Weaving was once a past-time.
I was Kabayan's municipal secretary for twelve years. And then I ran for public office and was elected councilor. During my first term, I realized politics wasn't my cup of tea so to speak.
So I decided to go back to weaving after fifteen years of public service. I learned how to weave when I was in grade six. We used the loom of our home economics teacher. I also attended many training sessions when I was still in public service: at the Tublay School of Home Industries Extension in Poblacion, Kabayan, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
I met other women weavers during those sessions and we have decided to establish the Kabayan Weaving Arts and Crafts in 1993. We produced varied products to cater to our different clientele. We made blankets, bags, and Benguet indigenous attires to name a few.
Until now after decades, I get satisfaction from weaving. I don't feel right if I don't have spools of thread and a weaving loom around me.
Weaving is a beautiful art and I want to share it to others. I want them to experience the exhilirating feeling everytime I weave.
Thus, I provide training sessions to those who come to me from different municipalities. I love sharing what I know and passing the unique culture of weaving with all those colours and intricate designs.
Our customers who want to have a piece of our art and culture come from all over. We have orders from Cebu, Palawan, as far as Batanes and most government, educational and private organizations come to us for their native attires as well as conference kits and souvenirs. We also have orders from Japan, Canada, London, all over the world. And I love seeing our products being used as tokens in weddings and special occasions. It gives me that feeling of fulfillment that our craft is a part of a beautiful celebration of family and love.
Now, Kabayan Weaving is composed of passionate weavers and sewers, mostly the loyal people that were with me from when we started until now. But time is moving fast and we are aging. At present, we have four college graduates who worked for me as part-time weavers and I hope more young generation will join us in the future. I wish that centers for weaving will be established near universities in Benguet. It is one of my long-time dream.
Learning the art of weaving is not just a source of income but more importantly, will also make us aware, appreciate, and preserve our beautiful culture.
By Maxencia Pili, 65, Founder/ Owner, Kabayan Weaving
This article was shared exclusively with the Igorotage team.