Philippine Daily Inquirer / 11:25 AM November 16, 2014
Almost every weekend, Sen. Loren Legarda invites an indigenous group with a dying fabric-making tradition to do a demonstration of their weaving techniques.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Hibla Gallery of the National Museum, the Mandaya folk from Barangay Sangab, Caraga town in Davao Oriental, will demonstrate their weaving.
The Mandaya is one of the indigenous communities living in the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary that was recently inscribed by the Unesco as a World Heritage Site.
“I am proud to have the Mandayas demonstrate their weaving tradition at Hibla Gallery. Visitors will be able to see how the Mandaya garments I wore during the President’s State of the Nation Address were made,” said Legarda.
The senator said she hopes people would view the demonstration by the Mandayas “and witness how they express their love for their heritage through skillful and passionate weaving and embroidery.”
The weekly weaving demonstrations at Hibla Gallery are part of the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, which Legarda, in partnership with the National Museum, initiated in 2012 to perpetuate weaving and spread indigenous knowledge.
Legarda made fashion waves last July at President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, wearing the colorful handcrafted traditional Mandaya attire.
Consisting of a badô (blouse) with embroidered geometric designs of colorful threads and beads and a dagmay (handwoven skirt) made of abaca strips dyed using organic colorants from plants and herbs, Legarda’s outfit made her stand out in a sea of reinterpreted terno.
The senator’s love affair with indigenous fashion dates back to her days as a TV broadcaster when she would boldly incorporate a statement choker of local beads or a cloth of saturated color in her wardrobe as she read the news.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, she has consistently championed indigenous groups whose traditions are being threatened by encroaching modernity.
The patron of the country’s first permanent textile gallery, Hibla ng Lahing Filipino at the National Museum, Legarda is unabashed about using her influence to promote and sustain the traditional modes of fabric production among tribes all over the country.
Previous demonstrators included Ifugao weavers from Kiangan; Kalinga weavers from Mabilong Weaving Center of Buscalan; weavers from Samoki, Mountain Province; sinamay weavers from Arevalo, Iloilo; Panay Bukidnons who showed their panubok embroidery; patadyong weavers from the Bagtason Loom Weavers Association in Bugasong, Antique; and weavers from the Yakan Village in Zamboanga City.
The weaving demonstrations can be viewed Saturdays and Sundays at Hibla Gallery, 4/F, Museum of the Filipino People, Finance Road, Manila.