ILOILO City – The National Museum Western Visayas Regional Museum and Satellite Office opened on Saturday an exhibit on weaving and embroidery traditions and an extensive guide on the history of the textile industry in Region 6.
Now open for public viewing at the regional museum’s Gallery III, “Habol Panay: The Woven Artistry of Western Visayas” is an offshoot of “Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles” at the National Museum of Anthropology in Manila.
“‘Habol Panay’ presents Panay’s history of weaving, highlighting the works of masters of the different communities of the island – particularly in Aklan, Iloilo and my home province of Antique – as tangible representations of craftsmanship passed on by our ancestors and continuously being embraced by our communities,” Sen. Loren Legarda said in the keynote speech read by a representative at the opening.
One of the main proponents of the original “Hibla” permanent textile gallery in Manila, Legarda was involved in the research and development of “Habol Panay.”
The “Habol Panay” gallery illustrates how weaving in Panay Island evolved based on successive historical developments that connects and reconnects them to neighboring islands within and outside the region by means of trade, partnerships, and use of indigenous and adopted materials, designs, patterns, and technology.
It has three sections. The first provides an overview through maps of fiber sources and weaving, embroidery and lace-making centers in Western Visayas, as well as abaca, cotton, pineapple, and mulberry herbaria collections, and raw materials used in textile production.
The second shows the historical and cultural contexts of habol, the term used by early Visayans to refer to weaving, woven cloth, blanket or skirt, and the loom for textile production.
The third features how weaving, embroidery and lace-making traditions were revived and sustained through initiatives from communities, concerned manufacturers, designers, and government agencies.
The National Museum Western Visayas Regional Museum and Satellite Office on Bonifacio Drive is the renovated old Iloilo provincial jail.
On April 11 when the Iloilo provincial government turned it over to the National Museum, the edifice was declared an “important cultural property.”
The 868-square meter old provincial jail was established in 1911. It was vacated in 2006; the provincial government built a modern jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo.
The Regional Museum is preparing to launch the following galleries but the corresponding dates have yet to be set:
* Gallery I – Geological and Paleontological Exhibition Hall
* Gallery II – Flora and Fauna of Western Visayas
* Gallery IV – Intangible Cultural Heritage of Western Visayas’ Indigenous Peoples
* Gallery V – Archaeological Sites and Collection./PN