According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the saguran weaving industry of Bohol is worth Php 60-million per year. Saguran is currently being produced in the towns of Tubigon, Inabanga, and Danao, and this is made possible by the dedication and creativity of these Boholano weavers.
The National Museum believes that through this kind of project, the weaving tradition of the Philippines will be preserved and promoted and thus, lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of our rich cultural heritage which is vital in getting the support and ensuring the sustainability of this industry.
In our behind-the-scenes photo, Saguran weaver Rochelle Sobiorn, from The Taming Loom Weavers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Danao, is seen using the loom during the Saguran Weaving Lecture-Demonstration at the National Museum Bohol in 2019. In Bohol, the loom is called hablanan, the piece of cloth, a blanket, or skirt is called habol, and the process of weaving is called paghabol.
For today’s Kabiling Bolanon feature, let us revisit the Weaving Traditions of Bohol.
In pre-colonial Visayan societies, as noted by early chroniclers, Loom Weaving was carried out by women and male transvestites. A piece of cloth, a blanket or a skirt is called #habol; the process of weaving is called paghabol; the loom is called hablanan.
Unkown to many, most households in Bohol had their own hablanan and were producing textiles until around the 1960s. Saguran made of buri, sinamay and sinamay pinokpok made of abaca fibers and lumpot made of cotton were the types of fabrics produced locally. With the introduction of industrially manufactured textiles, the demand for the locally produced cloth dwindled. Local production of textiles eventually died out in Bohol except for saguran which is still being produced in the towns of Tubigon, Inabanga and Danao.
Originally, saguran was produced in its natural color. Today, dyed saguran come in vibrant colors and patterns. With its coarse texture, saguran was not typically used for clothing. However, with modern innovation, a finer version of the textile was developed and use of saguran for haute couture is being explored by local designers.
With the increase of demand for the textile, saguran weaving, which was traditionally a female occupation, is now being practiced by male weavers as well. In certain areas such as in Datag, Inabanga, producing saguran is a husband and wife endeavour. With higher return in saguran production, husbands who previously worked in construction or as amakan (woven bamboo strips used in vernacular houses) makers now weave alongside their wives in their homes.
Today, the saguran is used in home wares and furniture; in high fashion either as clothing or as accessory; and even in architecture, the sturdy saguran can be utilized as wall and ceiling panels. Although it had struggled to survive in the textiles market, the saguran (often marketed as raffia cloth) had bounced back and is gaining recognition as a versatile and durable material.