Loren Legarda exalts indigenous artistry
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2012 - 12:00am

Congratulations to Sen. Loren Legarda on her launching of the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines at the SMX convention center last week. The exhibition was held to celebrate Indigenous People’s Month “with the hope of solving one of the greatest threats to Filipino indigenous artistry — extinction brought about by apathy.”

The exhibition, Legarda said, “aims to tell the stories of indigenous communities through the intricate processes of weaving that were passed on by their ancestors. It also reveals the passion for learning, creating, and educating of master weavers and culture bearers of different indigenous groups.”

And what a story the exhibition made. Across the hall, women from various Philippine tribes wearing their colourful garb demonstrated weaving traditions like the B’laan tradition of mother-of-pearl beaded tribal wear and the T’Boli tradition of producing beaded belts where sequin, brass bells and beadwork are applied. Also featured were the intricate embroidery traditions of IP communities such as the T’Boli traditional cross-stitching in Mindanao and the panubok embroidery tradition of the Panay Bukidnon in the Visayas.

“Weaving is not merely a pastime or a livelihood activity because each thread signifies the values of diligence, patience, hard work, and love for culture that these indigenous communities continue to embrace and live by,” she said.

“This is an exhibition aimed at showcasing our rich and colorful heritage through the Schools of Living Traditions (SLT), a program I supported to ensure that indigenous techniques on textile-weaving, basket-making, beadwork and embroidery are passed on to the next generation,” Legarda said.

Legarda has supported the development of cultural villages of the Ata-Talaingod, Mandaya, B’laan, and Bagobo Tagabawa in various activities of their SLTs, which teach the young generation the traditional arts, crafts, music and practices of the village.

The Hibla Pavilion showcased several traditions of SLTs in the country. It exhibited the Ivatan and Gaddang traditional weaving, Antique abaca/bariw mat weaving, Iraya Mangyan traditional nito basketry, Hanunuo Mangyan weaving, Panay Bukidnon panubok embroidery, Subanen pulaw weaving, Ekam Maguindanao mat weaving, Ata Talaingod liyang weaving, T’Boli tinalak weaving and B’laan mewel weaving.

The Hibla Pavilion was a highlight of the Manila FAME Design and Lifestyle Event 2012, held last week at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.

Prior to the Pavilion, Legarda had set up several cultural exhibits at the Senate that showcased the exceptional skills and world-class products of IPs.

She also authored the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law of 2004, which mandated the use of indigenous fibers for the official uniforms of government officials and employees, with the objective of strengthening the local fiber industry.

Last year, she organized regional assemblies — in Baguio City for Luzon IPs, in Iloilo City for Visayas IPs, and in Tagum City, Davao del Norte for Mindanao IPs — and the First National Indigenous Cultural Summit that served as avenues for dialogue with local and national policy-makers as well as international institutions.

This year, Legarda launched the country’s first permanent textile galleries called the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles, organized the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, and sponsored the documentation of indigenous knowledge systems and practices in the Cordilleras. 

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Seven months after it opened successfully at The Street in Alabang Town Center, P.F. Chang’s has expanded its traditional Chinese menu to include Flavors of Asia, dishes inspired by different regions of China, combined with reinvented favorites from Korea, Japan, Singapore and the Philippines.

There’s Sichuan Chicken flatbread, an Asian-style quesadilla with grilled chicken strips and melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses. These are served in homemade scallion dough pancakes with Asian cole slaw and a fiery dipping sauce.

Then there’s Dragon wings — an appetizer — or it can be a main dish — of crispy chicken wings smothered in flaming Korean Chili and Mongolian Sweet Sauce. The recipe, according to P.F. Chang’s CEO Archie Rodriguez, is a take-off from our Philippine chicken wings, and has been approved by the mother organization P.F. Chang’s which is based in the US.

At a lunch for media editors and writers, Archie had us served Northern Style Spare Ribs, a bunch of wok-braised ribs from Peking, served with P.F. Chang’s five-spice salt rub. Another dish introduced was the Salt and Pepper Calamari from the Canton region of China, prepared with red chilli pepper and garlic sauce.

From the traditional menu, we had samples of the desserts that are just great. Great wall of Chocolate, Banana Spring Rolls served with pineapple ice cream (the ice cream an exclusive recipe of P.F. Chang’s and imported from the US no less), and Mango Cream Cheese Wontons.

Aside from Flavors of Asia, the restaurant is now offering Cheers!, their version of the Happy Hour, which offers cocktails and appetizers at special prices from 4 p.m. onwards Monday to Friday. Plus Lunch Meals of P. F. Chang’s Chinese dishes complete with rice and refillable Coke.

Lunch was memorable — because of the food, and the amiable personality of Archie, whose company, Global Restaurant Concepts, Inc., formed with good friends of his, is the local partner of P.F. Chang’s. Global Restaurant has franchises of California Pizza and Morellis, and will be opening by December, new brands like the Japanese Gyu Kaku, and the Italian Mad for Garlic. These Global enterprises keep Archie, 41, on his feet. Plus, two more P.F. Chang’s are opening — one in Global City, and another in Binondo. The Binondo location is exciting — imagine opening a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown! But Archie is sure the new venture will succeed , because the 400 P.F.Chang’s found in various parts of the world are known for quality food (“We serve only the most fresh meats and ingredients, no preservatives whatsoever.”) and service.

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Former Health Secretary Jaime Galvez Tan, MD, will conduct a wellness seminar at Flor’s Garden on November 10, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The topic will be “Bentosa, Tapik-Kawayan at Halamang Gamot” — Filipino traditional methods of healing. Each participant should bring a malong or sarong, and at least six drinking glasses with non-sharp edges for the bentosa. Flor’s Garden is at Sitio Tanza 2, Barangay San Jose, Antipolo. For reservations or inquiries, call Fely at 6356092 or 09195567121.

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A three-day seminar on intensive microbial organic farming and natural piggery and poultry will be held at Gil Carandang’s breezy Herbana Farms at km. Burol, Calamba City. Nov. 9-11. Learn how to grow more food on less land, culture beneficial microbes and organic fertilizers, and to raise pigs and chickens with no foul odor, antibiotics and hormones. Cost including food (with vegetables and herbs plucked from Herbana gardens) and bunkbed accommodations, P7,000. Call Gil at 09292698602 or log on to www.herbanafarm.org

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Guyabano with lemon grass in cute tea bags made by Domini’s Kitchen are available at Gil Carandang’s vegetable stall at the Saturday Magallanes Market, Salcedo Village, Makati.  Guyabano is claimed to have beneficial effects on the body, which is why many health bugs are drinking the tea upon rising and before going to bed, or even at meryenda time.

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My e-mail:dominitorrevillas@gmail.com


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