December 6, 2022

The Ifugao State University (IFSU) conducted a two-day seminar on Ifugao textiles for public teachers to capacitate them on the different aspects of indigenous knowledge systems and practices (IKSP).
Marlon M. Martin, chief operations officer of the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (Sitmo), a local partner of IFSU, discussed the meanings behind the symbols and patterns of the Ifugao traditional textiles.
“Our Ifugao textiles are full of stories. The colors, symbols, and patterns of the textiles can actually tell the intricate relationship of the early Ifugaos to the gods and their universe,” he said.
Martin added, “The use of variety of symbols in making their traditional textiles are not random creative expressions of the weaver but standard patterns passed down from earlier generations. If we do not understand these, our traditional weaving practice might lose it cultural meanings and context.”
The 15 teacher-trainees were oriented on 30 weaving gods and goddesses of the Ifugaos and each process of weaving has its own god.
Among these gods include Punholdayan ad Kabunyan (Punholdayan of the Skyworld), the giver of the loom; Munbuhug, the fluffer; Muntiyong, the spinner; Munhau’d, the warper; Manu’klit, the heddle-raiser; and the Mun-abol, the weaver.
Stephanie S. Ayahao and Edson Bill M. Holman, weavers and members of Sitmo and the Kiyyangan Weavers Association also served as speakers during the second day.
They highlighted the economics of weaving and on why woven products using backstrap weaving is more expensive in the market.
Eulalie D. Dulnuan, director for the IFSU Ifugao Rice Terraces as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System said, “With the advent of contemporary and popular textiles designs, it is important to have a deeper sense of understanding of traditional textiles and on the issue of tangible cultural heritage conservation. We recognize the important role of our teachers in teaching the correct intricacies of weaving and IKSP to our children.”
“We are aware on the issues of cultural misappropriation especially on textiles and this kind of activity is crucial in providing platforms for better discussion on traditional textiles. We plan to conduct more similar activities in the future to cover the wider public on this matter,” Dulnuan said.
“With the seminar, I became to value more our textiles and boosted my cultural identity. I feel so proud hearing the stories of the Ifugao nation embedded in the woven textiles. I appreciate the hard work, patience and diligence of the mun-abol in continuing the tradition,” said Sylvester Lalan, a trainee and Master Teacher II of Lamut Central School.
The activity is part of the lecture series under the Ifugao Indigenous Knowledge Educators Training Program, a component of the Center for Taiwan-Philippines Indigenous, Local Knowledge and Sustainable Studies, to train teacher-trainees from the Department of Education-Ifugao and develop contextualized learning modules on IKSP. – Jude C. Baggo