I have learned to appreciate art in various forms – from painting, pottery, sculpture to graphic and interior designs, to even the performing arts – and most recently, the artistry of weaving, more specifically T’nalak weaving.
The T’bolis are known for their traditional fabric called T’nalak. This is made of long threads of Philippine-grown abaca fibers dipped in red and dark brown dyes. I am awed that it takes an enormous amount of time (like 6 months) to finish a 5m x 0.60m piece. And it is woven by “dreamweavers” whose designs are inspired by their dreams.
Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) is a program aimed at celebrating and safeguarding the work of indigenous and traditional artists of the Philippines. It provides recognition to National Living Treasures, the highest honor given to indigenous folk artist for their outstanding work in creating, preserving and promoting traditional art forms that are threatened with extinction. Awardees are artists who have manifested willingness to share their rare skill with others, especially younger members of their community.
Lang Dulay, known as THE Dreamweaver, fit that bill. A National Living Treasure awardee since 1998, this 85-year-old native from South Cotobato opened a training center in Lake Sebu.
Her workshop is a 4m x 10m elevated rectangular bamboo/nipa hut
and this is where she trains her students,
including this protégé.
Her works are incredible but most of all, her heart is awe-inspiring. What a great privilege and honor to meet such a humble and gifted person who is National Artist in stature.