Carrying on a cultural legacy: Anilene Tijing

Carrying on a cultural legacy: Anilene Tijing

'Weaver of the Month' features behind-the-looms stories of the artisans who made your weaves. Read all articles here.

The picturesque town of Miagao in Iloilo Province boasts a rich tapestry of historical and cultural marvels. It is widely known for the Miagao Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stands as a testament to the town's storied past as a center of culture and trade.

Miagao church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Miagao Iloilo Province (Photo retrieved from miagao.gov.ph)
Miagao Church, also known as the Santo Tomás de Villanueva Parish (Photo retrieved from miagao.gov.ph)

Beyond its historical architecture, Miagao is also home to another form of cultural heritage—the centuries-old art of handloom weaving. These colorful textiles are called hablon, handwoven on traditional looms, and they reflect the creativity and craftsmanship of Iloilo weavers. Among the communities keeping this heritage alive is the Indag-an Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (IPMPC), a partner enterprise of Panublix. 

Carrying on a cultural legacy

One of the weavers at IPMPC is Anilene Tijing, who joined the cooperative in 2008 when she was 20 years old. It was her husband’s aunt who invited her to the cooperative and taught her how to weave. Anilene fondly recalls that her children often spent time with her at the cooperative as she worked at the tidal (handloom).

In video: Anilene skilfully weaves the Pixel Leaf Weave Cotton Hablon using 100% cotton weaving yarn. The design depicts pixels combining to create a leaf, reminiscent of how the digital world mirrors the interconnectedness of nature.

More than just a craft, weaving became a means to support her family alongside her husband's livelihood as a tricycle driver. The income opportunities provided by the cooperative enabled Anilene and her fellow weavers to send their children to school.

Related article: Hablon Weaving in Iloilo

Taking pride in her work and the community

Proudly contributing to the cooperative, Anilene finds a deep sense of pride in both her craft and the community she’s part of.

Seeing her hablon garments worn by influential figures, like Mayor Napulan of Miagao, makes Anilene feel proud of their woven creations. Trade fairs and events like the annual Hablon Festival in Miagao also serve as a platform for weaving artisans to showcase their craftsmanship and display a wide range of IPMPC products.

Hablon in different patterns and colors, woven by IPMPC
Hablon in different patterns and colors, woven by IPMPC

Anilene highly values her role as a weaver and believes that the work they do is instrumental in empowering women and uplifting the community. She is grateful that weaving allows women like her to organize and establish enterprises rather than relying solely on their husbands’ income.

Navigating challenges

When discussing the community’s challenges, Anilene mentioned the educational gap among members as a hindrance to teaching weaving techniques effectively. Passing on knowledge requires additional effort when it comes to members who have limited formal education.

Furthermore, addressing client demands greatly concerns IPMPC due to its strong commitment to product quality. Their customers’ shifting preferences require them to adopt new designs and weaving patterns to meet these needs.

Adapting to market demands, Anilene continues to develop her weaving expertise through trainings conducted by the Philippine government agencies including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Inspiring the younger generation

In the future, Anilene hopes to see more of the youth embracing hablon weaving and carrying on the cultural legacy that she proudly upholds. She recognizes the necessity of bridging the generational gap to preserve this rich heritage, observing how it has become harder to get youth engaged in the practice.

Anilene Tijing Barong cut weave

Asked for her advice to the younger generation, Anilene encourages them to learn the craft, highlighting the valuable opportunity that weaving offers. The skills that they learn increase their earning potential and give them an alternative source of income especially for students who can weave during their free time.

Weaving digital bridges with Panublix

Anilene’s story reflects the importance of hablon weaving both as an artistic tradition and a path to economic empowerment for the people of Miagao. Inspired by the dedication of weaving artisans like Anilene, we at Panublix are driven by the vision of a textile supply chain that values nature, humanity, and cultural heritage.

Panublix is an impact-driven digital sourcing platform connecting weavers, designers, and brands with tropical fibers, yarns, and textiles. We provide artisan enterprises like IPMPC with digital economy support and help them access materials made from natural fibers like cotton, abaca, and pineapple.

With Panublix's assistance in promotions and marketing, IPMPC is able to showcase its products in more programs and events which help establish connections with customers.

We share our partner weavers’ excitement in seeing the textiles they meticulously weave being proudly used by designers and admired by people, reaffirming the value and significance of their traditional craft in the modern world.

Read more about Indag-an Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (IPMPC)

Discover: Iloilo Pixel Leaf Weave Cotton Hablon woven by IPMPC weavers

 

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