Preserving the Fading Threads of the Abra Abel

Abra Abel

Abra, a former  Ilocos town, now among the provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR),  has a rich texture of social, political and cultural history.  Abreños are largely Tingguians and Ilocanos.

The centuries-old impaod (backstrap) weaving and its many forms, developed through rituals and dreams, are so much a piece of history of the people (Itnegs) of the Tineg River. Pinaing is the goddess of  the women weavers who were taught to weave at the age of ten.

Nana Norma

Norma Agaid with a hand-embroidered ritual tapis.

With pride and flame, nana Norma Gintengan Agaid, an Itneg native (internationally referred to as Tingguian) of Abra, speaks about the traditional craft she inherited from ancestors, “It’s the only thing I can pass down to my children and their children.”

The Tingguian colors are predominantly muted. Natural dyes such as malatayum plant (for indigo) were prominent in the designs of the olden days.

White sinugkitan  is worn to signify mourning.

Tingguian Tapis and Lace

A lace-edged slip underneath the tapis signifies wealth, according to nana Norma.

Piningitan edging such as tinulbek (tulbek ti biag) symbolizes life.


An Ilocano pagablan (loom).

The Abra abel of today are based on traditional pinilian (sampaga, python, river and horse patterns), dinapat (a special seamless weave), and binakol (op art weave like kosikos). The pastel and livelier  motifs are influenced by the times.

The ethnic handwoven fabric comes in the forms of traditional garments, blankets, scarves, table covers and many more. Special designs can be ordered from the remaining indigenous loom weavers in Abra.

Impaod FabricPinilian FabricAbra Binakol ScarfImpaod Weavers

Namarabar Ethnic Crafts and Antiques, Namarabar, Peñarrubia, Abra, Philippines
Maria Librada M. Donato
CP Nos.: 0905 2422069 / 0921 4359173
Zita M. Benabese
CP Nos.: 0905 5036515 / 0920 5437921

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

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