Iloilo’s Hablon weaving heritage

Iloilo, Philippines — With indigenous fabrics steadily gaining popularity in high fashion, the spotlight on our local weaving communities shines more brightly than ever before. Iloilo’s hablon weaving commerce, in particular, is currently making a name in the international design industry as demand for hand-woven textiles increased impressively over the past few years.

The art of Hablon weaving in Iloilo
The art of Hablon weaving in Iloilo

Hablon, taken from the Hiligaynon word “Habol” meaning “to weave,” refers to both the process of making the fabric and the end product. It is traditionally made of locally-made fibers such as piña, abaca, and cotton. Due to the sporadic price increase of raw materials, polyester and other fibers were added to strengthen the fabric and cut the cost of production.

Hablon Weaving in Iloilo
Hablon Weaving in Iloilo

In 1980 the industry suffered a great decline as weavers turned to other source of livelihood because of the rising popularity of machine-woven textiles. The availability of the parts of the loom has also posed another challenge to the communities, as well as tight competition and difficulties in penetrating the mainstream textile market. In the early 2000s, the government of Iloilo together with the Department of Tourism, joined hands with the hope of reawakening the interest of many in this century-old local heritage.


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The question now, what part do we play in keeping this industry alive? For one thing, here is where can you can visit the weaving houses in Iloilo for your next trip.

Hablon Weaver in Miagao, Iloilo
Hablon Weaver in Miagao, Iloilo

In the city, you can go to the Camiña Balay na Bato and Sinamay House both located at Osmeña St. in Arevalo to buy hablon products. Not far from here is the Arevalo Handwoven Products at Brgy. Sta. Cruz, the official maker of the University of the Philippines’ official academic graduation garment, sablay. Running through the fabric are geometric patterns of indigenous Philippine tribes.

The municipalities of Miagao and Oton are still the top producers of the hablon weave in the province. They also have the largest weaving communities that manufacture and sell export-quality products such as traditional patadyong skirts, Barong Tagalog, saya, and bandana; as well as household and novelty items like table runners, picture frames, slippers, and seminar/corporate bags, etc.

Hablon Weaving Products
Hablon Weaving Products

At Indag-an Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative, tourist can even experience and see first-hand what it takes to produce hablon products. Here, daughters of the hablon weavers are trained to learn the traditional art of hablon weaving so that they can pass their knowledge to another generation.

Camiña Balay Nga Bato
Address: Villa Arevalo District, Iloilo City
Hours: Open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 9pm
Phone: (033) 336 3858
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BalayNgaBatoIloilo/?ref=br_rs

Sinamay House
Osmeña St, Villa Arevalo District, Iloilo City
Open from Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 5pm

Arevalo Handwoven Products
Sta. Cruz St., Villa Arevalo District, Iloilo City
Open from Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 5pm
Phone: (033) 337 4574
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Arevalo-Handwoven-Products-Official-656201607846482/

Indag-an Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative
Brgy. Indag-an, Miagao, Iloilo.
Phone: (033) 315 9722
Official website: www.miagaohablonipmpc.com

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