Weaving center opens in Ilocos as nat’l living treasure turns 99

A new weaving center in Barangay Lumbaan here was formally inaugurated on Sunday, in time for the 99th birthday celebration of this province's National Living Treasure (Manlilikha ng Bayan). Magdalena Gamayo, a master weaver who hails from the cotton farming village of Lumbaan-Bicbica in this town, marked the occasion with her family and provincial, municipal, and village officials. The nonagenarian received the lifetime National Living Treasure award in 2012, the highest honor given to an artisan, craftsman or folk artist for her remarkable contribution to the traditional weaving industry that has inspired the entire Ilokano community. Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba of the Second District of Ilocos Norte greeted Gamayo, who is popularly called Nana Dalen, with a bouquet of flowers. 'It is with pride and honor that we celebrate the life and works of Nana Magdalena Gamayo to further inspire the younger generation,' said Barba. Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc also greeted Gamayo through a Facebook post, saying, 'Your artistic threads have woven a tapestry of inspiration, and as a National Living Treasure, your legacy as a master weaver is woven into the very fabric of our cultural heritage.' Gamayo is well-loved by the community here, having taught younger weavers to master the craft of "inabel" weaving. Inabel is a fabric made of cotton that is popular for its softness, beautiful designs and strength. To keep the Ilocano weaving tradition alive, Gamayo donated a portion of her family-owned lot to the provincial government of Ilocos Norte for the construction of the Pinili Inabel Center, next to her old house. Xavier Ruiz, senior provincial tourism officer, said the center will become an added attraction to tourists, particularly those who are arts and textile enthusiasts. 'It's a beautiful structure fit for a National Living Treasure,' said Ruiz as the Ilocos Norte government through its provincial tourism office spearheaded the inauguration of the new building in collaboration with the office of Barba, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the local government of Pinili. Meanwhile, officials and residents of Ilocos Norte are mourning the death of Charito Esposo Cabulisan Cariaga, a weaver-entrepreneur who had also kept the province's inabel weaving industry alive. Cariaga's family said she suffered a mild stroke on May 12 and her health deteriorated since then. She passed away on Friday at the age of 82. Her body lies at the Cariaga family home in Nagbacalan, Paoay, Ilocos Norte. 'Ilocos Norte mourns the loss of Charito Cariaga, a Paoay Isabel weaver who is the chairperson of Nagbacalan Loomweavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative. She kept the inabel weaving art alive through her looming cooperative which she started with just 13 original weavers of Nagbacalan,' Senator Imee Marcos said in her Facebook post.

Source: Philippines News Agency