Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Travel Baguio: Weaving my dreams into life with Easter Weaving's Indigenous Textiles

One of the places that I've always wanted to visit in Baguio was Easter Weaving. The weaving center was actually one of the reasons why I wanted to make a quick trip up north. So when my brother and I finally agreed on a date last October 2013, we went on our way to the summer capital of the Philippines. 

It was a long and winding road, despite getting on a late night trip via Victory Liner. But all the pangs of traveling on the road went away right after reaching our destination. Baguio was still as cold and as beautiful since the last time I visited the city, which was 5 years ago.

When Choy and I finally checked into our Baguio inn and after having breakfast, we traveled to Easter Weaving soon after. We already took an FX so that we'd be able to maximize our time in the city. And after a fast travel (took us about 10-15 on the road), we finally arrived at the weaving center. Seeing the place up close felt like being in a candy shop. I was that giddy excited to explore what the distinguished establishment had to offer.

When you enter the vicinity, the first thing that will greet you is the Easter Weaving shop. It's where all their products are stored and sold. But I didn't come there to buy their souvenir items. I was there to buy some of their indigenous fabrics, and to see how these Philippine textiles were being woven in real time. Fortunate for me, a group of ladies that were stationed in the basement were already interlacing new materials. 

I did not hesitate in approaching them. I even got to speak with some of the weavers, and they were able to accommodate me with their answers. But since the process of intertwining threads was a laborious one (just by the looks of it) --- and given the multitude of fiber strands to account for and the complexity of the pattern --- I momentarily paused my inquiries so that they wouldn't get distracted.

I was totally enamored with the whole weaving process. I mean, I always knew that it was a complicated thing to do. But it never occurred to me that interlacing a specific pattern with all the colors involved was that difficult. But the ladies that day never showed an inch of sweat or difficulty while they were crafting the design of their fabrics. They just kept at it. And I really felt their devotion and passion for creating such a remarkable and lovely artwork. And it is because of their efforts that I no longer questioned the price of the fabrics that they were selling. 

I was also impressed as to how fast they worked with their hands, and how they manually maneuvered the wooden machinery in front of them. They were able to weave such intricate designs, without getting the threads all tangled up (which was a rare moment).

I also loved the fact that UP's Sablay was also being created in Easter Weaving. I just felt so much pride in having worn one during my college graduation. I felt all the more honored just having worn something that was made out of a lot of effort and love. It's such a masterpiece for me.

I spent a good hour just watching the weavers do their work, and several more hours just choosing which fabrics to buy and to take home. I was actually relieved that my brother came with me. He stayed and never said a word, despite me spending so much time in just one area alone. I was glad that I felt his support. I mean, we came to Baguio for this reason alone --- as I really wanted to weave my 'dreams' into reality by simply using these indigenous fabrics (for a potential venture). So I was truly happy that my little brother did not bat an eyelash nor complained about waiting up too long. So in return for his time and support, I treated him to a hearty lunch at Cafe by the Ruins.

Anyhow, before paying for the fabrics, I got the chance to talk to one of the interns at the center (my apologies as I forgot her name). She was able to accompany me around the store, and was able to acquaint me with the different types of indigenous textiles. She was also patient enough to let me go around and choose the fabrics that I wanted to purchase. 

I actually see myself coming back to Easter Weaving, and buying more indigenous textiles from Baguio. I'm just so thankful that there are still a few Philippine artisans who are devoted to their work, and are committed into keeping our country's culture thriving. I'm definitely coming back to support such a wonderful cause and to continue empowering these remarkable weavers. Here's to traveling more with a great cause in mind! :)

Explore & Be Free!
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