Ethnic face masks handwoven by Cordillera weavers

Ethnic Face Masks are Sustaining Our Traditional Cordillera Weavers!

Gari Sy Rivera | June 25, 2020

Ethnic Face Masks are Sustaining Our Traditional Cordillera Weavers!

Gari Sy Rivera
Gari Sy Rivera | June 25, 2020

As the Philippines continues to strive for a healthier tomorrow amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer Dante Perello and his wife Jennilyn Perello have started an initiative to help Cordillerans get back on their feet after a number of them have lost employment throughout the quarantine period with ethnic face masks.

“Cordillerans are known for their resilience and independence. Since the implementation of the community quarantine, most of them are displaced and some have no more jobs to go back to,” Perello relates, “So, to help their fellow Cordillerans, some indigenous weavers offered jobs to them, therefore teaching them the art of sewing and some are learning the art of hand weaving. However, there is also a need to widen their market. This is what we want to help them with: for them to be able to sell more, promote local products, and as much as possible, make it a sustainable livelihood.”

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Dante and Jennilyn, a Mountain Province native, discovered this way of furthering the opportunity for a number of Cordillerans, Ifugaos, Mountain Province natives and locals to work, earn, and even learn the traditional practice and heritage of handweaving textiles. Together, the couple supports their mask production and widens their reach by providing the needed materials, while the traditional weavers teach the craft of hand-weaving and mask-making to those in their neighborhoods. Perello and his wife collect the finished products to sell in and outside the province via online marketing. The income generated then goes to the Cordillera weavers.

Materials of the masks include Beatrice cloth, the breathable, underlying layer of the mask for better quality and protection compared to most masks, garter for the earloop, and Inabel, the beautifully finished traditional handwoven textile that serves as the outer layer and design of the mask.

Swipe through the gallery to see the authentic, varying, and vibrant designs!

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As the world gets more and more digital and advanced in technology, Perello reminds the Filipinos of the importance of cultivating culture and heritage still, such as supporting and furthering the traditional practices and products of our fellow countrymen “Since big time textile businessmen can easily "copy" our traditional cloth and mass produce it digitally, the culture of hand-weaving is slowly dying. Therefore, we would like to encourage everyone to patronize our local weavers and continuously promote it. Yes, it is more expensive than the mass-produced copied textiles but hey! Aside from it is original, It is also made with love and real talent. Let's give due credits and profit to these talented weavers so we may pass it on to the next generation. Let's keep our culture alive!”

Learn more about these Cordilleran facemasks here.

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