Skip to main content

The Land of the Dreamweavers

I've always been fascinated with the T'nalak fabric made by the T'bolis of South Cotabato and so when I got an invitation to visit the province and meet their weavers, I immediately said yes. I, together with other designers were invited by the Governor, Daisy Fuentes, through Marivic Pineda of GKonomics, Gawad Kalinga's partner in social enterprise development. The good governor wanted us to see the possibility of using their traditional crafts for our designs and experience first hand the tranquility of her province. Having read about the T'bolis being one of the most peaceful tribes in the Philippines, I never had second thoughts of flying down south. A friend once told me I must have been a T'boli in my past life because of my calm demeanour.

Our first stop was the T'boli School of Indigenous Knowledge and Traditions where we were presented with traditional music and dance by the school children. Their dance I would liken to the quiet wind and gentle sea waves. I wish their school will get more support.
We went to the house of Lang Dulay next, a National Living Treasure awardee. The patterns of the T'nalak come in her dreams and she then directs her team of weavers to weave them. It holds true for the other weaving houses, that is why South Cotabato is called the Land of the Dreamweavers.
We also visited the brass bell makers where everything was made by hand. The metal was melted in wood fire, poured in clay casts and embellished after.
Before calling it a day, our guide brought us to COWHED, the cooperative store that sells rolls of T'nalak, necklaces and trinkets. The ladies had a grand time shopping.

There's so much beauty and joy that I still have to digest from this wonderful experience, I can't wait to go home and sketch.

Our first stop, the T'boli School of Indigenous Knowledge and Traditions.



A T'boli girl showing us the traditional T'boli dance.

One of the two classrooms in the school compound.

Lake Sebu


The house of Lang Dulay.

Abaca thread.

The art of knotting to create patterns on the T'nalak fabric.

A traditional T'boli blouse.

Traditional T'boli bead necklaces.

A photo-op with Lang Dulay, Living Natational Treasure Awardee.

Home of brass bell makers.

The traditional way of melting metal.



COWHED souvenir store.

Coleus grow on the roadsides.

Butter yellow Cosmos with pink edges..

Pink Cosmos.

The Cosmos flower reminds me so much of my childhood.


Wynn Wynn Ong styling T'boli necklaces on Cynthia Almario.

Ivy Almario in T'boli necklaces styled by Wynn Wynn Ong.

I couldn't help but marvel at the beautiful pink skies on our way back to the hotel.
Local flowers make wonderful table arrangements.


It's not everyday you'll eat Halo Halo like this.

Our GKonomics team with Governor Daisy Fuentes (in blue printed t-shirt)
and House Representative Ferdie Hernandez (in striped t-shirt and khaki shorts)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Vintage Valera

A couple of years ago, Roselyn Tiangco brought me her mother's Ramon Valera bridal trousseau and asked if we can cut the train and use it for her wedding gown. It was a Philippine terno in ivory satin, with bugle beads cascading down the front like waterfalls and a 5 meter train trimmed with Guipure lace and tons of pearls. I was aghast with the thought - no, I wouldn't dare desecrate a Valera. Roselyn and I agreed not to touch the vintage gown, we collaborated instead on simple Dior inspired gown for her wedding.
Early this year, Roselyn's mom Mrs. Linda Tiangco brought the Valera gown again, this time it would be for her wedding anniversary. The 50 year old gown gown still fits her perfectly but the bodice was already discolored and some parts of the train were moth eaten. Mrs. Tiangco told me to take my time to study the gown and see what I can do with it. For a month or so, I was just looking at the gown on the dress form, hoping Mrs. Tiangco would change her mind and…

Yes Meding, Grapes Grow In The Philippines!

I got a viber message from my friend Dom Hernandez asking if I'm free Monday for a day trip to La Union to look at vineyards. My first response was "we grow grapes in the Philippines?" and he replied with a photograph of three happy people clowning under the grape vines. I immediately marked my calendar and moved a few appointments to the evening. This was my kind of trip, only Julie Andrews can stop me from going.
The visit to the vineyards was arranged by the Department of Agriculture. The department's charming undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat invited food writers and wine connoisseurs to look at the many possibilities of these locally grown grapes. Avelino Lomboy started planting grapes in Bauang, La Union in the 70s. President Corazon Aquino visited in 1988, picking grapes herself from Mr. Lomboy's lovely vineyard. Today, there are more vineyards in La Union. You can see them in between mango orchards and tobacco plantations. The province has wisely diversifi…

The Cojuangco Ancestral House

Our next journey takes us to a historic town in Bulacan, thirty minutes north of Manila. My road trip buddies, my college friends who all share with me the same fascination for heritage houses were privileged by an invitation from Melecio Cojuangco to visit their ancestral house in Malolos. Mel, his cousin in law Marissa Lopa, Rima Datuin and Evelyn Bautista and I discovered each other's funny bonebecause of our love for the ice cream served in a huge bowl at Peninsula Manila's lobby. One evening, to justify our appetite, we pretended it was my birthday and we had the string quartet play happy birthday for me, from then on, we became good friends. Mel's grandfather, Jose Cojuangco was born at the Malolos house, very near the Barasoain Church. Jose's mother traded rice from Nueva Ecija, sacks transported by boat via the river at the back of the kamalig to Binondo, Manila. Like most turn of the century houses, the Cojuangco house uses piedra china stones for the ground …