The “House of Inabel” by Magdalena Gamayo was launched in the town of Pinili in Ilocos Norte recently to preserve and strengthen the Ilocano weaving tradition called “pinagabel” in the local dialect.
Dr. Joven Cuanang, one of the founders of the House of Inabel, said Gamayo is a National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCAA)-recognized living treasure for her wide array skills in textile weaving.
Cuanang said Gamayo’s nationally-acclaimed inabel, a hand-woven textile done on traditional wooden looms using local weaving techniques, will be housed in this renovated Spanish style brick house.
“The House of Inabel which will also provide a space for abel weavers and their products was launched to engage people, especially young individuals, to learn the tradition of Ilocano weaving and to ensure sustainability of the Inabel industry,” he said.
Also an active supporter of Barangay Lumbaan Weavers Association (BLWA), Cuanang has been encouraging schools, organizations, private sectors and even local government units (LGUs) to utilize inabel products for making uniforms and other types of clothing.
“The project also aims to create products which are organic, ecologically sensitive and handcrafted by people,” Cuanang said.
Still active in abel making at her age of 93, Gamayo said she is happy that finally there will be a permanent establishment where their inabel products—known for its good designs and durability—can be displayed.
“I am so grateful that we were given an establishment wherein we can showcase our products,” Gamayo said.
She said that from three weavers, there are now 16 weavers in their barangay, including a 13-year-old girl named Arabela Gampong.
Governor Imee Marcos of Ilocos Sur said with the provincial government’s advocacy to uphold Ilocano cultural heritage, she fully supports the House of Inabel.
“The House of Inabel is a way to boost the tourism industry and livelihood of the locals,” Marcos said.
In her 2016 State of the Province Address, the governor pledged to create more public spaces in the province to provide avenues for strengthening communal ties.
“We will make Ilocos Norte livable, sustainable and resilient by creating more public spaces where Ilocanos can exercise their creativity while upholding their own culture,” Marcos said.
LEANDER C. DOMINGO