A Soft Spot for Burbur Abel

Bata de Baño

As fabrics have gone high tech, towels and blankets have become more sophisticated. Is there room for burbur in today’s homes?

Burbur is a type of abel that is loom-woven in Paoay. It resembles bath towel fabric, hence the name which is a term you’d describe a furry dog. The designs of burbur are much more simple.


The abel of yesteryears were made of pure cotton. The fabric is course and stiff, but gets softer with time. A burbur blanket is exceptionally heavy when wet, so that in the olden days, the manangs had the whole river to wash blankets and they’d leave them on the rocks to dry.

Most of the abel blankets today are not 100 percent cotton. Custom orders can be made however. The old tradition of spooling natural kapas (cotton) fibers is a tedious process, so loomweavers prefer China threads purchased in Divisoria.

Burbur BlanketsBurbur Blanket

On a random visit to the Pagablan in Paoay, what struck me were the burbur blankets, towels and even bata de baño (bathrobe). My last memory of a burbur bata de baño was on a classmate, during one of those Christmas tableaus. We still have our old sturdy blankets from my nanny. The owner’s name is part of the weave, so each piece is really special.

If you’re used to the texturized feel of burbur, it’s not easy parting with it.

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