Weaving is an age-old custom within the nation that’s handed down from era to era. Nonetheless, many traditions endure because the youthful generations lose curiosity in its continuation.
This is likely one of the causes the Nationwide Fee of Tradition and the Arts has bestowed honors to the best conventional artists who not solely observe but in addition protect the artwork.
One in every of these Nationwide Dwelling Treasure or Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) awardees is Apuh Ambalang Ausalin of Lamitan Metropolis, Basilan.
Apuh Ambalang has saved the handweaving custom of the Yakans referred to as the tennun alive.
Tennun, which in Yakan means woven material, is likely one of the hottest Philippine weaves. It’s identified for its daring, geometric patterns. Like many different Philippine weaving kinds, its patterns have cultural significance.
I visited Apuh Ambalang just lately on the GAMABA Weaving Heart positioned in Lamitan Metropolis. I used to be with a bunch of journey influencers invited by the Tourism Promotions Board and the Division of Tourism to tour Zamboanga Peninsula or Area 9.
The tour highlights 3H – Habi (weave), Halal (delicacies), and Hilom (wellness). It coated Basilan, Zamboanga City, and Zamboanga del Sur. Whereas Lamitan Metropolis is not a part of Area 9, because it already beneath the Bangsamoro Autonomous Area in Muslim Mindanao, Lamitan Metropolis is within the itinerary due to Apuh Ambalang.
It was already my second time assembly her, however in fact, the joys was nonetheless there.
Apuh Ambalang was seated close to the doorway, entertaining requests for pictures. Round her, a number of magtetenun or weavers, together with kids, have been busy engaged on their looms.
Apuh Ambalang herself discovered the craft at a younger age from her mom, who was beforehand considered the most effective weaver in Basilan. She mastered probably the most intricate classes of the weave — the sinalu’an and the seputangan.
Throughout my first go to, I used to be taken by means of your complete course of. I noticed how laborious it’s to complete one weave and the way troublesome it was to grasp it. From the paghani, or the warping course of, to the pagpeneh, or the making of the design, to the precise weaving, it takes weeks to months to complete one.
I’m in awe of women who pursue this craft. It requires tenacity, ability, ardour, and dedication.
My first time visiting Basilan was in 2018. Throughout that point, I used to be additionally in a position to meet and take heed to Lamitan’s different GAMABA, Yakan people musician Uwang Ahadas, carry out. He granted a personal efficiency to our small group of two. It was surreal.
Sure, Lamitan Metropolis is house to not only one however two GAMABAs. It’s the solely metropolis or municipality within the nation that has that distinction, which is proof of its very wealthy heritage and tradition. Sadly, the status of being an unsafe metropolis nonetheless precedes them, so not many get to expertise its wealthy custom firsthand.
Apart from the GAMABA weaving middle, we additionally visited the Basilan College of Dwelling Custom in Isabela Metropolis, which additionally safeguards and showcases the expertise and complex work of Basilan’s Indigenous Teams, together with the tennun.
We additionally visited the tennun weavers of the Yakan Village in Zamboanga Metropolis.
The Yakan Village was my first publicity to this textile fashion. The village is a group of stalls that sells weaves and different souvenirs to vacationers who go to Zamboanga Metropolis. The weavers there are additionally from Basilan and migrated to Zamboanga Metropolis. They’re distant relations of Apuh Ambalang. Visitors of this village also can watch how a tennun is woven.
We additionally went to ZamSulu Crafts in Zamboanga Metropolis, which showcases pis siyabit, the weaving custom of the Tausugs; Kumala Weavers in Kumalarang, Zamboanga del Sur, who has a century-old custom of manufacturing eye-catching mats; and the Subanen weavers of Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur, which trains differently-abled individuals to weave.
Alberto Gadia, the TPB market specialist, mentioned, “TPB contains indigenous weaving communities to assist in the preservation of their intangible and tangible cultural heritage and on the similar time assist them of their livelihood.”
He added, “the pandemic has triggered extreme financial misery by shutting down all tourism actions which impacts the income-earning alternatives of the growing community-based tourism websites and sights.”