The national costume of the Philippines are the barong tagalog for men and baro’t saya for women. I’ve always wanted to wear our Philippine dress the way Koreans proudly wear their Hanbok during every occasion they could possibly find a reason to wear it.
I’m more inclined to get the more wearable and casual kimona which originated from the Visayas. The kimona, like the Mestiza and the Maria Clara got its origin from our national costume, the baro’t saya. The kimona is paired with patadyong, a wrap-around used as a skirt. And patadyong comes from Western Visayas, where I come from.
I remember doing a research during my university days at UP (University of the Philippines) on the weaving industry of Miag-ao, Iloilo. It is called Hablon. Hablon was coined from the local word “habol” which means hand weaving. The patadyong is one of the many products that can be made by Hablon. So, while I was in Iloilo last December, I got my patadyong from its historic source.
Hablon, as a method of fabric production, can be traced back to Miag-ao since the late 18th century. To this day, it is still being practiced by local weavers.
I had been lucky to watch this process at Camiña Balay na Bato in Iloilo. I saw this lady take her seat and began weaving. I had to ask permission to video her:
The process of making Hablon is very meticulous: (source: Miag-ao LGU)
- Thread comes in selected colors will be arranged according to the desired pattern before warping.
- Warping. Threads will be set on a warping tool – then these threads will be grouped and rolled along the bamboo pegs of the warping frame. Threads are counted by hand based on the desired length, width and design.
- Beaming. Threads from the warp will be rolled along the weaver’s beam, a bamboo cylinder at the back of the loom.
- Hedding. Each thread of the warp passes through the openings of the heddle.
- Reeding. After hedding, each thread will be inserted on each of the opening of the metal reed using a bamboo hook.
- Tie-in. The end of the threads will be tied into the cloth roll, a wooden cane at the base of the loom.
- Spooling. Weft thread needed for the shuttle will be spooled using a traditional spooling wheel.
- Weaving. The weaver steps on the bamboo pedal to raise or lower the heddle then the weft will be propelled across the loom by a shuttle and then the weft will be pushed against the fell of the cloth by the reed.
This is how a kimona and patadyong looks like:
On my next visit, I would love to get a bag made of Hablon. I also saw beautifully made shawls. And they can also be used as table covers, even lamp sheets. And elegant and dainty gowns. Hablon fabrics are that versatile! And I’ve made a promise to myself to only get those “Himu sa Miag-ao” (Made in Miag-ao).