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“We should be proud of where we came from.”
This was from thirteen-year old Sharmaine Balachawe, one of the youngest participants of the Cordillera Weaving Industry Summit which was held from July 26 to 30, 2021. Hailing from Ifugao and whose family makes a living through weaving, she echoed their appreciation for the capacity-building activity while sharing her sentiments on the importance of weaving.
“This is for our love and pride of our culture and identity,” she said in her live testimonial during the summit’s closing ceremonies.
Budding weaving enthusiasts such as Balachawe were among the sixty participants from weaving communities in the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao and Kalinga during the summit organized by the DOST-CAR, together with partner-agencies. Notably, most of the participants in Abra and Ifugao were schoolchildren and teenagers who complemented the presence of seasoned practitioners such as adults and elders in further honing their skills in the craft.
Cordilleran weaving artisans and designers, young and old alike took the opportunity to learn basic handloom weaving in the week-long hands-on training session, in line with the 34th Cordillera Month celebrations. The simultaneous face-to-face and virtual training on basic handloom weaving for local weavers highlighted the event, which put on full display the creativity and skills of the participants.
Experts from the DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) and PTRI-trained weavers were on hand to virtually and physically guide the weaver groups in different venues in their respective provinces throughout the workshop.
As part of the culminating activity, instead of plainly presenting their woven fabric creations, the participants gamely highlighted their work with a twist of the local culture from chanting to dancing to the beat of gongs.
The summit was organized by the Cordillera Weaving Industry Council, which is the recognized body to implement the 2020-2028 Cordillera Weaving Industry Development Plan (CWIDP) lead by DOST-CAR and composed of the following CAR offices: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Watershed and Water Resources Research Development and Extension Center (WWRRDDEC), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PHILFIDA), Intellectual Property Satellite Office Philippines (IPOPHIL), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT); higher educational institutions and weaver groups across the region.
Recognizing the need to preserve the Cordilleran weaving tradition for posterity, DOST-CAR continues to work together with partner agencies, Local Government Units (LGU), weaver groups and other stakeholders of the weaving sector through provision of responsive Science, Technology and Innovation initiatives for the benefit of the people. By Christian Robert M. Sandoval