Friday, August 1, 2008

Get World-class Bohol Native Bags

Written By Leo Udtohan

"We're ready for export," enthused Inabanga Mayor Jose Jono Jumamoy who headed the Team Inabanga raffia fashion show last Friday, July 25.

People who witnessed the show appreciated the raffia products which are collections of bags, belt, hat, wallet, roman shade, window blind, door curtain, lampshade, wall art, cushions, seminar kits, buri berry stools, lei, wine holder, envelope, placemats, table runner, chair cover, and even the material cloth used in paintings, etc, perfectly shown in the show with different designs, shapes and colors. Aside from the raffia products, models showed how the raffia ideally suited for casual attire, gown, barong tagalong, etc.

The loomweaving industry in the Inabanga was introduced in the 1800s and dates back to the time of Francisco Dagohoy, the leader of the longest running Philippine revolt against the Spanish Colonizers in 1781 – 1883. The woven fabrics then were used as uniforms of the "indios" up against the Spaniards and as sleeping mats.

This industry utilizes raffia fibers taken from the unopened buri (corypha elata roxb.) leaf and made into woven fabrics using 2 – 6 harness wooden handlooms.

During the Second World War, due to the dearth of fabrics, woven raffia was used as military uniforms by the local resistance movement. In the 1950's it evolved as mats for drying rice and corn by the farmers. In the 70s it evolved as house wares and table tops.

This time, with the fusion of other indigenous materials and design innovations, woven raffia fabrics have been converted to lifestyle products.

The increasing demand for the use of biodegradable and environment compatible woven raffia fabrics in the international market necessitates the furtherance of awareness on the part of the weaving communities in the countryside for them to strengthen and expand their production base and improve product quality.

On the other hand, it is incumbent upon the industry stakeholders to inform and announce to the consumer sector to include institutional buyers, exporters and sub contractors that Inabanga has the production capacity, variety of product lines and the quality standard they can rely upon.

While every product is different, the Inabanga-based products have successfully created a look that make them identifiable and is done by those of tarsier and flowers designed that serves as a trademark. 

The products have gone around the world, bought by foreigners and balikbayans as souvenirs and other specialty shops in Cebu and Manila. Celebrities including Angelina Jolie were spotted in New York City wearing a bag from Inabanga.