came from Kalibo, Aklan: Ursulita de la Cruz, whose design "Kahel" featured pure piña liniwan with sinuksok detail in orange, green, and white; Delara Eliserio, a 13 year-old who created a checkered pattern piña design titled "Sorbetes"; Melanie Palmon, who created piña silk with scattered suksuk; Marilyn Almario and her piña linen yarn and silk with a double weave and pocket details; and Rosabelle from Balete, who created piña silk with all-over sinuksok and tablero renggue.

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A winning entry from the 2021 Lourdes Montinola Piña Weaving Competition - “Sintas”  by Racquel Eliserio of Balete, Aklan.

The Eloisa Hizon Gomez Abaca Competition is another highlight of the upcoming Likhang Habi Fair. The competition celebrates the well-loved and versatile abaca fiber, globally known as Manila Hemp. The competition is now on its second year and is inspired by its namesake—a prominent Kapampangan who actively encouraged the use of Filipino textiles and is mother to popular haute couture '70s fashion designer-turned-monk Gang Gomez, now known as Dom Martin Gomez, OSB. Last year, the contest attracted 13 entries from South Cotabato, Aklan, Davao, and Bicol—a roster that Habi aims to expand as it renews its call for entries this year.

Textile rich in cultural detail woven from abaca fabric. The method of creating the pattern, and dyeing of this cloth is called Tritik - a process that involves sewing patterns with waxed thread on the woven cloth before dyeing. Tritik is still being practiced by indigenous cultures in Mindanao. (Photo credit: Lenora Luisa Cabili)

Winners of last year's Eloisa Hizon Gomez Abaca Weaving Competition include Nening Tuan, whose entry featured a traditional pattern on a cloth made of doun basag (palm leaf) weaved on a backstrap loom with abaca filament, and dyed using T'boli ikat technique; Rolly Arboleda, who won two awards for his pure abaca circular fabric and pure abaca fino barong; Annaliza Angcoy, whose design titled "Hafak Menual" depicted the wings of an eagle, woven on a backstrap loom with abaca filament and dyed using the T'boli ikat technique; and Rhoda Rose Monon Dillera, who created an inabal design (inherited from Salinta Monon, Recipient of the Gawad Manlilikha Award in 1998) woven on a backstrap loom with Abaca fiber and dyed using the Bagobo Tagabawa ikat technique.

Three awards will be given to participating artisans, who can work either individually or as part of a group.

Interested participants can enter their abaca creations under the following contest categories: Woven - Pure Abaca; Woven - Abaca Blended (at least 50 percent abaca plus other fibers); and other applications (e.g. macrame, flat, or three-dimensional). Cloth entries should be at least six yards long and 30 to 36 inches wide or the maximum width of a back strap loom.

Aside from exhibiting their entries, weavers can also sell their creations at the Likhang Habi Fair. Those interested in doing so must indicate their selling price.

All entries for both competitions must be submitted to all entries must be submitted to Habi: Philippine Textile Council Office at 962 May Street, Mandaluyong City..  Deadline of submission is on Sept. 30.

Interested parties may call HABI: The Philippine Textile Council T: +63 921 849-6974 or send an e-mail to [email protected] for more information.