Luzon Weaving Traditions : Cordillera & Ilokos
There are two weaving traditions in Luzon: the weavers of the Cordillera highlands who belong to ethnolinguistic communities of Ifugao, Ga'dang, Itneg, Kalinga, Bontoc, Kankanaey; and the coastal, lowland communities of the Ilokos provinces. Each of the Cordilleran weavers maintain their traditional designs, motifs and weaving practices; and until the introduction of the frame loom, wove their textiles using the back strap method. Only a handful of back strap loom weavers remain today.
The Ilokos weaving tradition is mostly concentrated along the Ilokos coast along the Luzon Sea and inland along the Abra River. Before the complete colonization of Ilokos, the Cordillera weavers and Ilokos weaver traded design and cotton. Indigo dye plants grew naturally in the hills of Abra and Cordillerra was a major source to Ilokano weavers. Cotton cloth from locally grown cotton supplied the sails needed for the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade until the 18th century when land was converted to growing lucrative crops like tobacco. Similar loss of cotton crops in Visayas occurred when land was converted to growing sugar cane. Locally grown cotton has not recovered until recently through the efforts of Patis Tesoro and the Habi groups and Manila entrepreneurs. Research on local cotton and mixed with other indigenous fibers are being made by the government agency Philippine Textile Research Institute. Through The Hinabi Project, the Cordillera exhibit demonstrates the unique design opportunities for Philippine grown natural fibers and dyes, and spur more innovation and encourage sustainable fashion.