Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Artistic Merits of Ram Silva


Iloilo has one of the richest traditions in the creative activity of handloom weaving. The loom had been in constant threats of being extinguished by highly mechanized dominated textile industry for many years. If the handloom had survived, it is because of its ability to produce exquisite fabrics which machines cannot produce in spite of all their sophisticated technologies.

The handloom fabrics of Iloilo are as diverse as its culture. The towns of Miagao, Oton, Igbaras, Duenas and Badiangan are engaged in weaving fabrics and handloom weavers are one of the single largest groups of artisans in Iloilo. Handloom production is one of the largest economic activities for these towns.

Handloom dresses have paved a new trendy way in the fashion industry. From scarves to decorative throw pillow covers, hand loom materials have dominated the style and appeal everywhere.

People feel special when they get designer clothes unique and exclusive for their wardrobe. And more special if the money they spent goes for a good cause. Designer dresses which bring rural handloom weavers potential income. Feeling prouder creating hablon dresses is local designer Ram Silva.

Born and brought up in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, Ramonito Silva graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts at the University of San Agustin although he started his hands in fashion design at the age of 18 designing the national costume for a Hiligaynon Association in Paris, France. He had joined many local hotel and mall fashion shows and is known for the simplicity of his designs without compromising glamour and elegance. The designer finished a course in Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising and Styling at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines and since then had sailed a long way for the ultimate aim to become the proud Ilonggo fashion designer with celebrity clients such as Janice de Belen, Toni Gonzaga, Shamcey Supsup, Vicky Rushton, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Jason Abalos, Jodi Sta. Mara and Angelica Panganiban.

Silva is no first-timer for the annual celebration of the Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair. Since his exposure to the event in 2010, the designer noticed that handloom weaving is rapidly gaining popularity. He feels proud that the hablon dresses he is making for some clients are giving some smile in to our weaver’s faces and helping them.

Joining the fiber fair is the designer’s way of exploring the various ethnic patterns and material that can be used to inspire interesting designs, and that local weavers had placed their outstanding efforts to produce handloom fabrics. With the help from local fashion designers such as Ram Silva, their creativity and optimism to take up any design gives them encouragement to think something innovative. 

The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair organized by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo is where we showcase the hand-woven fabrics from different parts of Iloilo.

The show, now on its 8th year will open on August 24-28 with a trade fair and weaving exhibition featuring the weaving communities of Miagao, Oton, Duenas and Badiangan at the Food Court area and series of daily shows starting August 24 (Monday) showcasing Miagao LGU at 4 p.m. and ANYAG featuring designer Ram Silva at 5p.m.; August 25 (Tuesday) will feature HABOL ANINIPAY with Jose Marcial Luigi Escullar at 5 p.m.; August 26 (Wednesday) opens with the youth of Duenas in an accessory fashion show at 4 p.m. and HABLON MODA with designer Francis Ian Chua at 5 p.m.; August 27 (Thursday) will have the Iloilo Tourism Officers on Centerstage at 4 p.m. and highlights designer John Montinola in HABOL ILONGGO at 5 p.m.; August 28 (Friday) will have the students of Apparel and Textile Technology Department of the ISAT University at 4 p.m. and PRECIOSA with designer Sidney Eculla at 5 p.m.

The event is brought to you by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo in partnership with the Iloilo Science and Technology University, Department of Trade and Industry, Iloilo Models Guild (IMG), John Montinola and The Daily Guardian.



Friday, August 14, 2015

John Montinola: Embracing Culture in Fashion By Bombette G. Marin

Fashion Designer John Montinola
Historically handloom has got its predominance and heritages in the southern district of Iloilo. The tradition of weaving cloth by hand constitutes one of the richest aspects of Ilonggo culture and heritage. The level of artistry achieved in handloom fabrics is unique. The handloom can meet every need from exquisite fabrics of daily use.

John Montinola is one of the most successful local designers. His work includes accessories and garments for fashion and furnishings. His work reflects a contemporary perspective on the natural environment. He wants to help weavers and many of his collections include the use of handlooms like hablon and polyabaca.

Both fabrics had been his favourite that he is currently working on a collection for his second exposure as a featured designer for Habol Ilonggo for the 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair on August 27, 5 p.m. at the Event Center of SM City Iloilo. He will be using the textiles in a very contemporary and modern manner. It is juxtaposing the beauty of the craft and the possibility of a fresh approach.

photo by JS Ravena
In 2004 Montinola launched his first hablon and patadyong pieces in Tumandok Fashion Show to much enthusiasm and acclaim. The all-female collection reflected his uncompromising dedication to creating innovative designs using the paintings of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo as his inspiration.

His other collections focused on the importance of the craftsmanship of beautiful and simple contemporary designs where he experimented with other textiles as well as creating intricate, precious hand-made accessories to match the clothes.

The designer hoped to be an ambassador for this art and textile.  And what influenced this designer are the weavers of traditional Ilonggo fabrics and the art they had been practising for centuries.


photo by Patrick Nacionales
Montinola believes that there has been a return to the importance of handloom fabrics and its production due to its global appeal. The art of loom weaving represents a tradition that is passed down from mother to daughter, aunt to niece. The complexity of the weave, the color, and the type of thread used, determined the value of the fabric. With its local origin and exotic feel, the use of our handloom textiles links us to our past where our local fabrics were considered luxury goods signifying wealth and social status.

Nowadays, Ilonggos have learned to embrace these fabrics, using and assimilating them into societies as a part of culture and self-expression and still carrying an enormous amount of prestige.

Aside from being a fashion designer, Montinola is also one of the most sought-after freelance hair and make-up artists in the industry where alongside his creations he has the satisfaction of making his vision for fashion a reality.

photo by Paul Chiongson
The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair will turn 8 this year and celebrated on August 24-28 at the Event Center of SM City Iloilo. Beginning August 24 (Monday) the event will showcase Miagao LGU on the ramp at 4 p.m. and ANYAG with featured designer Ram Silva at 5p.m.; August 25 (Tuesday) will showcase HABOL ANINIPAY with designer Jose Marcial Luigi Escullar at 5 p.m.; August 26 (Wednesday) opens with HABLON MODA with designer Francis Ian Chua at 5 p.m.; August 27 (Thursday) will feature the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association as they take centerstage at 4 p.m. with highlight at 5p.m featuring designer John Montinola for HABOL ILONGGO at 5 p.m.; August 28 (Friday) will showcase the designs of the students for the Textile and Apparel Technology Department of the Iloilo Science and Technology University at 4 p.m. and ends with a bang with PRECIOSA for featured designer Sidney Eculla at 5 p.m.


The 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is brought to you by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo. It is also brought to you by Iloilo Science and Technology University, Department of Trade and Industry, Iloilo Models Guild (IMG), John Montinola and The Daily Guardian.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Discovering Iloilo through Stand-Up Paddleboards



Rivers built the world's most extraordinary cities. Its calm waters have shaped many lands and its history. The River and its rich plant and animal habitat provided a livelihood for the community living around it.

The Iloilo River runs   through the heart of the city Iloilo. Winding its way across the city, it has a length of 15 kilometers with its water flowing from the town of Oton at Batiano Creek and traverses and nourishes some of the most populated areas in the city, namely, the districts of La Paz, Mandurriao, Molo, Arevalo and the City Proper.


For thousands of years, the Iloilo River has played a fundamental role in the lives, history, culture and civilization of the Ilonggos. It had served as a major source of transportation, water, food, and livelihood for a large number of its populace. It supports the growth of 22 mangrove species out of 35 national species and home to 634 hectares of fishponds blessed with 31 species of fish, crabs and shrimps that supports the livelihood of 130 fisherfolks. The Iloilo River is truly a river of waters of lifeand how grateful Ilonggos can be for that.

Charmed by the beauty of Iloilo River? The Iloilo River is filled with unforgettable fusion of distinctive sights. Almost all of the developments happening in this city are situated along this river that promises historical, musical, and gustatory experiences.


Iloilo River will be a perfect setting for this new eco-adventure to be launched on August 29-31, 2015. You can get to discover Iloilo City with a stand-up paddle boards. An experience you can share with your family and friends that is truly unforgettable.

Relatively new in the Philippines, Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is now fast becoming as one of the country's newest sporting adventure. It is a wholesome activity for outdoor enthusiasts that provide fun and excitement while appreciating the serene beauty of the nature.

Iloilo is one of the very few places that will have the opportunity to learn the sport. This fantastic mode of travelling slows life down and allows you to soak up every ounce of beauty along this iconic body of water.



Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUP) offer a fun, relaxing way to play on the water. With a minimum of gear, you can paddle placid lakes and rivers.

Not only is stand up paddle boarding great fun but it’s also great for fitness, really working the core body muscles. Paddle boarding delivers a full-body workout and thus has become a popular cross-training activity. And since you stand at your full height, you can enjoy unique views of everything around you.

With a maximum of 30 students daily from August 29 (Friday) till August 31 (Saturday), you can get closer to the must-see sights around the city and deliver a more enriching experience along the Iloilo River with their coaching sessions that will start from 8 a.m. till 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. till 5:00 p.m. Registration fee is at P800.00 per student daily.

So, come discover the magic of Iloilo City the Stand-Up Paddleboarding advantage. For more information, please contact The Climbers Nest through Mr. Edmund Noblesada Santos at 09993417387 or 09054812402 or email at aquahobbiesphilippines@gmail.com or at the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism at (033) 3384910.











Fashion Revolution for Francis Ian Chua

Fashion Designer Francis Ian Chua
One of the very few local designers who has taken an ancient art form and put it in the hands of the masses in a way that is revolutionary is Francis Ian Chua. A native of Tanza, Iloilo City, Chua is among the local fashion industry’s most game-changing designers.

A featured designer in one of the mall shows way in 2003, Chua’s involvement in the 2012 Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair was an overwhelming moment for him to bring forth the unique workmanship of local weavers from Barangay Salngan in Oton, Iloilo through his designs. He embodied his eclectic style combining street grunge with metallic elements using hablon. His fusion line had a distinct blend of futuristic art and culture and was eager to present his amazing work for the Ilonggos to see.


Chua will once again showcase his collections in Hablon Moda for the 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair on August 26 (Wednesday) at 5 p.m., SM City Event Center. HIs design philosophy for this year’s show is to transform hablon pieces into clothes that are flexible, comfortable and wearable. This year, he favoured bright colored hablon fabrics with fine thin checkered outline in gold and silver rotex. The same weavers from Barangay Salngan, Oton has created the fabrics. The designer wanted to make something that brings together the best from the past, adapt it to the present and create a dream for the future.

The Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is annually observed since 2008 to generate awareness about the importance of our handloom industry which is part of Iloilo’s rich heritage and culture. The industry is a source of livelihood to large sections of rural population particularly women, in addition to being a part of our rich cultural heritage and traditions.

Currently working fulltime as the Banquet Supervisor for Amigo Terrace Hotel, the designer graduated with a degree in Broadcast Communication and Management at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas. Started designing in High School of the same University, his first clients were his classmates.

Chua suggested that to boost the growth of handloom fabrics, there is a need to popularise handlooms among the youth.  And that the annual celebration of the fiber fair would generate awareness about the importance of handloom industry as a part of our rich heritage and culture, promote handloom products and lead to increase in income of weavers as well as enhance their confidence and pride.



The month of August will highlight the 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair on August 24-28 at the Event Center of SM City Iloilo. in celebration of the handloom month, daily shows beginning August 24 (Monday) will showcase Miagao LGU at 4 p.m. and ANYAG featuring Ram Silva at 5p.m.; August 25 (Tuesday) will feature HABOL ANINIPAY with Jose Marcial Luigi Escullar at 5 p.m.; August 26 (Wednesday) opens HABLON MODA featuring Francis Ian Chua at 5 p.m.; August 27 (Thursday) will highlight John Montinola in HABOL ILONGGO at 5 p.m.; August 28 (Friday) will have PRECIOSA with Sidney Eculla to close the event show at 5 p.m.


The 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is brought to you by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo. It is also brought to you by Iloilo Science and Technology University, Department of Trade and Industry, Iloilo Models Guild (IMG), John Montinola and The Daily Guardian.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Weaving Heritage into Modern Fashion

hablon and patadyong short dresses by Ian Jorda


Our country's unique fashions have relied so much on our local textiles, its cloth, patterns and colors, as much as garment type, styles and looks. A wide variety of local textiles have all contributed to the definition of modern Filipino fashion.

The designs and fabrications of our local textiles have changed from culture to culture, artist to artist, expressing history and experiences throughout generations.   

hablon dress by Jun-g Candelario,
photo by Drae Pilarta
Major Filipino fashion designers had helped put Indigenous textiles on the map. They worked with local weavers and their handlooms to come up with fabrics to produce fashion garments. The focus on Indigenous textiles by local designers was reinforced by local and international trade fairs and exhibitions thus expanding indigenous cultural production, including fabric clothing and accessories. Many continued their connections with several weaving communities.

With very few local designers trying to help handloom weavers in their own way, there is still a great for local government agencies and local government units to promote our handlooms especially to work on innovation. The role that designers play is to bridge the gap between the weaver and its end user.

red hablon cocktail by Ian Jorda
Applauding the creation of an Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair to throw the limelight on a dying craft, the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government was motivated and dedicated a week for handlooms. The event hoped for handlooms marketability not only in Iloilo but also all over the country and around the world. The event will be a moment of celebration for handloom workers, designers as well as weavers who spent tireless hours in their looms to create beautiful fabrics.

Started in 2008, the annual indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair co-organized by SM City Iloilo is an event where Ilonggo weaving grandmothers, mothers and daughters exhibit their handloom fabrics. The fair and exhibit is something they all look forward to every year allowing them to develop their art that sustains, supports and promotes their cultural heritage and improves the lifestyle of their community members.

polyabaca dress by Jun-g Candelario,
photo by Drae Pilarta
The intention of the event is to jump over the stereotypical handloom fabrics of patadyong, polyabaca and hablon to a product that would fully interface with the professional commercial world yet not losing the essence of its cultural identity and integrity. Local fashion designers are involved where they prepare suitable fashion garments through a fashion show.

The annual celebration hope to further accelerate the growth of handlooms and motivate many young generations from the weaving community to pursue this art and widen their interest in not only producing them but also in enhancing the handloom brand value amongst fashion consumers across all age groups.

pink hablon gown by Ian Jorda
The 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair will open on August 24-28 with a trade fair and weaving exhibition featuring the weaving communities of Miagao, Oton, Duenas and Badiangan at the Food Court area and series of daily shows starting August 24 (Monday) showcasing Miagao LGU at 4 p.m. and ANYAG featuring designer Ram Silva at 5p.m.; August 25 (Tuesday) will feature HABOL ANINIPAY with Jose Marcial Luigi Escullar at 5 p.m.; August 26 (Wednesday) opens with the youth of Duenas in an accessory fashion show at 4 p.m. and HABLON MODA with designer Francis Ian Chua at 5 p.m.; August 27 (Thursday) will have the Iloilo Tourism Officers on Centerstage at 4 p.m. and highlights designer John Montinola in HABOL ILONGGO at 5 p.m.; August 28 (Friday) will have the students of Apparel and Textile Technology Department of the ISAT University at 4 p.m. and PRECIOSA with designer Sidney Eculla at 5 p.m.

Hablon gown by Jun-g Candelario
The event is brought to you by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo in partnership with the Iloilo Science and Technology University, Department of Trade and Industry, Iloilo Models Guild (IMG), John Montinola and The Daily Guardian.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Simplicity that is Sidney

photo by Paelo Pedrajas


Iloilo has a dynamic economy that is thriving with creative spirits and there is a growing pool of talent waiting to be discovered. Along with its active fashion industry are a rising number of designers slowly changing public perceptions on local fashion.

While many local designers have not yet achieved mainstream success in comparison to more established Ilonggo figures such as Eric delos Santos, PJ Aranador, Nono Palmos, Jaki Penalosa, Angelette Ragus, Don Protasio and Bo Parcon, it is worth keeping them on your radar because many of them have already presented their collections in shows here and elsewhere in the country.

photo by Paelo Pedrajas

There is no better way to celebrate Ilonggo fashion than to discover one of these home-grown fashion designers, SIDNEY ECULLA is a name that you should start familiarizing yourself with.

the designer...Sidney Eculla

A face that is fast-gaining prominence in the local fashion industry, self-trained designer Sidney already had his hablon and silk cocoon collections presented in a show at the Philippine Center in 5th Avenue, New York in 2009 and had been joining local shows and was featured during the previous Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair.

photo by Paulo Pedrajas

According to him, growing up, fashion and the arts were something that was considered a relevant career choice, and he hope that his work will inspire aspiring designers to be a bit more open-minded and creative.

Having collaborated with Manila designer Edgar Allan, the designer sees his success as a trigger for local designers, and he has not forgotten his own birthplace. The designer is the primary promoter of polyabaca handwoven in Igbaras. His hablon and polyabaca collections were hand-woven by IKWA (Igbaras Knotters and Weavers Association) in Barangay Sta. Barbara in Igbaras.

Though handloom weaving had been long practiced in the town, the production of abaca was only introduced sometime in 2009 when the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) assisted Barangay Sta. Barbara on weaving abaca. Presently, IKWA is producing pure abaca fiber and polyabaca (abaca fiber blended with cotton or polyester) said to be three times stronger than cotton and silk fibers.

photo by Paelo Pedrajas

The simplicity of his character spills over into collections where he brings his passions and his own roots to his designs. Eculla is well-known for his predominantly white colour palette, minimalism and distinctively feminine flair.

To know more about designs, catch the closing fashion show for the 8th Indigneous Fiber Fashion Fair featuring Sidney Eculla for Preciosa at 5 p.m., Event Center of SM City Iloilo .For inquiries please contact the designer at 09176233262 or visit his atelier in Iloilo at #568 Quezon Street or email at sidneyeculla@gmail.com.

The 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is brought to you by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo. It is also brought to you by Iloilo Science and Technology University, Department of Trade and Industry, Iloilo Models Guild (IMG), John Montinola and The Daily Guardian.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair



The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair represent many women from low-income families who have joined together to establish self-sufficiency and find markets for their work.  Our local fabrics of Patadyong, Polyabaca and Hablon will be given life through modern designs presented on the catwalk by local designers on August 24-28, 2015 at the Event Center of SM City Iloilo.




August 24 (Monday) will showcase Miagao LGU at 4 p.m. and ANYAG featuring Ram Silva at 5p.m.; August 25 (Tuesday) will feature HABOL ANINIPAY with Jose Marcial Luigi Escullar at 5 p.m.; August 26 (Wednesday) opens with the youth of Duenas in an accessory fashion show at 4 p.m. and HABLON MODA with Francis Ian Chua at 5 p.m.; August 27 (Thursday) will highlight John Montinola in HABOL ILONGGO at 5 p.m.; August 28 (Friday) will have PRECIOSA with Sidney Eculla to close the event show at 5 p.m.


Textiles remain an important aspect of Filipino culture. The designs woven into the cloth, and the forms of dress differ from region to region in the Philippines. The wearing of traditional dress using indigenous textiles is a sign of pride and solidarity.

Textiles were of great importance especially in the past. They were a form of wealth, and designated status. The making of cloth was a state concern, and the best weavers from among the many in the area were made to weave exclusively for the elite in the community.

In recent years, our local fabrics had been the object of many designers. The supply of old textiles in the local markets has been depleted and at the same time, interest in these textiles has also engendered a renewed interest in handloom weaving. This has led to the reintroduction of weaving in places where the traditions had been abandoned.


Today, in Iloilo, the towns of Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Igbaras and Duenas continue to weave. The local textiles such as the patadyong, polyabaca and hablon remain at the center of the economic life of many women in the community. These towns are trusted by all for expertise in handloom-weaving known for their traditional designs and skilled craftsmanship. The details of pattern and color carry a symbolic meaning that identifies the locality, the function and the gender of the user.

Most weaving communities have gradually grown and established in the field of traditional handloom-weaving, with the favorable support from the local government and other agencies.
  
In an initiative to promote handloom weaving and its products; and lead to increase in income of weavers, the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government with SM City Iloilo holds the Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair. The first event was launched in 2008.


The annual celebration generates awareness about the importance of handloom industry as a part of our rich heritage and culture of the Ilonggos. The Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is expected to improve livelihoods of rural women while offering customers quality and fairly traded products. Their earnings will substantially improve their livelihoods and give them a level of financial security they could not gain otherwise.  The capacity to earn good income also increases the women’s confidence and status in their communities and contributes to improving gender equality. Over 100 women are engaged in handloom weaving and allied activities in Iloilo as per the last handloom census.

The 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is brought to you by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo. It is also brought to you by The Daily Guardian, Iloilo Models Guild (IMG), John Montinola and DTI.




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