June 21, 2024

The Department of Science and Technology-CAR through the Provincial S&T Center-Benguet and the City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO) of Baguio conducted a two-day capacity-building activity on May 19 and 20 in line with upgrading the local loom weaving industry through science, technology, and innovation (STI).

The activity targeted local weaver groups to help them improve the industry.

Key resource speakers during the activity were Benguet State University-Department of Social Sciences Dean Stanley Anongos, who elaborated on cultural appropriation and the responsibility of designers to protect cultural meanings and beliefs behind ethnic designs when woven cloth are used for fashion; and Bayo Foundation Owner Anna Lagon, who facilitated a workshop with the loom weavers on purposeful gesign, giving the artisans advice on improving their craft; renowned inabel fashion designer Harvic Dominguez who shared his insights and experiences in creating his own brand of clothing during the training on basic fashion design; along with event designers Charmaine Joy de Guzman and Chai Ramos who discussed and demonstrated fashion design and marketing techniques to the participants.

DOST Regional Director Nancy Bantog encouraged the attendees composed of local weaver groups to keep on innovating with science and culture.

“For every thread of effort for innovation, when woven in unity and beauty, it will surely produce a fabric of competitive, sustainable and inclusive growth,” she said.

Recognizing the niche weaving industry in the Cordillera, the DOST-CAR as chair of the Regional Research, Development and Innovation Committee pushed for the creation of the Cordillera Weaving Industry Council as part of the strategy in the Cordillera Weaving Industry Development Plan 2020-2028, a regional policy that envisions a creative, vibrant, sustainable, and globally-competitive weaving industry advanced by a community of artisans and entrepreneurs for the benefit of the Cordillera people.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Bantog signed a memorandum of agreement for the provision of appropriate equipment for loom weaving and the implementation of capacity-building programs to develop new loom weaving products and designs in the locality.

The collaborative project is a result of the initiative of Magalong and his desire to improve the loom weaving industry in as much as Baguio is also a Unesco Creative City.

Provincial S&T Director for Benguet Sheila Marie Singa-Claver echoed the establishment of Common Service Facilities in Middle Quirino Hill and Cypress, Irisan for loom weavers and the Botanical Garden in Baguio City as a loom weaving showcase and marketing center where loom weaving products will be put on display to the public for tourists and residents, targeted to be operational within the year. – Christian Robert Sandoval