During a trip to the Philippines, I came across Carmen who is from the Ati Community of Boracay. The Ati Community is the first inhabitant of the infamous white sand island of Boracay. Carmen is among the skillful artisans of the community who gave me some lessons on weaving a bag. She used cabbage palm (also known as Buri). It has taken her about 2 weeks to complete the basket bag shown on photo. The same material was used on the mat we were sitting on.
The Sebu fabrics are made of 100% abaca fiber (leaftstalk fiber). It is traditionally handwoven by the women of the T’boli tribe in South Cotabato Mindanao, Philippines. The Sebu fabric is still handwoven in the homes of the T’boli community. A roll with a length of 9 meters, would typically take up to 90 days to fabricate, depending on the intricacy of the design. The colors used to dye the fabric are mainly from vegetables and roots.
The traditional patterns on the Sebu fabric as well as the traditional colors such as brown/red/black are records of the people’s history and family life. For the T’boli community, a woman who doesn’t know how to weave is looked down upon.