ILOILO -- The industry for “hablon” is slowly dying and the only way for it to survive a demand-driven competitive market is through innovation.
Derived from the Hiligaynon word “habol” or to weave, hablon refers to both the process of weaving and the finished products.
The province is used to be the leading center of textile in the country in late 18th century and the industry didn’t develop since then, according to ECHOSi Foundation president Jeannie Javelosa.
“Hablon has been dead in a way in the market because it hasn’t been innovated. Innovation is not only changing the color of the thread. It also means changing the thread,” she pointed out.
Javelosa was here on July 10 to turn over the swatch book for Cabayogan Women Loomweavers Association in Badiangan, Indag-an Primary Multipurpose Cooperative in Miagao, Salngan Livelihood Multipurpose Cooperative, Buray Looms and Knots and Balai Hablon in Oton.
The swatch book is the result of ECHOSi Foundation’s product development initiatives to innovate design, technical inputs and market access directions.
During the ceremony, Javelosa added that weavers have to also change the variables of producing hablon starting from materials, equipment, and the very structure of the weaving centers.
ECHOSi Foundation, in partnership with Great Women Philippines Corporation, is now working with the provincial government and private companies to help weavers modernize and internationalize hablon.
Javelosa said the five weaving centers in the province have to follow international standards to ensure product quality.
The foundation will also partner with the Liter of Light Foundation to install solar light panels and other green technologies in these centers to make it “green” or eco-friendly.
It also seeks to develop Oton’s weaving and embroidery-sewing as one-stop-shop to make it more accessible and it will train weavers in re-engineering of hand looms.
ECHOsi Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization focused on enabling community eco-systems to address sustainability issues that impact the environment, sustainable livelihood, and the empowerment of women’s groups, marginalized groups and cultural communities.
The acronym “ECHOsi” stands for Empowering Communities with Hope and Opportunities through Sustainable Initiatives. (Jezza A. Nepomoceno)