Weaving Communities in Panay and Visayas

Our overview of the weaving communities in the Philippines has taken us across the fertile lands of Luzon in our last post. We briefly introduced the weaving cultures of the Ilocos region and the Cordillera, the island of Catanduanes, and the weaving tradition of the Hanunoo Mangyan in Mindoro. Let’s visit other weaving communities throughout the archipelago!

Panay Island, Western Visayas

On Panay Island are two major weaving centers: the Aklanon in Panay and the Hiligaynon in Iloilo. Visayan weavers mostly make use of natural fibers, including those extracted from the leaves of the red Bisaya pineapple plant, piña. They also use silk and bast fibers, particularly banana, and make use of pedal-frame looms.

Red Pineapple PlantRed Pineapple Plant

The extraction of piña fibers is arduous and tedious, and it requires knowledge of when it’s best to gather the pineapple leaves. If the leaves are gathered too early, these may not have the right firmness to be woven. You can say that preparing the fibers for weaving is an art form in itself!

Piña Fiber ExtractionPiña Fiber Extraction

The Aklanon weavers are known for their piña and silk cloth creations with inlaid supplementary weft designs. They also embroider it with floral and vegetal designs. The Hiligaynon weavers are proficient in the suk-suk design technique.

Piña Weaving on a Pedal LoomPiña Weaving on a Pedal Loom

The silk from woven from pineapple fibers, piña, is often referred to as the Queen of Philippine fabrics and used for the Barong Tagalog and formal wear.

Pina BarongTagalog DetailPiña Barong Tagalog Detail with Hand Embroidery