The Tingguian come from Abra, in the northern mountains of Luzon. Experts at natural dyeing, they use the treasures of the forest to yield beautiful hues. Mahogany makes red; ginger produces yellow; malatayum gives indigo; narra creates brown; and numerous other plants will provide a rich palette of various colors.
Dye is extracted from natural material such as barks, leaves, grass, fruits, and roots. The plant products are boiled, and then the fabric is left to absorb the colors in the resulting dye bath, simmering for a long period of time. Another element, called a mordant, may be used on the fabric to get different colors from the same dye.
Filip + Inna works with the Tingguian to make clothing made from natural dyes. Think of them as garments washed with the hues of the forest.
The Gadang are reputed to have the most opulent traditional clothing in all of Luzon. The colors red and yellow permeate their traditional attire. This consists of the tapis and blouse for the women, and the loincloth and headkerchiefs for the men.
They adorn their everyday objects with seed beads, glass beads, and precious stones. Their garments have beaded seams. On their arms are ginadding or ginalmaddan, the former bracelets made of beads, the latter bracelets of copper. They crown themselves with headbands called atifulan and combs called lagod, on which they hang tassels and beaded ornaments. The men’s loincloths, kerchiefs, and shirts are beaded too.
They do it so extensively and with such expertise that many are convinced that the Gadang have elevated beadwork to an art form. And it is an art form beautifully displayed in the clothing and accessories that the Gadang make with Filip + Inna.
In the majestic mountains of the Cordillera of Northern Luzon, you will find the Ifugao basking in a heritage well preserved and well remembered through rituals year after year.
The word Ifugao means people from the hill. They are well known for their rice terraces as agriculture is their primary source of livelihood. The Bulol or the rice gods play a prominent role of watching over the rice bundles stored in rice granaries.
Our work with the Ifugao is focused on the Ikat weaving. Traditionally done by women, the process is a resist dye technique using pure cotton threads. With an overflow of visual arts tradition, we are looking forward to expanding the collection to include basketry and wood carving.
Lumban is one of Laguna’s oldest towns. The locals have been embroidering since the 1600s, when Franciscan nuns introduced the craft to the town’s wives.
Today, both women and men have taken to the craft. While the women are still in charge of the work, it is not uncommon for the men to fish at Lake Caliraya in the morning, and then work needle and thread in the afternoon. It is such a thriving cottage industry that the town has claimed for itself the title “Embroidery Capital of the Philippines.”
Filip + Inna is proud to work with the townsfolk of Lumban in using centuries-old techniques to create thoughtfully crafted garments for today.
In the old town of Taal in central Luzon, in the province of Batangas, the beautiful colonial-era structures are a fitting backdrop to the fine tradition of hand-embroidery that has been practiced by the townspeople for centuries.
Their designs range from informal geometric patterns, to the prized traditional callado and sinuksok. Callado involves the pulling of thread from cloth to form a filigree. Sinuksok means inserting colored thread by hand to create floral patterns.
Hand-embroidery begins with the magdidibuho, who stamps the design on the fabric. Then comes the magbuburda, who will fill over the stamped design with stitches. The magkakalado comes next. He is charged with pulling the thread apart, and stitching them into the callado. The piece is then passed to the magaagohero, who embroiders the hem.
It is this long, meticulous process that is employed in making timeless pieces for Filip + Inna.
The Mangyan of Mindoro are a peace-loving people with a rich culture. They have kept alive the Mangyan script, a pre-colonial system of writing similar to the lost Baybayin. Ambahan is their traditional poetry.
They are also actively engaged in arts and crafts. Nito and rattan are woven to produce baskets. Thread is worked on backstrap looms to produce a textile called ramit, which is often replete with geometric designs. They perform beadwork, and they practice embroidery.
Prevalent in their crafts is the pakudos design motif. You will often see it embroidered in intricate detail on men’s shirts, called balukas, and on women’s blouses, called lambung.
The cross-shaped pakudos is a protection symbol, believed to ward off evil spirits. Calling to mind the the mandala prevalent in Southeast Asian art, it hints at a connection to the culture of neighboring regions.
This extensive cultural knowledge permeates with a precious timelessness the garments they make with Filip + Inna.
Woven from the fibers of the pineapple plant, piña is considered the queen of all Philippine textile. Kalibo, in the province of Aklan, is the biggest producer of this prime fabric.
The process of making piña begins by scraping a pineapple leaf with a broken piece of china to get at the finest fiber, the liniwan. Each strand of liniwan measures just 30 inches. They are knotted one after another, to make longer strands fit for weaving. This near-meditative process is called in the dialect pag-panug-ot. Only once this is accomplished can the weaver begin working on her loom.
The fibers can be blended with silk, to make “piña seda” or “piña silk.” Adding abaca instead makes “piña jusi.” Of course, considered the most precious is fabric that is pure piña.
Filip + Inna offers clothing made from pineapple by the master artisans of Kalibo.
Manobo has been used as a general term to refer to the non Islamic Indigenous Groups in Mindanao. The word Manobo refers to “ the people living along the river”.
For the Manobo sa Agusan, their name suggests that they are located in Agusan inhabiting the river valleys, hillsides and the interiors of the area.
The “Suyam” embroidery or block stitching of the Manobo gets the spotlight in our collection with them – showing off the intricacy of each patterns as it depicts their love for family and respect for nature
As their name means people from the Salug river – the Matigsalug have continued to persevere in preserving their culture and heritage. They find their home in their ancestral land in the Tigwa-Salug Valley in Bukidnon. As a sub-group of the Manobo, there a lot of similarities that one discovers between the 2 groups. The chieftain wears the Tangkulo with pride to denote position within the community.
They depend largely on farming which has resulted in a very rich tradition in basketry.
As we embark on the initial stages of the collaboration, we are looking forward to introducing the Matigsalug in our collections.
The Maranao are “people of the lake,” traditionally inhabiting areas around Mindanao’s Lake Lanao. One of the largest Islamic groups in the Philippines, the Maranao possess a rich culture. It is said that almost every family is engaged in a traditional craft, like wood carving, metalsmithing, and fabric-weaving.
Many of their creations feature the okir or okkil. This is the exuberant flowing design and geometric forms derived from the patterns of leaves and vine that is woven on their clothing, etched on the blades and handles of their knives, and carved into their wooden boxes.
The okir is also used to decorate their homes. The torogan – traditional home of the most important household in the area – is embellished with it, especially the protruding frontal beam called panolong. Inside the torogan, you will most surely find a variation of the okir, the legendary bird called sarimanok.
Their rich cultural heritage have produced expert craftsmen, who weave and embroider clothes for Filip + Inna.
Mandaya is one of the ancient ethnic groups of the Philippines. The name comes from the suffix “man,” meaning “of” or “from”; and “dàya,” which means “upstream or upland dweller.” The group lives in the mountains above Davao Oriental.
The Mandaya is said to have some of the most beautiful garments in Mindanao. The women weave a cloth called dagmay. It is dyed with mud, roots, and other forest plants. The cloth is adorned with patterns that speak of the folklore and the religion of the tribe. There are blocks, lines, curves, scrolls, triangles, diamonds, and crosses.
Among the most widely used of their design motifs is the crocodile. The buwaya is found in numerous forms in Mandaya crafts. Perhaps this is a collective remembrance of fear of an ancient enemy, at the same time a display of respect for the courage, strength, and power it symbolizes.
Filip + Inna’s pieces are enhance by the knowledge of the Mandaya artisans and their long history of creating beautiful pieces.
The Manobo are the largest of 18 groups that make up the Lumad, a group of indigenous people living in southern Philippines. Beadwork is an important part of their everyday life. It is how time is usually passed when they are not occupied with farmwork.
The women adorn themselves with jewelry. They wear the big ginibang necklaces, and the beaded bakus belts. They wrap the tikos around their legs. The tangkuro headdress, however, is reserved only for the male head of the community, the datu.
They traditionally used hand-woven abaca for their clothes. Variation in clothing design serves to identify the subgroup to which a Manabo belongs. For example, the Agusanon Manobo wears red, while the Umayamnon Manobo wears royal blue. They use red, yellow, white, black, blue, and green to embroider or apply patchwork to their clothing. Design elements may represent a dancing man, stars, leaves, and crocodiles.
The beadwork and woven fabric of the Manobo are part of Filip + Inna’s collection of clothing and accessories made by the artisans of the Philippines.
The origin of the term Bagobo is uncertain, but it may have come from bago, meaning new or recent, and obo or uvu, meaning person. The name originally applied to coastal peoples of Davao Gulf. This group consists of three different linguistic groups, the Tagabawa, the Ubo Manuvu, and the Jangan.
Tha Bagobo are known for their ikat-patterned textiles woven from the fibers of Abaca. The Bagobo Tagabawa call their Abaca cloth Inabal,; the Ubo Manuvu, Inavo; and the Jangan Nawow.
Filip + Inna works closely with Bagobo tribe to bring these patterns to contemporary pieces.
Source: Cultural Center of the Philippines: Encyclopedia of Philippine Art
The T’boli are a people living in South Cotaboto, Mindanao. The T’boli are engaged in crafts that are some of the most celebrated in the archipelago. They are famous for their woven fabrics, beadwork, embroidery, and brass products.
The T’nalak they weave from krungon or abaca is considered sacred cloth, used during weddings and childbirth. The women who create them are called dreamweavers, visited by the goddess Fu Dalu as they sleep. They are taught weaving skills and patterns though their dreams. Maybe they will be moved to create bulinglangit or clouds, perhaps a kabangi or butterfly.
Their embroidery and beadwork usually follow cross-stitch patterns. They combine the two skills to attach mother-of-pearl beads to clothing in geometrical forms.
If Fu Dalu guides the weavers, then the god of metalwork Glinton looks after the T’boli metal artisans, as they fashion bracelets, bells, anklets, and figurines from brass.
Filip + Inna works with these gifted craftspeople, utilizing their generations-old techniques to make garments and accessories that showcase the depth of the T’boli expertise in weaving and embroidery.
Tagakaolo means “inhabitants of the sources of rivers and streams.” They are river people, using the fertile surrounding grounds to grow crops and the waters to fish.
Very little literature has been written about the Tagakaolo, but photos taken of them show a love for ornamentation. Their creativity is apparent in their bright clothing, their beaded jewelry, and their unique accessories. Their personal ornaments include the suwat or comb, lupi or earrings, lampad or necklace, linte or bracelet, and babat or anklets. Traditional clothing is heavily decorated with glass and mother-of-pearl beads, often sewn in geometric patterns.
The same skill that goes into creating the objects they wear go into the garments that they create for Filip + Inna.
Neighbors of the T’boli, the Blaan people are inhabitants of Southern Mindanao. One of the major non-Islamic groups in the South, the Blaan believe in the interdependence between man and Nature, and in the supremacy of a divine creator named Melu or D’wata. They will only transform a place or handle an object in nature after the performance of rituals asking permission from the divine.
They are well-known for their brasswork, beadwork, and weaving of tabih, a cloth made from abaca. Tabih is also the name of the tubular skirt worn by the women. The craftspeople use natural dyes from local plants to make different designs for their textile. They embellish fabric with the addition of coins, beads, bells, and horsehair; as well as the use of appliqué and embroidery. Blaan women are reputed to be the most skilled embroiderers in the area.
Filip + Inna makes garments with the Blaan women. Our pieces showcase their weaves, beadwork, and their needlework.
The original settlers of Basilan Island, the Yakan people began to be called such by the Spaniards centuries ago, when the island was covered with yakal trees. It was from this forest that the Yakan originally gathered the plants for dyeing the colorful fabric from which they made their traditional clothing, the semmek.
The patterns they use in their weaving also derive from nature. There is the palipattang or rainbow, the bunga-sama or python, the kenna-kenna or fish, and the daen-dawen or vine.
This deep connection to the environment permeates their religious practices, which have been described as “folk Islam.” They weave into their Islamic beliefs ancient rituals worshipping nature spirits.
In the Filip + Inna collection, you will find garments made from fabric woven by the Yakan.
Tausug means “the people of the current,” from the word tau which means “man,” and sūg which means ” sea currents.” The Tausug are traditionally a seafaring folk, found in Mindanao and Palawan in Luzon.
They adorn their crafts with okir or okkil motifs. Vines, leaves, and various flora decorate their woodwork, metalwork, and textile, as they adhere to Islamic rules forbidding the depiction of human and animal forms.
The organic and geometric forms of the okir find great application in their vibrantly colored embroidery. This is usually applied to household linen and the habul tiyahian. The latter is an embroidered tube cloth worn by the women, slung across the shoulder or hanging from an arm. For the men, the signature article of clothing is the pis siabit. It is a head cloth about one square meter in size, hand-woven with intricate geometric patterns that are unique, from one piece to the the next.
Find the okir motif in clothing that the Tausug embroider for Filip + Inna.
“Sama” generally refers to members of the sea-dwelling Sama-Bajau ethnic group who have settled on land. One of their creation myths say that they were originally land-dwellers, set out to sea by a king to find his lost daughter, who was carried away by the waves.
They still keep close to the ocean. The traditional home of the Sama are houses on stilts in the shallow waters of the the Sulu Archipelago and other coastal areas of Mindanao.
They are known for their exceptional abilities in free-diving, being able to hold their breaths underwater for far longer than the average human. Fishing is a major source of income. The Sama also generate livelihood through their their traditional crafts of mat-weaving, jewelry-making, needlework, metalwork, and, of course, boat-building.
They also weave cloth. Filip + Inna’s collection include pieces made from cloth woven by the Sama.