The New Year in Philippine Textile
How else to celebrate a birthday in Christmas than with family and friends by tracing the thread of the past which leads back to a simpler and more meaningful life.
The first stop was an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn in Clark Field, Pampanga to prepare for a 10-hour drive to Ilocos Norte. Dinner and margaritas at the nearby Café Mesa was excellent as expected.
While our 2-vehicle convoy anticipated the Christmas rush and the need to stop for biological needs, leaving early did not help that much. The municipal government in several towns disregarded this annual tradition and continued their road rehabilitation projects on the National Highway. This added to 2 more butt-painful hours on the road and the need to stretch legs became more frequent.
Nonetheless, Sitio Remedios Heritage Village in Currimao was worth the trip. The 1.5 hectare property of neurologist and famous art aficionado Dr. Joven Cuanang has kept traditional Ilocos Spanish style architecture in a time capsule.
The experience began on Christmas Eve with a welcome drink of refreshing yellow watermelon juice with calamansi and cold hand towels served to us as soon as we alighted from our cars. The relaxing sound of running water from the abundant fountains along the well-lit walkway was music to our ears after the long drive.
Dr. Cuanang began the creation of this paradise around 8 years ago. Similar to Patis Tesoro's home and café in San Pablo, Laguna, heritage and culture is revived through the acquisition of old houses sold by OFWs, by upcycling the building materials to restore around 10 houses which surrounds a plaza and a quaint chapel.
The final stop was Namarabar in Bangued, Abra.
Some 30 years ago when road infrastructure was nearly non-existent, Patis rambled in the wilderness, and crossed a rickety footbridge above the great Abra River to get to the Itneg tribe.
The revival of their textile traditions was part of the advocacy of the now defunct Katutubong Filipino Foundation. Patis began working with the Agaids, a clan of weavers headed by matriarch Norma, who to this day continue in their traditional methods in weaving.
On February 20 and 21 2016, the Itneg weavers from Abra, Ilocos Sur in Northern Luzon and the embroiderers from Lumban, Laguna in Central Luzon will showcase and sell their work at PatisTito Garden Café.
This will be the first in Philippine textile history where two traditional artisans of two different disciplines will interact and exhibit their work that represent Philippine tradition, history and culture. Truly an exciting first quarter of the New Year this 2016 at PatisTito Garden Café! Happy New Year!