MINDANAO has been known for its rich natural resources and diverse culture.
To say rich, maybe, is an understatement.
Mindanao always rises above when it comes to weaving, its women are known for their expertise and intricacy in weaving fabrics and garments.
There's the Tnalak dreamweavers of the T'boli tribe from South Cotabato and the Dagmay weavers of the Mandayas in Davao Oriental.
But little has been told about the weaving of Inaul in Maguindanao.
Inaul is a woven unique fabric and garment manually and meticulously woven mostly by Maguindanaon women weavers since 1920s by the Royal Houses, specifically by the princesses.
Inaul is also a Maguindanaon word for “woven.” Maguindanao has some 300 women weavers creating Inaul.
To promote Inaul, the province of Maguindanao with the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and Department of Tourism launched the Inaul Festival last 2017.
For the second year of the Inaul Festival, which will run from February 5 to 14 in Buluan, the organizers will highlight the weavers of the regal fabric through trainings.
“We want to highlight and push the women weavers, we want to give them the support they deserve. With this year’s festival, we will also revive traditional art and cultural performances,” DOT-Armm secretary Ayesha Mangudadatu-Dilangalen said.
Some of these activities are Palamata Nu Maguindanao, Kapaginaul Weaving competition, Alugan sa Maguindanao, Kambayuka exhibition, among others.
The organizers are eyeing for a 10 percent to 15 percent increase in tourist arrivals this year as compared to last year’s festival that drew some 40,000 visitors.
She said the focus is inviting more local tourists to visit the festival.
This year, Dilangalen said, Inaul festival, does not only involves Maguindanao but the entire Armm.
“Hindi lang ang Maguindanao ang magcecelebrate ng festival but the whole Armm is supporting it. It is a call for Mindanao to appreciate our fabrics. Also, we are for the protection and preservation of the Inaul’s authentic designs,” she said.
This year's theme, "A fabric of Peace: Weaving Diversity, Connecting Boundaries".
With the promotion, the inaul fabric is starting to gain interest and popularity from other parts of the country as its demand is increasing.
Now that the fabric has been introduced and is well-embraced by the public, the challenge now is how to meet the demand while maintaining the unique and intricate design of Inaul.