Astounding Mindanaoan Women Weavers of the Philippines

Textiles in the Philippines are considered as a traditional craft kept mostly in various indigenous communities. It is an old practice that helps the preservation of our country’s vibrant culture and identity.

 

According to Philippine textile expert Norma A. Respicio, this amazing craft is a woman’s art and the “production process often entails communion with the gods and spirits that are believed to reside in the plants, soil and the natural environment which are the sources of materials.”

 

And to show honor and support, the Malacañang Palace recognized three Mindanaoan women as new awardees for the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA).

 

Ambalang Ausalin

 
Ausalin, Mindanaoan Women Weavers of the Philippines

Image credit: nolisoli.ph

 

75-year-old weaver from Lamitan, Basilan. Ausalin is a known magtetenun or weaver having served two generations of the royal family.

 

According to the NCCA, she was the weaver of traditional attires and costumes for the royalties and the community. She mastered two of the most intricately designed textiles of the Yakans—seputangan and sinaluan.

 

Estelita Tumandan Bantilan

 
Bantilan, Mindanaoan Women Weavers of the Philippines

Image credit: nolisoli.ph

 

Bantilan, 78-year-old from Sarangani and has been weaving igem or mats since she was six. At the age of 15, she has mastered the craft of mat-making using naturally dyed Romblon leaves.

 

Yabing Masalon Dulo

 
Dulo, Mindanaoan Women Weavers of the Philippines

Image credit: nolisoli.ph

 

Now 104 years old, Dulo lives in Polomolok, South Cotabato. At 14 years old, she has weaved two masterpieces of tabih or dyed abaka. One is displayed at the National Museum, the other is kept in her possession.

 

The main objective of the “Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan” (GAMABA) is to honor and support traditional folk artists and to see to it that their skills and crafts are preserved.

 

Here are what the awardees of the GAMABA will receive:

 
    • The awardee receives a specially designed medallion or plaque, with a duplicate set that should be donated and displayed to a provincial museum or the largest cultural center in the awardee’s community.
     
    • An initial grant of P100,000 and a P14,000 lifetime stipend per month.
     
    • The awardee is granted a maximum cumulative amount of P750,000 medical and hospitalization benefits as well as funeral assistance similar to those received by the National Artists.
Samantha Baluyot

Sam joined Remit this 2018. She is a Journalism graduate who loves to see the world in different point of views. Her goal in writing is to inspire her readers to have a better perspective and to live a meaningful life. She may look aloof but she’s a very friendly and a happy-go-lucky person.

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