CARD MRI Hijos Tours supports locals in sustaining Iloilo’s Hablon weaving heritage

Leah Tihing, a CARD Bank client from Miag-ao, hopes to keep alive the tradition of weaving hablon through heritage tours in Iloilo.

CARD MRI Hijos Tours, a community-based tourism company, helps in preserving Iloilo’s hablon weaving heritage by bringing its local travelers from all over the country to Miag-ao to discover and learn from its community weavers.

Said Hijos Tours President Marilyn M. Manila, “Knowing that the hablon industry declined in the story of Iloilo, we are happy that the industry is now getting recognition in the international stage. It was in 2019, when we discovered the community of hablon weavers in Miag-ao and we are very much eager to be part of preserving and promoting their tradition.”

Through its study and heritage tour program dubbed as Hijos delos Rios, the community of weavers were given the opportunity to promote their culture and end-products to the public.

The hablon weaving industry

Iloilo was once known for its hablon weaving industry before the international textile trade dominated the province.

Hablon comes from the word “habol”, a hiligaynon word which means “to weave”. Hablon refers to both the process of making the fabric and the fabric itself.

Miag-ao is known as one of the top producers of hablon in the province. They use locally made fibers such as cotton, piña, and abaca to ensure high quality of their textile products.

One of the locals who weaves hablon cloth and sells export-quality products such as traditional patadyong skirts, Barong Tagalog, saya, and bandana is Leah Tihing.

Leah is among the community members who chose to preserve the hablon weaving heritage and keep the tradition alive for the future generation. “I’ve been doing this for three decades now, and it will be difficult for me and for my fellow weavers to abandon this tradition,” said Leah Tihing.

Their group collaborates with state universities in the province to teach the new generation about the process of weaving and help them appreciate our very own heritage.

With the said partnership, Leah and her fellow weavers are able to share their knowledge about the importance of weaving. “We want them to know and be part of this tradition because they are the next group who will continue the rich hablon weaving industry.”

Leah added that weaving industry is one of the longest-running and strongest industries in the province. “This industry is really worth sharing to everyone. Many may find it antiquated but with Hijos Tours, it allows us to stage our culture to their travelers and show what Miag-ao weavers can offer.”

She explained that Hijos Tours opens new opportunity for the locals of Miag-ao to be known to other parts of the country. “It widens our customer reach because we are regularly visited by their travelers coming from the different provinces.”

“I hope that hablon will continue to be known locally and abroad. We assure you that in the future, new threads and concepts will be showcased in our work through the help of Hijos Tours that significantly contributes to making our industry known,” she concluded.