The finest inabel textiles that come from this northern part of Luzon will never run dry for as long as there is one Magdalena Gamayo, whose dedication to her craft can last a lifetime.
Lola (grandma) Dalen, as what the Ilokana master weaver is fondly called, will turn 100 years old on Aug. 13 this year and she continues to train new breed of weavers at the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) Cultural Center located in a remote farming village of Lumbaan-Bicbica in Pinili town.
For someone who dedicates her whole life to making inabel textiles and keeping the craft alive up to this time, Lola Dalen, one of the Philippines’ National Living Treasures, said it would be an honor for her to watch the youth mastering the art of inabel weaving.
As a tribute to Gamayo’s centenary celebration, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA), in collaboration with local government units and the Department of Education, opened up the enlistment of interested individuals, preferably those in high school level, to learn Gamayo’s weaving skills.
“Little by little, we continue to invest in training the youth and pass on this cultural treasure,” Dr. Edwin Antonio, head of NCCA’s national committee for Northern Luzon and program training director for abel weaving, said.
Antonio said they target to have at least 100 learners to enroll in the basic and advanced level of weaving from January to August this year.
The first batch, composed of 16 learners from the Sacritan Integrated School-Pinili, started their training this January and they are expected to complete the 10 sessions or a total of 80-hour training time until August 2024.
“Upon completion of the program, the inabel output will be made into sablay or banda that will be awarded and worn by each trainee and receive a certificate of completion issued by the NCCA during the culmination program,” Antonio said, as he enjoined interested individuals, even those who are not from Ilocos Norte, to learn the craft at the GAMABA center every weekend.
The process of making inabel fabric is a tedious one. It involves preparing the cotton threads, warping and braiding them, and feeding them into the loom before the actual weaving begins.
At the end of the day, a weaver finds fulfillment in his/her output knowing the finished product is not just a piece of cloth but a priceless hand-made possession, while keeping a legacy inherited from generation to generation. (Leilanie Adriano)
(Source: LGU Pinili, Ilocos Norte)