Abaca Capital of the Philippines

abaca capital of the philippines
Abaca Capital of the Philippines | National Museum Bicol (@nmbicol) Photo: Ollie Tindoc

The abaca capital of the Philippines dedicates an annual festival to its fiber industry.

In its sixth year, the Province of Catanduanes celebrates Abaca Festival every May as the country’s abaca capital.

This annual festival pays tribute to the contributions of abaca farmers and workers, called abacaleros or abacaleras in the local language. It is also a celebration of the province as the top producer of abaca in the country. The festival is a combination of performances, exhibitions, competitions, and fairs.

The Philippines is the world’s top abaca fiber producer and in 2015, 37.33% or 25,134 metric tons of the abaca fiber came from Catanduanes. Abaca fiber, also referred to as Manila hemp is extracted from the leaf sheath around the trunk of the abaca plant (Musa textilis), which is native to the Philippines and widely distributed in the humid tropics.

As early as the 16th century, it was recorded that the natives wore abaca clothing. It became a major export crop in the 1800s, widely used for ships’ rigging and pulped to make sturdy paper. Today, it is still used in ropemaking, weaving textiles, papermaking, furniture, slippers and various souvenir items.

Truly, abaca has proven its value over time and this celebration is dedicated to abaca farmers and traders.

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Andrade, P. (2016, January 25). ‘Padre Damaso’ and the friars: Myth versus reality. (R. Prieto, Editor) Retrieved May 19, 2022, from Inquirer: https://lifestyle.inquirer.net/220264/padre-damaso-and-the-friars-myth-versus-reality/
FAO. (2022). Abaca. Retrieved from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: https://www.fao.org/economic/futurefibres/fibres/abaca0/en/

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