Nana Dalen: Sunshine Through the Rain

Passing On the Masrtery of A Craft

Indigenous abel weaver Magdalena Gamayo was awarded a Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan or National Living Treasures Award in 2012. Torrents of rain poured down from dark skies before we reach her village in Pinili. A tiny structure made of concrete blocks with a signage came into view when I made up my mind to head home to Laoag and visit the weaver some other time.

MotionDimPinili Weavers

She had attended Sunday service at a church. Took the opportunity to ask about her from her students and apprentices, including her 11 year-old granddaughter, Arabella. Turning 92 in August, Nana Dalen, as they call her, goes to the center everyday and persists on teaching newer generations everything about the craft she has mastered, against the shriveling popularity of locally handmade textiles.

Magdalena GamayoAwarded by no less than President Aquino in 2012.

I had visited various abel loom weaving communities in Ilocos and Abra. Most of Nana Dalen’s designs I’ve never seen before. Inubon a sabong (string of flower) best illustrates her masterful art. At the age of 16, her skills on the loom were honed by her aunt.

Abel de PiniliAbel de PiniliAbel WeaverAbel de PiniliTawa-tawa, binalbalatong, sinukitan are among her designs.ArabellaInabelYoung WeaverLola Dalen

The rains stop. Nana Dalen arrives. The unassuming lady obliges for a photo-op. She smiles as she recalls the days when she fashioned her own fabric into a pandiling (long skirt). She brings out a collection of various antique skirts that look not quite too old.

Her students wish for their own cotton tree farm, a wider space perhaps and more pagablan for others.

More essential than the recognition that was bestowed upon her, she has inspired others to preserve a threatened tradition.

Manlilikha ng Bayan Weaving Center

To reach Mrs. Magdalena Gamayo or the Manlilikha ng Bayan Weaving Center, text or call: 0909 7596885.

Photographed by BlauEarth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

MODi | Tina

The Tina pouches

This is so difficult to post. Okay let me start. The cosmetic pouch in playful orange and calming blues and Ilocano binakol put together is named Tina. Tina is the writer of BlauEarth, this blog.

BlauEarth and the Tina cosmetic pouch                                               screenshot


It was a complete surprise to be tagged in a post by the owner of MODi, the line of fashion items inspired by the modern Ilocano. Humbled and grateful. Got two Tinas from MODi last night. Kept them in a safe place as of this writing.

Doubly happy to be part of something that helps sustain the fading tradition of inabel. Manang Cion Padayao would have been very kilig. Thank you MODi.

MODi is available at Red Dot, Cafe Bonita and the MODi stall in Robinsons Ilocos Norte.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

OOTD: Filipiniana with a twist

Ilocano Inabel

The dress code at the 5th National Tour Guides Convention farewell dinner in Cagayan de Oro read regional dress. A professional tour guide spells more fun in the Philippines, so I opted to wear inabel in a modern design, something I can wear to the streets when the event is over. Ericke helped me figure out this jumpsuit that I see getting cropped soon to wear with flat sandals or even sneakers. I’ll be recycling the re-embroidered cocoon shrug for a more formal event. At the end of the day, it was worth asking Loejai Lopez to make me this suit. He has an eye for details so I gave him the green light to design the shrug. It’s not that I’m picky, but I prefer not too serious and complicated fashion. I was actually inspired by the white top and denim uniform. It’s a tradition that never leaves us, Ilocanos or not.

katukong ken abel

Carlo Caldito, The Ilocos Heritage Guide, was the escort of all the Ilocanas in our group. He was wearing his signature katukong and a barong by Tata Meng of His Tailoring. I had so much fun with Lis of Parklane Hotel, tour guides Ena and Hembee, also with animated new friends like Kyle Jennermann aka Kulas, the inspiring Canadian who wants to be part of the Filipino culture through his #becomingfilipino project and members of GAMA like Jan Seriosa.

GAMAIlocanasFilipinianaThe feathered outfit was inspired by native garb dating back to before the arrival of Magellan in the south.

Philippine ColorsCocoon ShrugRouge VolupteHad to get dressed and do my makeup in less than 30 minutes. The YSL Rouge Volupte Rose Neillia was magic. Btw, YSL lippies are now available at Red Dot. Found the vintage satin clutch in the closet. The Guess heels are basically old as well.

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

Sustaining the fading craft of inabel: AVA works with Tweetie de Leon

In Ilocos, only a handful of inabel master weavers remain. To help keep the age-old tradition awake, online retail platform AVA has collaborated with Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez in creating a handwoven inabel travel-theme collection, infused with culture, identity and history of the Filipino people, accentuating the belief that heritage should be worn on the sleeve.

AVA brings the 100% Filipino design and ingenuity to the global scene through Kicstarter. The particular anti-fast fashion is a marriage of traditional and modern aesthetic.

Please read more about the artisanal inabel collection (here) and support the future of the inabel fabric.

Weaving 101: The warp is the tightly stretched lengthwise core of a fabric while the weft is the horizontal thread woven between the warped threads to create and define an emerging pattern., Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez, striking a pose with her very own Inabel Weekender Bag

WEEKENDER BAG (23x10x15 inches)PASSPORT SLEEVE (4x6 inches)Inabel Travel RobeKICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE: LIMITED EDITION COTTON SHAWLInabel pocketed V-neck shirt
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014