History remembers Ibaan as the ‘Kulambo Capital of the Philippines’, home of ‘kulambo’ or mosquito nets skillfully woven by the hands of local women as a way to pass the time while tending to their children at home.
Habing Ibaan is a centuries-old craft that was passed onto generations, from mother to daughter.
It placed the town of Ibaan on the map way back in the 1800’s, when local women started producing almost ninety percent of mosquito nets sold in the country.
Centuries later, the Municipal Government of Ibaan is attempting to revive the dying art of weaving with the help of a group of women of the SM Sunrise Weaving Association.
Formed in 2017, the SM Sunrise Weaving Association has been keeping the handweaving tradition of Ibaan, Batangas alive, proving the power of women to preserve their community’s cultural fabric.
This group of remarkable women is currently led by its president, Mrs. Remedios Valencia.
Growing up in Ibaan, ‘Tita Remy’ –as she is fondly called in her community–started her love for weaving after seeing her mother and grandmother sitting in their loom to provide food for her family.
Starting a group of artisans proved to be a challenging task, as Tita Remy recalled the days when their earnings went as low as P20.
Despite the financial struggles, the women of SM Sunrise Weaving Association remained dedicated to their craft. Within a few hours of sitting in their handlooms, they can produce up to five yards of handwoven fabric.
With the help of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Municipal Government of Ibaan, SM Sunrise Weaving Association grew from a small group of women into an organization recognized by the government and loved by the people.
With the Municipal Government’s utmost support, the SM Sunrise Weaving Association was able to showcase their work through government-sponsored fashion shows, trade fairs, and expositions.
In 2018, DOST CALABARZON gave them handloom weaving technology while DOST Batangas later on helped them register with the Department of Labor and Employment to be recognized as an artisan group.
The DOST textile research and development arm, the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), plays an active role in providing seminars, training and exposure to exhibits to help enrich their craft.
With their help, SM Sunrise Weaving Association grew from a small group of women sharing the same hobbies, into the Regional Handloom Weaving Innovation Center and the very first weaving community in the Calabarzon region.
At 59 years old, Tita Remy admitted that she was hoping to pass their handweaving tradition just like her mother and grandmother before her.
Her only hope was that the municipal government would launch livelihood trainings on handweaving so the younger generation can learn their local craft and preserve their culture for posterity.
“Sana ay makasama ito sa mga vocational course para mabuksan ang isip ng kabataan na huwag dapat mawala ang paghahabi,”