Cordilleran Inabel: An Endangered Cultural Tapestry

The Cordilleran Inabel is distinguished by its intricate patterns inspired by the natural environment, folk narratives, and the day-to-day life of the Cordillerans [1]. The weaving process itself, carried out on traditional backstrap looms, requires immense skill, patience, and a deep understanding of the cultural motifs.

Facing Extinction

Unfortunately, the Cordilleran Inabel, once a thriving tradition, is now struggling to survive. The shifting cultural preferences, compounded by the impact of globalization, have brought this art form to the brink of extinction. Mass-The Cordillera region in the Northern Philippines is a living museum, teeming with rich cultural traditions that span centuries. Among its most revered cultural heritages is the Inabel fabric, a handwoven treasure born out of the indigenous weaving tradition of the region.

The Cordilleran Inabel: An Artistic Legacy

produced, machine-made textiles from large enterprises, particularly from China, have flooded the market with cheap, accessible alternatives [2].

Moreover, younger generations are increasingly disconnected from this tradition. With the modernization of education and a significant focus on “practical” careers, the art of Inabel weaving is not being passed down, leading to a declining number of skilled weavers.

Preserving the Heritage

However, all is not lost. Organizations like Tapis and Baag are stepping up to help revive this dying art. They work to create sustainable livelihoods for local weavers while also bringing Cordilleran Inabel to the world stage.

Nevertheless, the survival of the Cordilleran Inabel requires a collective effort. Education plays a pivotal role in this journey. By incorporating lessons about our cultural heritage in the curriculum, we can foster appreciation and, potentially, cultivate future weavers [3].

The Thread Forward

The Cordilleran Inabel is more than a fabric; it’s a repository of our history and a symbol of our identity. As we navigate through the currents of modernity and globalization, let us strive to keep this cultural tapestry from unraveling. After all, the threads of our past weave the fabric of our future.

Krieken-Pieters, J. (2017). From the Rainbow’s Varied Hue: Textiles of the Southern Philippines. Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings.

Quimbo, S. (2012). In Defense of a Tradition: A Case Study of Inabel.

Casambre, N. (2016). Weaving Peace in the Cordillera: The Indigenous Practices of Peacebuilding. ADMU.