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Project INABEL: Preserving culture, boosting livelihood in Carasi

One of the many prides of Ilocos Norte is the “inabel” or more popularly known as abel iloco which means handwoven cloth.
 
Considered as a Ilocano cultural treasure, it is still being manufactured and nurtured in the towns of Paoay, Sarrat, and Pinili to this day.
 
Abel weaver Magdalena Gamayo from Lumbaan, Pinili town was recognized and awarded as Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan or National Living Treasures in 2012.
 
She has since donated a portion of her family lot intended for the construction of the weaving center which will be facilitated by the provincial government.
 
Through the years, it has evolved from mere table runners, blankets, and pillowcases to innovative products such as bags, shoes, dresses, face masks and even home decors.
 
Now, inabel is more than just a souvenir.
 
We are seeing inabel in various fashion runways both in the national and international scenes, worn by celebrities on formal occasions, and used by some people as part of their everyday lives.

PROJECT INABEL. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Ilocos Norte conducts training on handloom weaving to Aken Loom Weavers of Carasi. (DOST)

With an aim to preserve this culture, the Department of Science and Technology-Provincial Science and Technology Office in Ilocos Norte has partnered with Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) to launch the project INABEL in Carasi town.
 
The project INABEL is known as “Innovations on Native Attires, Bracing, and Encouraging Livelihood,” which aims to provide livelihood opportunities to the people in the communities, especially those differently-abled individuals.
 
The said program of DOST is also geared toward preserving and promoting cultural identity of the indigenous peoples through weaving of ethnic attires.
 
Aken Loom Weavers of Carasi are the beneficiaries of this weaving project.
 
They were trained and equipped on the use of traditional handloom weaving equipment.
 

According to Jahmai Grande, DOST project assistant and focal person for the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST), “the first component of the project is called Panagabel which is training on the use of traditional handloom weaving equipment.”
 
During the training, Dr. Lawrence Eclarin, associate professor from MMSU and principal investigator of the Abel Iloko Project, discussed weaving and mathematics and taught the beneficiaries on formulating abel designs.
 
Meanwhile, Leonica Rico, a handicraft worker of the MMSU Loom Weaving Center, also led the participants in the hands-on application of the warping tool and the loom weaving machine.
 
To sustain this project and help the community for livelihood activities, weaving machines will be awarded to the local government of Carasi from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
 
Inabel is not just a handwoven cloth that continues to make a mark in the industry, but also a culture that weaves opportunities for livelihood among the Ilokano community. (JCR/AMB/MJTAB PIA Ilocos Norte)

About the Author

Ma. Joreina Therese Blanco

Writer

Region 1

Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco is an Information Officer II of the Philippine Information Agency Ilocos Norte Information Center based in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. She is currently the Information Center Manager of PIA Ilocos Norte.

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