Inspiring the young to weave on

PHOTO shows (from left) Dom Martin Gomez, OSB; Lourdes Montinola; India Legaspi, first prize winner; Ursulita de La Cruz, second prize winner; Arlyn Tumbocon, third prize winner; Marian Pastor, one of the judges and Maribel Ongpin, chair of Habi, The Philippine Textile Council and event host.

Far Eastern University’s (FEU) Dr. Lourdes Montinola was on hand when Habi The Philippine Textile Council held a piña weaving competition in her honor. Named after FEU’s chief emeritus, the inaugural competition on 15 September showcased all kinds of techniques made by weavers across the country.

Montinola authored the 1991 book Piña, which details the history of the pineapple-based cloth and how it has become a cultural treasure. A recipient of the Manila Critics Circle National Book Award, the volume was launched in Paris at the Philippine Embassy and at the Hall Miro of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

For Dr. Montinola, Piña is more than just mere documentation. “This book is my way of encouraging young talents to take up piña weaving not only as a craft but also as a vocation.”

FEU chair emeritus Lourdes Montinola gives her message at the Likhang Habi Fair.

History of the piña textile

The use of piña textiles for weaving began in the Philippines in the early 1500s. The material which is mixed with cotton or silk is used to make the high-end barong Tagalog and baro’t saya. It became a status symbol during the 17th century because only the affluent could own one.

This distinct textile which was found in the Aklan and Iloilo provinces was known to royalty in Asia and Europe. Trade reached its peak in the late 18th to early 19th centuries, piña started to rival the intricate in woven textiles.

Winners of the Lourdes Montinola Piña Weaving Competition with their creative rendition of the textile.

National Piña Weaving Competition

During the competition, jury members were awed by the techniques displayed by veterans of long standing piña ateliers.

“Through the Lourdes Montinola Piña Weaving competition, we wish to revitalize production and stimulate fresh creativity expressed through new forms,” says Philippine Textile Council chairman Maria Isabel Ongpin.

The Habi Philippine Textile Council regards the FEU chief emeritus as an icon for weaving in the country.

“Dr. Montinola’s passion to educate people on the age-old beauty of piña weaving is a reflection of what the National Textile Council wants to show. Weaving is an art in itself, crafted from passion and crafted from the heart,” added Ongpin.

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