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Abra weaves go global with help of DOST, partners

BANGUED, Abra (PIA) – Abra handwoven textile will soon cater to international markets with innovations and technologies to enhance the age-old tradition of weaving.
The boost in the province’s weaving industry is a collaboration of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), Asia Livelihood Network (ALN), and the University of Abra (UA). It aims to enhance Abra's cotton-based woven products to meet international standards, particularly targeting markets in Japan and ALN's network clients.

Abra handwoven natural-dye cotton textiles take over the runway during the 'Abel Ti Abra: Where Tradition Meets Innovation' fashion show held recently in Bangued, Abra (Photo by: JPM, PIA-Abra)
Abra handwoven natural-dye cotton textiles take over the runway during the 'Abel Ti Abra: Where Tradition Meets Innovation' fashion show held recently in Bangued, Abra (Photo by: JPM, PIA-Abra)

ALN Director Mami Kagawa shared that under the project, they were able to bring handwoven textile from Bulbulala in La Paz back to Japan to gather the opinions and feedback from Japanese customers.
“Many Japanese customers said that although they appreciate the handwoven products with beautiful designs, they cannot buy them because it is not weaved from natural material such as cotton. We believe that handwoven textile using natural material will be effective for community development,” she said.
In April 2023, five groups of weavers in the province namelly;   Leila’s Loom Weaving, Loom Weavers and Farmers’ Association, Bulbulala Farmers Loom Weaving, Saranay Group Association, and Trixi Dhel’s Loom Weaving were assisted in their transition from using polyester to natural-dyed cotton fibers.

The ALN with the Abra Provincial Science and Technology and PTRI conducted mentorship,  and trainings on natural dye application to help weavers align their products with the preferences of international clients.
Kagawa appreciated the Abra weavers for creating beautiful fabric despite the flooding caused by Super typhoon ‘Egay’ last year,  and the challenges of weaving using a new material.
“Weavers encountered different challenges such as the material from cotton fabric is delicate and breaks easily. However, each of them, being creative and free to design, used their skills to weave wonderful fabric,” she shared.
Designs and creations from almost a year of training were showcased during the recently held ‘Abel Ti Abra: Where Tradition Meets Innovation” fashion show at the UA Bangued Campus.

University of Abra President Gregorio Turqueza, DOST-CAR regional director Nancy Bantog, and Asia Livelihood Network director Mami Kagawa sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the continuous development and promotion of the Abra weaving industry. (Photo by: JPM, PIA-Abra)

Kagawa explained that the fashion show aims to highlight the possibility of the community to develop,  and use cotton textile in Abra.
During the event, DOST- Cordillera Regional  Director Nancy Bantog also emphasized the importance of technology and innovation for the textile industry to develop,  and cope with the demands of the modern world.
“The textile industry will perish without innovations. When we say innovation, it is not talking of permanence but it is a continuous process of breaking the status quo towards improving products , processes, and services powered by foresight, ingenuity, creativity, and innovative mindset,” she said.

Models showcase the elegant and intricate designs and creations made by local designers and weavers using natural-dyed cotton material. (Photo by: JPM, PIA-Abra)

Bantog added that with innovations and continuous improvement, the weaving industry can become a major contributor in the economy of the province,  and the region as a whole.
“We use as leverage the traditions and the resources that we have to create better, more, and affordable products. The use of technologies and innovations has become imperative to meet the demands of the markets in terms of quantity, quality, responsiveness and timeliness,” she said.
The DOST, PTRI, ALN, and UA strengthened their collaboration in elevating and promoting Abra’s weaving industry with the signing of a memorandum of understanding as one of the highlights of the fashion show.(JDP/JJPM-PIA CAR, Abra)

About the Author

Jamie Joie Malingan

Regional Editor


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