Next Week, Habi Goes Online
“The modern world is realizing the beauty of hand woven items, the beauty of natural fabric, and the beauty of tradition,” says Maribel Ongpin, chairperson of HABI Philippine Textile Council, over a Facebook Live press conference. “For us Filipinos, it’s part of our identity. We should understand it. We should enjoy it.”
Since 2009, the annual Likhang HABI Market Fair has been an exciting venue for this, offering a social experience of discovering hand-woven crafts, watching live demonstrations and cultural showcases and meeting like-minded individuals at the Glorietta Activity Center.
This year, HABI still goes on — online, that is, at www.shophabifair.com from Oct. 21 to 27, offering e-commerce for sustainable and ethical fashion and lifestyle products from over 30 merchants representing various weaving communities from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and a series of webinars.
Mahogany extract-dyed pineapple-silk barong Tagalog by HABI Piña Weaving Contest winner Raquel Eliserio’s son Carlo Reporen Eliserio.
The Cotton Project
From 450-plus weaving groups in the Philippines, there are 5,000 weavers. Forty-five percent are from Luzon, while 30 percent are from Visayas and the remaining 25 percent come from Mindanao with estimated revenues of P3,000 per weaver a month, according to fair committee member Mike Claparols.
Eighty percent of weavers use synthetic materials like polyester, made in China, ultimately lowering the quality of our textiles, while only 20 percent use cotton, piña and abaca.
HABI continues its long-term commitment and advocacy of reviving the use of pure Philippine cotton. HABI has partnered with the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PHILFIDA) to give our local farmer cottonseeds and threads for its Cotton Adoption Project to encourage more weavers to use pure cotton.
HABI provides cotton and logistics to selected weavers. Rambie Lim of the HABI Cotton Project shares, “We worked with weavers who could already use the thicker threads. We find ways to translate their weaving techniques into cotton.” They are currently from Dumaguete, Sulu, Palawan and Aklan.
“We are protecting weavers as protectors of our intangible cultural heritage,” she says.