Press Release
October 16, 2012

Legarda: Hibla, A Showcase of Filipino Indigenous Weaving Traditions

Members of indigenous communities in different parts of the country will once again unite to unveil their exceptional skills and rich heritage as Senator Loren Legarda opens the HIBLA Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines, which is part of the Manila FAME Design and Lifestyle Event 2012, at the SMX Convention Center on 17 October 2012.

"This is the product of our support for the various Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs) and weaving communities in the country. We will showcase the artistry of our indigenous peoples in this exhibition that aims not only to reveal skill and expertise but also to open better opportunities for our IPs as we bring the culture and tradition they nurture closer to every Filipino," Legarda said.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, has supported the development of cultural villages of the Ata-Talaingod, Mandaya, B'laan, and Bagobo Tagabawa in various activities of their Schools of Living Traditions, which teach the young generation the traditional arts, crafts, music and practices of the village. Based on records of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), there are currently 439 SLTs in the country, but only at least 39 remain active.

"Through the Hibla Pavilion, we are bringing our indigenous communities at the center stage, closer to the global arena where their varied cultures as showcased by their weaving traditions will be appreciated in a different light," Legarda said.

"In every weaving community I have visited, there is a story to tell and a tangible product of such story which is either a blouse, a skirt, a belt, a scarf, or a basket, carefully and expertly crafted to narrate an anecdote of an individual soul, a story of a community, the saga of a people, the spirit of a culture, the way of life," she stressed.

Legarda's advocacy for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples has made her the voice of Filipinos who continue to embrace their cultural roots and heritage.

Inspired by her love for tropical fabrics and native products, Legarda had set-up several cultural exhibits at the Senate, such as the Isang Habi, Isang Lahi exhibit, the Mangyans of Mindoro exhibit, and the Panay: Memory and Enchantment exhibit, which showcased the exceptional skills and world-class products of IPs.

The Senator is also the author of the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law of 2004, which mandated the use of indigenous fibers for the official uniforms of government officials and employees, with the objective of strengthening the local fiber industry.

In 2011, she successfully organized regional assemblies--in Baguio City for Luzon IPs, in Iloilo City for Visayas IPs, and in Tagum City, Davao del Norte for Mindanao IPs--and the First National Indigenous Cultural Summit that served as avenues for dialogue with local and national policy-makers as well as international institutions.

In May of 2012, Legarda launched the country's first permanent textile galleries called the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles at the National Museum in order to celebrate indigenous artistry and revitalize our weaving traditions.

Furthermore, Legarda helped the National Museum organize the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, which enriched citizens' knowledge on tropical fabrics and the culture of weaving, and explored the local technology, adaptation and innovations to perform and renew weaving customs.

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