Closing Remarks: The Inaugural Lecture of The Senator Loren Legarda Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge

  • March 13, 2012

Concluding Remarks
Senator Loren Legarda
The Inaugural Lecture of
The Senator Loren Legarda Lecture Series on
Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge
March 13, 2012
Queen Sofia Hall, National Museum

 

Our rich Filipino heritage is our birthright, our identity and our legacy. It is an inheritance that should not be forsaken in the name of modernization.

Over the weekend, I visited the Ifugao Rice Terraces and had the chance to interact with the community in the Bangaan Rice Terrace cluster in the municipality of Banaue. It was good to know that some families are preserving their culture. Ifugao children welcomed me wearing the traditional Ifugao garments, weaving and wood carving are still being practiced, and as we witnessed a while ago, the Hudhud Chants of the Ifugao are being passed on.

It is sad to note however, that significant changes have become evident in the village. Some of the traditional Ifugao huts, which are made of wood with cogon grass as roof and built without the need for nails or bolts, were still present. But houses of modern structure—cemented walls with galvanized iron sheets for roof—had been constructed in the area, thereby losing the aesthetic value that the village ought to have as a background of the rice terraces.

In this modern day and age, it is quite a difficult task to make our people embrace our culture since many may have long forgotten about it. But if they refuse to visit our history, we must let history visit them. This Textile Galleries and the Lecture Series we organized are some of our efforts towards that.

The Textile Gallery is a product of a vision many years ago to hold in one museum the rich collection of indigenous textiles in the country. The safeguarding of our culture, specifically our textile and handicrafts industry, has been a lifelong advocacy for me. I have visited numerous weaving communities all over the country and have seen precious fabrics woven by hand, stitched with intricate designs, each thread, each fabric telling a story, many of which were passed from generation to generation from our ancestors.

Weaving is a traditional industry in various parts of the country, with different provinces known for their respective natural fabrics such as the Ikat, Tinalak and Inaul of Mindanao; the Abel of Ilocos; the weaves of the different cultural communities from the Cordilleras; the Hablon of the Ilonggos; and the Piña of Aklan, to name a few. This industry, which is not only an expression of indigenous artistry but an opportunity for socio-economic empowerment of our indigenous peoples, should therefore be supported.

At this juncture, allow me to thank Dr. Maria Stanyukovich, Curator of the Philippine and Southeast Asian Textiles in the Peter the Great Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, for delivering a presentation in our inaugural lecture.
Through this Lecture Series, which will be documented and shall be part of the annals of the National Museum, we hope to revive in every Filipino the love for our heritage.

We still have a lot to discover and rediscover in our culture. The land tilled by our forefathers, the centuries-old structures built with their bare hands, the colorful fabrics intricately woven to bring out the beauty of its wearer, the songs that narrate the story of our past, the rare stories told by our grandmothers to lull us to sleep, the dances that express our emotions, the values that keep our families intact, the principles that make our souls stronger—these are some of our ancestors’ inheritance to us. These constitute the soul of the Filipino, which ought to be preserved, promoted and enriched.

Thank you and good day.

  • March 13, 2012 |
  • Posted in Speeches |
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