Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fierce, Fun and Fabulous Performances for Anilao’s 9th BANAAG Festival

photo by JV Perez (PALI)

Known as the “Festival of Fire,” Anilao’s Banaag Festival is the only one of its kind in the region. Banaag is a Hiligaynon term that refers to the light emitted usually from a torch. It is a modernized theatrical presentation competition among tribes that is highlighted by a spectacular exhibition fire dancing commonly using torches.

With this year’s theme,” Nagabanaag nga Handum: Palibot kag Dunang Manggad Atipanon, “ the 9th Banaag Festival coincides with the 73rd Foundation Anniversary celebration of Anilao as an independent town and series of activities are set for everyone starting on October 28, Sunday with the Opening of  Street and Food Fair or “Timo-Timo sa Kalye 2012;” October  29, Monday with the Unveiling of Exhibits and Official Costume of the 8 Competing tribes for Banaag Festival 2012; October 31, Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. for the Opening Program for the  Street Dance Competition and Banaag sa Langit, a Fireworks Festival Display; November  1, Thursday at  9:00 a.m. with a Mass and at 6:00 p.m. with a  Masquerade Ball; and November 2, Friday at 6:00 p.m. with the Dance Drama Competition, Awarding Ceremony and  Merry Making.      

Banaag revisits Anilao's history as it acknowledge the significance of light from the torch that once saved their people’s lives as they fought for freedom against the Muslim pirates.

Muslim pirates explored the Visayas by its seas and rivers through warfare. Although, it has been said that the Moros had raided the Visayan barangays long before the Spanish era. Piratical raids in the area began dramatically in the 16th till the 18th century when Muslim pirates destroyed Christian pueblos. Taking their caracoas or outriggered vessels with thirty to forty rowers on each side, the islands in the area, mostly coastal or river-mouth were ravaged by raids.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)
old barangays did not hold much wealth, but the captives taken and were sold in the slave markets in the islands to the south of the archipelago were enough prize. Barangays that were Christianized were said to be a more tempting target. More people are in its pueblos; with churches adorned with gold and silver ornaments and fine altar pieces. It is for the reason that these new pueblos were larger than the old barangays, and therefore offered a richer prize. Churches were burned along with the church treasures such as chalices and images abused, and captives carried away as slaves.  Many were killed.

Due to its coastal location, Iloilo was also constant threat from Moro marauders looking for slaves. It is said that watchtowers were built to protect Christian villages. It was said that piratical attacks were so persistent and were successful that in many of our towns, including Anilao, many inhabitants were killed or enslaved.

And because of this, construction of numerous coastal fortifications or watchtowers in the northern and southern areas were made and form part of a system of communication where every fortifications, placed at intervals along each town’s borders, was in sight of the next in the line. A system of signaling was used between them. For Anilao, they used fire to warn the natives of an incoming raid.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)
The celebration is dedicated to the brave Anilaonons who lost their lives struggling for peace and freedom. Thus, dancing with fire, that often includes visual and stylistic elements, has been a traditional part of culture of Anilao when presenting their festival. During the festival performance night torches were often twirled and swung about by dancers. Performances always involve a flashy demonstration of artful twirling while dancing on fire. Fire dancing is performed to music played on drums that heat up the performers’ hearts, move their bodies, quicken their minds, and lift their spirits.

To get to Anilao, one can take a van or bus at Tagbak Terminal in Jaro. Anilao is located 40 kilometers northeast of Iloilo City. Comprised of 21 barangays It is bounded in the north by the town of San Enrique; the highest mountain of the town in the west; in the south by Barotac Nuevo; and the Guimaras Strait in the east.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tigkaralag in Pavia, Iloilo: The Ultimate Halloween Experience

photo by Joel Miles Molina

In Pavia, Iloilo, October 30 is celebrated as a Halloween festival locally known as Tigkaralag. Taken from the Hiligaynon root word “kalag” meaning soul, Tigkaralag is this town’s unique way of celebrating All Soul’s Day. It is annually marked by a showdown and dance presentation of various Halloween characters represented by the town’s barangays.

The municipality uses the symbolic and interpretative festival of Halloween through Tigkaralag to each local customs and traditions about this holiday through a celebratory experience enchanting to Ilonggos of all ages.

The entire evening becomes a showcase of scary creatures of various sizes and shapes. Can you survive a nightmarish horde of zombies?  There is only one way to find out!

photo by Joel Miles Molina
Experience Tigkaralag as the town’s municipal plaza transforms into a haunted park with scary characters, fully made-up and in classic or more elaborate costumes. This year, on its 21st year, the event has everything under the moon. It will take you on a more sinister persona after dark as horrifying characters come to life. You will run screaming into the arms of the Corpse Bride and beware of the witch stirring her cauldron as she mutters spells and scary sounds. They are all present in that evening along with an incredible array of grim reapers, skeletons, body parts and more.

In the Philippines, the celebration of Halloween is related to the scarier aspects of life such as death, magic, and mythical creatures in the life. It involves activities such as tricks and treating, costume parties, visiting of haunted houses, reading scary stories, ghost tours, and watching horror movies.

But in some towns, Halloween is a festival full of scary, fun, enjoyable moment, decoration, parties and gathering.

Tigkaralag Festival in Pavia, Iloilo has grown to become one of the largest community celebrations in Pavia. Conceptualized in 1991 by former 2nd District Provincial Board Member, Hon. Cecilia H. Capadosa, Tigkaralag annually draws many of horror fans from around Iloilo to this one-of-a-kind event. It has grown in size in terms of audience and participants.

photo by Joel Miles Molina
Tigkarakag will start with a parade by contesting barangays at 6:30 p.m. proceeding to the municipal plaza where the contest proper will be showcased with awards in categories for the Best Arch, Most Horrible and the Most Amusing for both individual and group.

The event promises to be a great Halloween treat for the whole family. For those looking for something extreme during the Halloween, come down and have a great time with Iloilo’s oldest Halloween festival, the ultimate Halloween experience, here in Pavia.

To get to Pavia, one can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Mrs. Susan P. Jovero-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09173006041.

Celebrating Meaning and Memory for PAGDIHON Festival in Dingle

photo by Joel Miles Molina

Dingle’s Pagdihon Festival which has been held over the past 4 years celebrates the heroism of Visayan general and military strategist, Adriano Hernandez not only to the town of Dingle but throughout Iloilo. A native of Dingle, Hernandez secretly organized a rebel movement in Iloilo against Spain and staged the first armed uprising in the whole province, specifically in Barrio Lincud in October 28, 1898. The event was known as the "Cry of Lincud."

If you ask Ilonggos "What event took place in Dingle, Iloilo in 1898?" you will quickly discover that this important part of our local heritage and history is not so well known or understood. The annual celebration of Pagdihon Festival help us Ilonggos understand the Cry of Lincud, and the role it had to achieve the freedom that we are all enjoying today.

photo by Joel Miles Molina
It is remarkable to know that 144 years ago, the first armed uprising against Spain in Iloilo’s history was organized. Many things change after that, but what does not change is the great Ilonggo spirit of service and sacrifice. Ultimately, the commemoration of the Cry of Lincud 1898 is a salute to all of our ancestors who fought so gallantly against great odds in that conflict.

With more and more arts based activities and attractions drawing together each year to create this event, it also features a weeklong celebration of fun, family-oriented, educational event promoting local food and the preservation of culture and heritage.

The festival acknowledges 144 years of peace with a celebration of art, performance, music, history, community, friendship and family. The week-long festivity starts on October 25, Thursday with the Float Parade, Opening of Agricultural Fair and Jobs Fair; October 26, Friday with Pagdihon Kusinero-Dulcehan and the Search for Miss Pagdihon; October 27, Saturday with the Mountain Bike Race: Cross Country and Circuit Race, Senior Citizens Day and Fireworks Display; October 28, Sunday with the Street Dancing and Dance Drama Competitions; October 29, Monday with the Farmers and Cooperative Day and Dingle Got Talent; October 30, Tuesday with Boy and Girl Scouts Day; Slow Race. Moments with the Mayor and the Little Miss Pagdihon, and; October 31, Wednesday with Laro ng Lahi, Mass Wedding, Trick or Treat, Horror Night and the Awarding Ceremony.

photo by Joel Miles Molina
The celebration of Pagdihon Festival will continue its mission of supporting patriotism and traditional Ilonggo values. The event will continuously honor Ilonggos who have demonstrated their pledge to our nation through their service and sacrifice. It is an event where we remember and honor our true heroes and celebrate our great Ilonggo spirit and traditions. Pagdihon Festival combines meaning and memory into an event that offers something for the entire Ilonggos.

We are what we are now because of the brave Ilonggo people that served over the last 144 years, something that Ilonggos can be very grateful has not changed over the past 144 years.

Let us join with the people of Dingle, Iloilo and celebrate our true spirit that defines this special day. For more information, please contact Mr. Dane Dizon-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09477424341 or 09276123708. To get to Dingle, take a jeepney or van at Tagbak Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dumangas 5th Haw-as Festival Promises Festivities and Fun

photo by Jose de Luna

Haw-as Festival is always the biggest event of the year in Dumangas, and the people of this historic town look forward to it all year long. It is an annual festival dedicated to community and the arts of its people.

photo by Jose de Luna
Get ready for a bountiful celebration with loads of fun, food, bands, community activities and a street dance parade and the grand tribal presentation. Haw-as Festival brings out the community and folks from the entire town. It reminds Dumangasanons of all the good things that God has given them. This makes them want to share their joy through fun-filled activities with others.

The highlight of the celebration is the dance presentation known as “Haw-as Guban,” where participating tribes depict and interpret the haw-as or fish harvest. This grand competition is scheduled on October 31 at 1 in the afternoon.

photo by Jose de Luna
Fishing has played an integral role in the life of the people of Dumangas since the earliest of times. First, it was for reasons of survival. Then, the abundant stocks shellfish in the area became a way of life. Fishing has always been one of the foundations of this town’s economy, and is its oldest organized industry. Among the fishery products are bangus, crabs, prawn and shrimps. The municipality is also rich in agricultural produce. Major agricultural products are palay, salt, sugarcane, fruits and crops.

The festival dance presentation is a simple dance and is performed to express joy. The dance is extremely simple with minimum or a repetition of steps or movement with linear formations. The dance burst with verve and vitality where men and women, dressed as fishermen or farmers perform and in some occasion, the dancers sing, while being accompanied by an instrument. Segments of the presentation have a specific costume. Other presentations bear religious overtones. Dancers carry the image of their patron saint, St. Agustin while swinging their arms and continue to dance till carried away by their devotion. At times, as the rhythm quickens, they indulge in acrobatics and even form human pyramids. While the dance presentations are constantly being improved, the choreography is evolving still to include a variety of steps and patterns. The skill and the imagination of the dances influence the performance.

photo by Jose de Luna
The multi-hued Haw-ad dance is all energy and youthfulness. On the occasion, the spirited performers representing their Gubans swarm the streets in colorful group, waving various hand props, inspiring and inviting one and all to imbibe the festive spirit.  Alongside the festival is the celebration is the 142nd Birth Anniversary of Col. Quintin Salas, this town’s local hero.

Haw-as Festival is a, occasion where you can stroll and be happy, where you can listen to music, catch up with old friends and enjoy the weeklong festival activities prepared by the organizers. The focus of the celebration is to promote unity and celebrating the talents and diversity of its community.

Dumangas is a 1st class municipality in the province of Iloilo. Politically subdivided into 45 barangays, it has a land area of 11, 677 hectares. The town is located northeast and is 30 kilometers away from Iloilo City. Almost an hour drive, Dumangas is bounded in the north by the Municipality of Barotac Nuevo, on the south and east by the Guimaras Strait and on the west by the Municipalities of Pototan and Zaraga.

To get to Dumangas, one can take an air-conditioned van at Tikod Terminal in Lapaz, or a jeepney at Tagbak Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Mr. Benny Derequito- Municipal Tourism Officer at 09477900562.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tigbauan Celebrates 7th Annual SALUDAN Festival

photo by Jose de Luna

The Saludan Festival has been an annual foundation anniversary tradition of the municipality of Tigbauan for the last seven years. Celebrated on October 22-26 this year, Saludan is a time where the people of this town can spend the day together and have fun. The festival will not only celebrate Tigbauan’s areas natural heritage, but also a new and exciting entertainment schedule. It will feature the best in wholesome family fun and entertainment.

With the theme: “One Dream, One Vision, One Direction, Excel Tigbauan Excel,” the celebration comes to Tigbauan Monday, October 22 ushering in a five day-long festivity, a great time for Tigbauanons to celebrate their culture and heritage. October 22, Monday will open with a Mass at 7:30 a.m.; Foot Parade and Street Dancing Competition at 8:30 a.m.; Opening of Saludan Eco Trade Fair at 10:30 a.m.; Opening of Food Festival at 5 p.m. and the caps the day with the Quest for Lin-ay Sang Saludan 2012. October 23, Tuesday, First Saludan Baroto Race at 6:30 a.m.; Nutrition Month Culmination Program and Farmers Field School Graduation at 8 a.m. and the SKMF Night at 7 p.m. October 24, Wednesday, Fun Run at 5:30 a.m. and LGU Night at 7 p.m. October 25, Thursday, Municipal Children Congress at 8 a.m.; Saludan Quiz at 1 p.m. and the Stylized Folkdance Contest at 7 p.m. October 26, Friday, Tribal Competition at 8 a.m.; 2GO Karock-oke Caravan at 2 p.m. and Awarding Ceremonies for the 2012 Saludan Festival at 8 p.m.

photo by Jose de Luna
The Hiligaynon term Saludan originated from the word salud---the traditional way of gathering or accumulating a thing for its interest or value such as threshing rice using a basket or catching fingerlings through nets.

Fishing and farming has been Tigbauan’s way of life for several generations.  They grow many crops and fish for food.  This is not only for survival means but also to bring families together to celebrate the planting and harvesting seasons, to share ideas on how to maintain a farmland’s fertility and to take good care of their seas. And also it is to impart this knowledge of farming and fishing to the younger generation. Their lifestyles and festivities are thus exclusively linked to the annual celebration of their festival.

Salud is also applied in preparing tuba or coconut wine. It may not be one of Tigbauan’s small-scale industries but it has caught people’s attention due to its distinct taste. The town by the way has adequate coconut trees. The taste of tuba in Tigbauan is not that strong which many have on mind. In fact, it tastes a bit sour, sweet and scrumptious with just a dash of alcohol. Good thing about tuba is that it is produced in a natural process, and thus it is chemical free. The process of collecting tuba from the coconut tree is dangerous and at the same time consuming. To extract tuba, one has to climb a coconut tree. Then, the tuba gatherer has to cut the tip of the closed part of the coconut flower. Next, the coconut sap will drip liquid drops on a bamboo tube to collect the juice from its cut end. Foliage is tied at the bamboo tube to prevent other particles to adulterate it from other substance like rainwater, this process is called salud. Tuba is at its finest during the first day, up to the third day when it was initially gathered. Usually after the fifth day, bacteria steps in and the tuba turns it into vinegar.

photo by Jose de Luna
Traditional knowledge is knowledge that has been preserved from generation to generation through oral and practical means.  For many years our ancestors have tried to find ways to make our lives easier and better by making good use of our natural resources, to appreciate our natural environment, and learn to preserve it. These traditions where ever they might have originated has become part of Tigbauan’s culture and has contributed to who they are, how they learn, and has shaped their views. Traditional knowledge does not only define their culture but provides lessons on how to live today.

There is always something happening in Iloilo. Throughout the year, enjoy unique community celebrations, festivals, and other fun events all over the province. Do not miss annual events like the Saludan Festival of Tigbauan.

Tigbauan, formerly known as "Katigbawan" or field of reeds, is a second-class town in the province of Iloilo. It occupies the southern part of the province bordering it in the north by Leon; San Miguel in the northwest; in the east by Oton; the Iloilo Strait in the south and west by Guimbal. Tigbauan, located just 22.5 kilometers south of Iloilo.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

PJ Aranador Finally in Iloilo

International Lifestyle Designer PJ Arañador with Ilongga Supermodel, Ria Bolivar

As the culmination to the 5th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair, the Iloilo Provincial Government through the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism with the Department of Tourism-VI and SM City Iloilo will feature International Lifestyle Designer PJ Arañador back to Iloilo for a fashion show entitled HERENCIA on October 20, 2012, 5 p.m. at the SM City activity center. The designer will showcase his latest summer resort wear collection using our local patadyong with linens.

resort wear in piña with linen pants from PJ Arañador
Arañador with nine other Ilonggo designers will showcase designs a lot more accessible, ranging from highly wearable stylish street wear to more artistic and unusual pieces. Hablon, patadyong and abaca fabrics are popular choices from participating designers

The designer is a charter board member and the former Vice-President and current Secretary General of the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines FDCP which is the Philippines design authority composed of designers manufacturers government officials media export and retail representatives.

With product development and administration experience for more than two decades already, Arañador heads a team of design staff and mentors design students responsible for drafting sourcing and research. The designer works with specific contemporary design philosophies in order for designs to generate business. He is adept in material selection of international standards, safety and custom requirements, finishing, embellishments, quality production logistics costing, and international marketing including image building. He is the current design merchandise consultant for sixty individual exporters and associations in the Philippines and abroad. 

resort wear in piña by International Lifestyle Designer, PJ Arañador
His designs have been very popular and are sold in the international markets such as U. S. A., Canada, Japan, France, Italy, Germany, England, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, the Middle East, and Australia.

Arañador has also established Project Zero where he created fashionable handbags, pouches, knapsacks and purses under his Nautilus line. The designer collaborates with Sooc Social Ventures, a social entrepreneurial program in partnership with Smart Communications IncGK Sooc Arevalo, GKonomicsPhilippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Business Fair Trade Consulting, and Sooc Social Ventures. The main goal of the project is to create livelihood projects through innovative design and product development with a distinct market to where the goods will be delivered.

Arañador is also an International Environmental Design Activist, owner of Nautilus Boutique in Boracay, consultant for Go Green Philippines, owner of WAWA, Iloilo’s First Heritage Restaurant.

The premier event will offer five enthralling days of inspiration, ingenuity and imagination aligned with business opportunities. The event which is a fashion kaleidoscope will bring a diversity of talent on the local runway.

patadyong pants from Nautilus by PJ Arañador
Iloilo's longest-running fiber fashion event, Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair has introduced many local designers with their assortment of striking collections made of hand-loomed fabrics on the runway and the exhibition areas of SM City Iloilo. The show will highlight its cultural philosophy with ensembles that will hold commercial appeal all under one roof at activity center of SM City Iloilo. The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is the perfect platform that allows local designers to showcase their collection to domestic and possible international buyers, media and fashionistas.

The fashion shows will open on October 17, Wednesday with Hablon Moda by RAM SILVA at 5:00 p.m.; Prima by the Napulak Ladies Circle-Igbaras at 6:00 p.m.; October 18, Thursday with Prima Eligida by MARVIN MONFORT at 5:00 p.m. and Stratum by MIKE SORILLA at 6:00 p.m.; October 19, Friday with Anyag by JUN-G CANDELARIO at 5:00 p.m.; Mirage by ANNA JIMENEZ at 6:00 p.m.; October 20, Saturday with Ceremonials by Joseph Aloysius Montelibano at 5:00 p.m. and Habol Aninipay by MEL VARCA at 7:00 p.m.; October 21, Sunday with Generacion, an accessory fashion show featuring the ST. JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL (Iloilo, Inc.) at 5 p.m. and  Herencia by International Lifestyle Designer PJ ARAÑADOR at 6:00 p.m. Show is open to the public.

The 5th Indigneous Fiber Fashion Fair is brought to you by the Iloilo Provincial Government through the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism, the Department of Tourism-VI, SM City Iloilo, Hon. Sharon S. Garin of AMBIS-OWA Partylist, GMA-6 Iloilo, DTI-Iloilo, St. Rafael Development Corporation, Magnolia Ice Cream, TJ Concepts and The News Today.


Ilongga Supermodel Ria Bolivar wearing Jay Masangya's
pina gown, photo by Wilson Garcia
The fiber fashion show is one of many anticipated activities that are the hallmark of the annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair, celebrated this year on October 17-21, 2012 at SM City Activity Center. It is an annual fashion show showcasing municipal textile artists and local fashion designers. They come together to promote, educate and illustrate the innovative use of local materials and resources available in our province.

The goal of the event is to educate Ilonggos as well as apparel companies about the value of hand-loomed fibers. This show will have a strong educational component, and will convey that Ilonggos do not have to compromise their values or style. They can wear modern fashions made with indigenous fabrics, look great, and be socially responsible at the same time. The fair hopes to find mainstream consumers that are now highly receptive of buying our local fabrics and would like to see that interest extend after the event.

The idea for the fashion show is straightforward — hand-loomed fabrics made into garments or accessories and submit it to be modeled in the show. The event tries to promote our local fabrics such as patadyong, hablon, abaca, jusi, and piña through a fashion show with pieces ranging in variety and style. The show is as much for everyone who loves fashion.

pina gown by Jay Masangya, photo by Wilson Garcia
The fashion show will rock the runway on October 17, Wednesday with Hablon Moda by RAM SILVA at 5:00 p.m.; Prima by the Napulak Ladies Circle-Igbaras at 6:00 p.m.; October 18, Thursday with Prima Eligida by MARVIN MONFORT at 5:00 p.m. and Stratum by MIKE SORILLA at 6:00 p.m.; October 19, Friday with Anyag by JUN-G CANDELARIO at 5:00 p.m.; Mirage by ANNA JIMENEZ at 6:00 p.m.; October 20, Saturday with Ceremonials by Joseph Aloysius Montelibano at 5:00 p.m. and Habol Aninipay by MEL VARCA at 7:00 p.m.; October 21, Sunday with Generacion, an accessory fashion show featuring the ST. JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL (Iloilo, Inc.) at 5 p.m. and  Herencia by International Lifestyle Designer PJ ARAÑADOR at 6:00 p.m. Hair and make-up by Nonoy Mosquera and John Montinola. Show is free to the public. 

The Trade Fair, Demonstration and Exhibit will be at the Foodcourt Hallway of SM City Iloilo from October 17-21, 2012. Hand-woven fabrics and other fiber made products will be on sale. Participating weaving communities include the municipalities of Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Dueñas, Janiuay and Igbaras with the Arevalo Handwoven Products by Mrs. Evelyn Arenal Jiz and Sinamay in Arevalo by Mrs. Cecile Villanueva.

Now in its fifth year, the Indigneous Fiber Fashion Fair is a collaboration of the Iloilo Provincial Government through the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism, the Department of Tourism-VI, SM City Iloilo, Hon. Sharon S. Garin of AMBIS-OWA Partylist, GMA-6 Iloilo, DTI-Iloilo, St. Rafael Development Corporation, Magnolia Ice Cream, TJ Concepts and The News Today. The fashion show serves as an avenue for local weaving communities to promote their craft.

abaca blazer by Jay Masangya, photo by Wilson Garcia
There is a huge, wonderful world of hand-loomed fabric lifestyle option that many Ilonggos need to know about. The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is our way of expanding people’s horizons and show that their money can count to make a difference by helping to support sustainable livelihood. The event’s products on exhibit are handmade by small, center-owned wooden loom cooperatives all over the province of Iloilo using fair trade practices.

For information about the event, contact the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism-Iloilo Province at (033) 338-4910.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Igbaras Knotters and Weavers Association

The municipality of Igbaras has institutionalized its abaca handicraft industry recently by establishing the Igbaras Knotters and Weavers Association (IKWA).The town is now known as a high-quality producer of woven abaca fabric.

Years ago, Igbaras, along with Miagao, Oton, Badiangan and Duenas, were heavy producers of hand-loomed fabrics such as habon and patadyong. However, as years passed, the increasing demand for abaca posted a challenge to these weaving municipalities. With this, the municipal government of Igbaras headed by their tourism-oriented municipal mayor, Hon. Vicente E. Escorpion started gearing their initiatives towards the development of its developing abaca handicraft industry.

my Events Management students from University of Iloilo-PHINMA for their exposure trip in preparation for their culminating event, the 5th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair, October 17-20, 2012 at SM City Iloilo

The demand for abaca is at all-time high, the local government encouraged the development of its fiber-craft industry.  Fiber-craft products like abaca fabrics, table runners, hats, linens and handbags are very much in demand abroad. Proof to its viability, the municipal mayor established the Igbaras Weaving Center in Barangay Sta. Barbara in April of 2012 in recognition to the thriving abaca weaving industry of this town.

The weaving and production of various of hand-woven products has long been practiced by Igbarasnons but the production of abaca was introduced in Igbaras only 2009 when the local government was assisted by FIDA in conducting a basic training on weaving for abaca. The Philippines' Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) is a government agency under the Department of Agriculture that is responsible for promoting the accelerated growth and development of the Philippine fiber industry. The assistance provided by the FIDA to the weavers of Igbaras was by way of training weavers of good quality production practices

IKWA is currently producing pure abaca fiber or blended with cotton or polyester. It is said that this fiber is three times stronger than cotton and silk fiber and could last for many years. According to center president, Miss Anabelle L. Elbanbuena, despite the many challenges, the abaca fabrics of IKWA have continuously been proven to be saleable and profitable, as manifested by the sales reports of recent local trade fairs and exhibits where these products were showcased.

Presently, there are five looms at the center and another five were distributed in households nearby, with 15 women weavers in the center; ten from the same group function as knotters, who have shown full interest in abaca weaving.

The weavers and knotters of IKWA are the families living in Barangay Sta. Barbara. The center has now become the sole provider of abaca fabrics to local designers. The abric has evolved into a fine high-end fabric. Slowly, it is weaving its way into the fashion scene. Known designers in Iloilo such as International Lifestyle Designer PJ Aranador, Nono Palmos, Jaki Penalosa,  Totong Gellangarin, Sidney Eculla, Jor-el Espina, Ram Silva, John Montinola, Ian Jorda, Lexter Badana and bag designer Blithe Sanchez- O’Discroll and have featured this fiber in their fashion shows. These talented Ilonggos have been doing their share in promoting this fabric by using them in their creation.

handmade abaca bags by Ilongga designer Blithe Sanchez O'Driscoll at 09472722169

The Iloilo Provincial Government through the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism with SM City Iloilo organized and staged the Indigenous Fashion Fiber Fair in 2008 to showcase one of Iloilo’s know fabric, the abaca. In 2011, the Napulak Ladies Circle of Igbaras sashayed on stage with their abaca gowns for the same event.

Now on its 5th year, PRIMA, a fashion show segment featuring the municipality of Igbaras through the Napulak Lades Circle in their abaca evening wear will once again hit the runway at the activity center of SM City Iloilo on October 17, 2012 at 6 in the evening. The weavers of IKWA will present their hand-woven products on the event’s trade fair, demonstration and exhibit area of the same mall on October 17-20, 2012. Let us give our full support in the local production and use of our local fibers. 

Empowering Bitas Through Burihan Festival

Barangay Bitas, Tigbauan, Iloilo will celebrate its annual religious fiesta highlighting the 9th Burihan Festival on February 3-11, 20...