Freeman Cebu Business

“Business as usual” for Bohol weavers

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Although there are home-based loom weavers in Inabanga, Bohol who have been evacuated due to the ongoing peace and order unrest, it’s "business as usual" for the loom weaving industry in the province, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) reported.

Asteria Caberte, DTI-Central Visayas regional director said loom weavers from Inabanga’s 50 barangays are now working at the loom-weaving facility in Tubigon town.

Caberte assured that the weavers’ livelihood  has not been disrupted due to the disorder, in fact, the weavers are finishing a bulk order from a French buyer.

“The industry is not affected, although we are still verifying reports of some families from the war zone who have yet to resume their livelihood,”  Caberte said in an interview yesterday.

Aside from tourism, Bohol is also the cradle of loom weaving industry in the Visayas. In fact, it is a beneficiary of the  United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Inabanga's raffia-made crafts have gained momentum and are now recognized worldwide. Tapped as the town’s most distinctive product under the DTI’s One Town One Product (OTOP) Philippines program, it is hailed as Region VII’s most promising crafts industry.

Under the supervision of the Inabanga OTOP Center, with the help of DTI and other national government agencies, the products have obtained markets in the U.S. Mainland, Japan, Hawaii and E.U. with Manila and Cebu as gateways. New markets include the former Russian Federation, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Loom weaving has been the most important cottage industry in Inabanga since Hispanic times. Most of the womenfolk were engaged in this trade while the men concentrated on trading, fishing and farming. The women were noted for the weaving of saguran, mats, blankets, hats, bags, baskets and even of nipa thatches.

Finished products then were sold locally as well as in Cebu and other neighboring islands. During the Dagohoy uprising, woven cloths were made into uniforms for resistance fighters. Through the years the weaving industry evolved although resulting products were used mostly as drying mats for rice and corn.

Reportedly, there are close to 2,000 individuals engaged in home-based raffia loom weaving   in Inabanga. There are 525 plant-based weavers who can produce 1,050 rolls and 26,250 placemats per week.

Last week, a gunfight between government troops and suspected members of Mindanao-based Abu Sayyaf ensued in the town and displaced some civilians. (FREEMAN)  


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