Meet the Women Weavers Keeping the Bukidnon Banig Tradition Alive!
Kenneth Mheil Mangaya- Ay | July 29, 2020
The Bukidnon-Tagoloanen tribe’s mat weaving tradition called Ikam is one of the precious indigenous traditions in the country that almost vanished. To revive the vanishing tradition of the Tagoloanen and to ensure that the mat making tradition is transmitted to the next generations, women weavers of their tribe were organized to form the Tagolwanen Women Weavers Association.
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The Tagolwanen Women Weavers Association has 80 active women weavers from 7 barangays in Malaybalay City, Province of Bukidnon. Their mission is to promote the Tagolwanen tradition of weaving as well as the customs and traditions that surround it, not as a historical artifact, but as an economically viable source of employment for women weavers. “Mahalagang panatilihing buhay at ginagamit ang banig para ma-continue ang mat weaving tradition. Ang mat weaving tradition ay isang kayamanan na minana pa natin sa ating kanuno-nuoan. Ang weaving ay hindi lang isang livelihood kundi isang part ng buhay at identity ng mga indigenous people. Ang bawat disenyo ay nagre-reflect ng tribal values and beliefs (It is important to keep the banig alive, to continue the mat weaving tradition. It is not just a tradition but a treasure we inherit from our ancestors. It is not just a livelihood, but part of the identity of our indigenous people. Each design reflects their tribal values and beliefs.),” shared Lorie “Amihan” Rago-Marte, TWWA Founder.
Each material they produce comes from the passion, dedication, and hard work of every weaver. The Tagolwanen mat weaving process takes one week up to one month depending on the design, pattern, size, and shape. The process starts with the harvesting of sodsod, a grass-like plant endemic in Bukidnon. The harvest will then go through a meticulous and artisanal process of drying, color dyeing, flattening, and weaving. The association produces different native mats (rectangular and round), handwoven bayong bags, planters, placemats, beach hats, and even (pasalubong) food products displayed on their showroom in Km. 4 Sayre Highway, Barangay Casisang, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
To date, the association continues with training and developing the women weavers to become empowered members of their community and family by holding upgrading weaving skills training and encouraging the passing on the weaving to their children. They also have other educational sessions, such as indigenous peoples and women’s rights.
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