Likhang Habi: This Local Market is Bringing Traditional Weaving to the Big City

Words by Oriana Cuenca

Baybayin has hit the mainstream as young Filipinos show a renewed interest in traditional Filipino culture. The indigenous script of the ethnic Tagalogs can be seen all over social media and even t-shirts and jewelry.

For those looking for a classier way to wear their Filipino pride while also learning more about the culture, Likhang HABI is hosting their 9th Market Fair with a focus on a new more immersive cultural experience.

RELATED: Here’s Why You Should Learn About Our Philippine Weavers

Likhang HabiPhoto by Blew David

Immersive experience

In line with its mission of promoting local culture, Likhang HABI offers visitors a chance to experience the indigenous weaving process themselves. Visitors will be taught the basics of weaving with natural local fibers and will get to create their own woven products to take home. There will also be a workshop on modern weaving featuring different textiles, colors, and techniques in the Community Craft Loom. HABI goers will also have the chance to learn macramé, a textile technique that uses knots instead of weaving.

“We encourage Likhang HABI fairgoers to immerse themselves in the beautiful weaving communities and traditional textiles of our country,” says HABI Chair Maribel Ongpin. “We will have participating weavers from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao so the opportunity to learn at the fair is endless.”

Going beyond weaving, Likhang HABI will be hosting Baybayin workshops for those who want to understand and write the precolonial script. Art installations, cultural dances, and traditional Filipino music will also be a part of the market fair.

Tnalak and Abaca Ikat from South Cotabato and Habol Negrense from Negros Occidental e1570016847960T’nalak and Abaca Ikat from South Cotabato and Habol Negrense from Negros Occidental

Local, sustainable, and ethical 

Traditional textiles are the highlight of the 9th Likhang HABI Market Fair with 52 merchants from all over the Philippines. Habol negrense from Negros Occidental, yakan from Basilan, inaul from Maguindanao, binubudan from Ifugao, binakol and abel from Ilocos, and tepina from Palawan are just some of the many local fabrics used in various lifestyle and fashion goods that will be sold in the fair.

Among the fashion items available will be bags, accessories, and shoes from local craftsmen. Likhang HABI Market Fair 2019 will also feature a talk on the importance of the local shoe-making industry.

Lakat sustainable shoes e1570017267234

Lakat sustainable shoes

Coco and Tres e1570018759604

Coco and Tres

Promoting pure Philippine cotton is one of the long term goals of Likhang HABI. Several merchants will be showcasing how Philippine cotton can be combined with indigenous fabrics to create contemporary Filipino fabrics such as  cotton ikat and cotton abaca.

“There is an abundance of beautiful fabrics in the Philippines and we want to show that these fabrics from different corners of the Philippines can be a part of our modern lifestyle,” says HABI President Adelaida Lim.

Mission and recognition 

5d94965aea4cf 5d94965aea543Adelaida Lim and Kelly Mortensen of HABI showing the i Bb kain fabric handwoven and embroidered by Kalinga weavers.JPG e1570019005620Adelaida Lim and Kelly Mortensen of HABI showing the i Bb kain fabric, handwoven and embroidered by Kalinga weavers

Likhang HABI has had a long commitment to providing local weaving communities a platform to enhance their skills and integrate modern trends with their traditional styles.

The awarding of the 2nd Lourdes Montinola Piña Prize will also take place during the fair to recognize exceptional skill in pineapple threads artistry.

Baybayin is only the beginning. Filipinos are out to reclaim a heritage that they have nearly lost. Events like the Likhang HABI Market Fair are here to reconnect the Philippines with its roots using the threads we love, threads that bind us. 

HABI: The Philippine Textile Council is excited to take you through the #HABIJourney at the 9th Likhang HABI Market Fair on October 11 to 13 at the Glorietta 3 Activity Center in Makati City.

For more information, visit and Instagram @habifair.