Kamuyot | @nmenmindanao via NMP-ENM Ethmology Gallery Collection

Kamuyot is a backpack made from Abaca weaved and used by the Manobos in Agusan del Sur.

Manobos’ traditional fabric for clothes was made of abaca using the Ikat weaving process. However, today they use cotton cloth obtained from trade. Manobo ancestors had blankets of abaca fiber which were called linetungan if these had multicolored design, and bayas if plain white.

Abaca (Musa textilis sp.) or Manila hemp is one of the strongest fibers used by man. It is a plant related to the banana and is indigenous to the Philippines particularly in the provinces of Bicol, Samar, and Leyte.

In Butuan, Fr. Urios depicted abaca as one of the region’s trade goods together with beeswax and other forest products (Sy 1970). It was also noted that abaca was already being exported before the arrival of the Spaniards. The “Tagabalooyes” of Agusan have been documented paying their tribute to a Catholic monarch for defending them from invasion by neighboring enemies through “guinaras” and “merandique” textiles made of abaca.

Today, abaca is continuously being woven into textiles by different groups in Mindanao particularly by the Bagobo, Mandaya, B’laan, Tiboli and Manobos.

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