Ilocos Norte launches ‘House of Inabel’, strengthens local textile industry

LAOAG CITY – Aiming to preserve and strengthen the Ilocano weaving tradition called pinagabel, an establishment called House of Inabel by Magdalena Gamayo was launched last December 26 at Pinili, Ilocos Norte.

A Spanish style brick house had been renovated to provide a space for abel weavers and their products, including Gamayo’s nationally-acclaimed inabel, a hand-woven textile done on traditional wooden looms using weaving techniques.

Magdalena Gamayo is a national living treasure recognized by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts for her wide array of skills in textile weaving.

The ‘House of Inabel’ was launched to engage people, especially young individuals, to learn the tradition of Ilocano weaving and to ensure sustainability of the Inabel industry.

Dr. Joven Cuanang, one of the founders of the House of Inabel and active supporter of Barangay Lumbaan Weavers Association, has been encouraging schools, organizations, private sectors and even local government units (LGUs) to utilize inabel products as uniforms and primary source of clothing, since inabel is known for its good designs and durability.

“The aim of this project is to create products which are organic, ecologically sensitive, and handcrafted by people,” Cuanang said.

Gamayo, who at age 93 is still active in abel weaving, expressed her happiness that finally there is a permanent establishment where their products can be displayed.

“I am grateful that we were given an establishment wherein we can showcase our products,” Gamayo stated as she announced that from three weavers, there are now 16 weavers in their barangay, including a 13-year-old girl named Arabela Gampong.

With its goal to uphold the Ilocano cultural heritage, the provincial government of llocos Norte has pledged to support the ‘House of Inabel’ as it is a way to boost the tourism industry and livelihood of the locals.

In her SOPA 2016, Governor Imee Marcos pledged to create more public spaces in the province to provide avenue for strengthening communal ties.

“We will make Ilocos Norte “livable, sustainable and resilient” by creating more public spaces where Ilocanos can exercise their creativity while upholding their own culture,” Marcos said. (From a report of Ma. Rhona Ysabel B. Daoang, PGIN-CMO)