WEAVING WITH LOVE - THE HABLON
WHEN the Spaniards set foot in Panay, they discovered that the natives were wearing fabrics of different colors and design. These were Hablon, from the Hiligaynon word “habol” meaning “to weave.” The early Panayanons had been very good at the craft, trading the handwoven cloth to Chinese and other merchants.
Habol was an emerging industry then as the cloth is exported both abroad and local markets. Centered mostly in Iloilo, there were also weaving in other provinces in Panay but in Aklan the weavers concentrated on the pineapple-derived cloth called “pinya.” By the latter half of the 19th century hablon was one of the major exports of Iloilo.
Towards the 1880s, however, as a result of Iloilo becoming a sugar entrepot in Western Visayas with the opening of its port to international trade, the weaving industry lost its primary importance.
Furthermore, the Hablon industry and weavers are thriving due to commercialization of textiles and cheaper machine-made cotton goods entered the Philippine market and competed heavily with the local textile materials, resulting to the decline of the hablon industry.
As of today, Estilo Etniko works closely together with Hablon weavers to help promote and preserve the culture and art of traditional weaving and empower the small village of women weavers in Iloilo by recreating the lovely textile into modern aesthetic and promote the product globally.
We believe Hablon will not fade away as we work together - our efforts, concepts and more consumers to support ethical and sustainable products will sustain the cloth into the future.