Issue of November 24, 2019
Mt. Province
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Young Abrenians learn art of weaving to preserve culture
by Christian G. Tubadeza / PIA

Still hands, focused mindset, hard work, and patience.

These are needed to achieve a pure art to a loom weaving technique that many do not have. It takes weeks to complete a finished product called abel, a hand-woven traditional cloth from various fabrics, yarns, and threads crafted for durability.

The colors, embroidery, designs, and materials of the cloth are symbolic among the indigenous communities because they manifest culture, traditions, and beliefs.

Barangay Bulbulala in La Paz, Abra is one of the villages engaged in loom weaving. While weaving usually involves women mostly in their middle or old age, not in this place.

The weaving culture is kept alive by the Bulbulala Farmers’ Association and Leila’s Loom weaving facility through the Shared Service Facility of the Department of Trade Industry and the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Seventeen-year old Leomar Domondon explained how long it takes him to complete a required length of abel.

“It will take around a week for me to weave more than 80 yards of abel cloth,” he said.

Leomar is a senior high school student at the Queen Peace High School in Canan, La Paz. He is committed to help the elders of the loom weaving industry in training and persuading more youth to practice the culture.

Rosena Jean Cordero, 26, said their abel comes with various traditional designs.

“Our designs are piningitan, a white cloth with designs in the edges traditionally symbolizing life;  the binakol woven with patterns; the kantarines woven in stripes; and the metallic design which is a combination of thread and a metal-coated fibers,” Cordero said, sharing that she learned these from her grandparents. 

Some elders said Cordero is too young to master some of the abel designs, but she is persistent in mastering the craft.

“The abel loom weaving is a very valuable thing that we can pass down to our children and their children as well,” she said.  

The locally produced indigenous textiles are sold through DTI’s trade fairs as far as the National Capital Region and Visayas.

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