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Science Infused into Revival of Philippine Traditional Textiles PDF Print E-mail
Science Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro offers a portfolio of upgraded and optimized natural dye technologies developed by the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) to assist weavers of traditional fabrics across the Philippines.

Sec. Alabastro made the announcement as she delivered the keynote address at the recently concluded International Conference on Business Opportunities for Natural Fibers, the highlight of the 2nd ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Associations' (AHPADA) International Arts and Crafts Expo held at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City.

EFA with Dr. Gabor

DOST Sec. Estrella F. Alabastro (second from left) receives
a token of appreciation from Dr. Mina T. Gabor (right), president, AHPADA.
Also, in the photo are (from left) Khun Surapee Rojanavongse,
honorary chair, AHPADA, and Dr. Carlos C. Tomboc, director, PTRI.

As the Department of Science and Technology's lead agency in textile research and development, PTRI promotes the use of indigenous resources and supports the development of technical competence in the local textile and allied industries.

PTRI researchers carefully consider the traditional dyeing methods of each community, according to the secretary. "The technologies being offered are not meant to replace the traditional techniques but to enhance the communities' productivity while maintaining the integrity of their textile and dyeing practices," she explained.

Plant-based dyes are now used to give life to the monotone color of pineapple yarns and fibers before weaving for a collection of all-naturally dyed textiles. De La Cruz House of Piña, an Aklan-based weaving company benefited from the technology, which made the business the only weaving company selling 100 percent naturally dyed pineapple, pineapple-silk, and abaca fabrics.

Skills of indigenous communities in the south got a boost from the training courses conducted in Mindanao. PTRI researchers provided technical assistance in bleaching and natural dyeing to the dream-weavers of South Cotabato. The technology equipped the people to diversify tinalak using abaca fibers. Weavers from Maguindanao were also assisted in replacing rayon with naturally dyed silk yarns for inaul to improve its quality and enhance its value. Natural dye technologies were also transferred to the Higaonons of Bukidnon and Agusan del Norte to weave the hinabol, a fabric that was worth the peace and reconciliation with a rival tribe.

Up north, weavers of the cotton-based industry of abel in Ilocos and tiniri in Abra adopted a technology in blending pineapple, abaca, or banana with cotton. The technology has produced a "Filipinized" cotton fabric, termed as such because of the tropical fibers it contains.

In south Luzon, weavers from Lumban, Laguna pioneered the use of naturally dyed silk yarns as threads for hand and machine embroideries.

Naturally dyed Philippine tropical fabrics have also entered the export market, with clients from the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Europe (Arlene R. Obmerga, S&T Media Service)
Philippine Textile Research Institute