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Amparo Balansi Mabanag: Ga'dang Embroiderer is GAMABA Awardee

Explore Amparo Mabanag's journey as a GAMABA awardee, preserving Ga'dang heritage through intricate embroidery and cultural dedication.

 |  2 min read

GAMABA Awardee Amparo Mabanag embodies Ga'dang cultural pride, stitching tales of tradition, resilience, and Igorot heritage.

Amparo Balansi Mabanag: Guardian of Ga'dang Heritage

In the picturesque town of Paracelis, within the heartland of the Ga'dang ethnic group, Amparo Balansi Mabanag, an exceptional Igorot embroiderer, has emerged as a beacon of cultural preservation. Her remarkable skills and unwavering dedication have not only earned her recognition within her community but have propelled her to stand among the esteemed GAMABA awardees for the year.

A Tapestry of Ga'dang Tradition

A member of the Ga'dang ethnic group, Mabanag is deeply rooted in the rich cultural tapestry of the Igorot people. The Ga'dang, known for their colorful traditional costumes adorned with numerous types of beads of semiprecious stones, are particularly celebrated for their intricate beadwork and embroidery.

Mabanag's recognition as a GAMABA awardee is a result of her commitment to safeguarding and promoting Ga'dang manu'bak and ameru (beadworks and embroidery) tradition.

Her journey as an Igorot embroiderer began at the age of 14 when she learned the tradition by observing and mimicking the weaving moves of her Aunt Gayyawa.

Falling in love with the art of warping and wefting threads, Amparo's passion for her craft was temporarily put on hold to pursue her studies.

However, her dedication persisted, and she returned to working with threads and beads when invited by a cultural master to join a School of Living Traditions (SLT) in Paracelis.

Photo: Demelza Dacanay

GAMABA Recognition: A Pinnacle Achievement

Proclaimed as a GAMABA awardee for the year, Mabanag's recognition is a testament to her outstanding contributions to the preservation of Ga'dang heritage. The Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan, or GAMABA, celebrates individuals like Mabanag who excel in traditional folk-art forms, ensuring the continuity of indigenous craftsmanship.

Embroidering Stories of Resilience

Mabanag's journey as an Igorot embroiderer is not merely about stitches and patterns; it's about weaving stories of resilience and cultural pride. Through her craft, she breathes life into the Ga'dang Manu'bak and Ameru traditions, intricately stitching together the tales of her ancestors.

Photo: Demelza Dacanay

Inspiring a Cultural Renaissance

As a GAMABA awardee, Mabanag serves as an inspiration not only to her fellow Ga'dang community members but to a broader audience. Her recognition shines a spotlight on the importance of preserving and celebrating the unique heritage of indigenous groups like the Ga'dang. Mabanag's artistry is a call to action, urging others to embrace and safeguard their cultural identity.

Photo: Demelza Dacanay

Conclusion

In the vast landscape of cultural diversity, Amparo Balansi Mabanag stands tall as a cultural guardian, an Igorot embroiderer whose stitches tell stories of tradition, resilience, and pride. The GAMABA recognition elevates her craft from the local to the national stage, emphasizing the significance of preserving and cherishing the cultural heritage embedded in the threads of Ga'dang tradition. As we celebrate Mabanag's achievement, we are reminded of the importance of honoring and safeguarding the unique stories woven into the fabric of our diverse communities.


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