Hablon de Cebu weaves SDGs into new culture

Handloom  weaving seems to have lost touch with the community in the passage of time, but where sustainable development goals continue to be advocated for  by Cebu Technological University, the craft would always have a major significance in Argao’s way of life as it has reestablished the passion for local tradition seeping into the core of industry 4.0.

Last year’s recognition of Hablon de Cebu (trademark)  as one of the top 40 micro enterprises in the Philippines by the BPI Sinag Foundation was monumental, stabilizing the fact that the apparently forgotten art in the southern part of Cebu has just found its redemptive value.

The municipality has everyone talking about organic materials that have now found their way on glossy pages of magazines displaying Cebuano couture. This has proven its relevance even in today’s hyperreal climate.

Its being chosen as UNESCO Japan’s pilot project in the Philippines for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was a resonance of its deep gratitude to this environment-friendly culture finding its way to the top amidst sweeping technological invasion. 

The demand for organic fabric has made people  increasingly aware of the impact it has had on the environment while ensuring effectual community engagements.

CTU Director for Extension Jorelyn Conception reiterated, in a statement, that it highly accentuates environmental preservation as it does not generate much waste. In fact waste materials can still be turned into fashionable items as was the case in last year’s event sponsored by Aboitiz Foundation.

CTU Argao students commit to sustaining the CLEANSE Extension program of the university, which affords them avenue for upcycling such as the one that earned citation at the Aboitiz Green Fashion Revolution in the previous year.

CTU Argao’s resolute take on ESD’s proclivity to even shape the future of handloom weaving is clearly put into words by Dr. Concepcion, a longtime ‘hablon’ advocate herself.

“ESD empowers everyone to make informed decisions in favor of environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society for present and future generations. I think that the Hablon Extension Project has made its mark and  will hopefully continue to make its mark in the accomplishment of SDGs.”

Dependable source of income stands out among the major benefits of the craft to  Argaonon weavers who are mostly women. Empowering them levels the playing field as they have  elevated position in the family as the breadwinner. But men may have just found their new hobby as Dr. Conception observed in the campus’ facility where  they support their wives in the pre-weaving process.

The government has long sought for such an enterprise that embodies ingenuity, and Hablon de Cebu is the perfect channel for creativity, survival, and cultural dynamism.

Hence, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently upgraded the Shared Service Facility  (SSF) with embroidery machines, as was the request of  industry partners to have the  handwoven fabric embellished with designs.

The government invested  1.8 million for added machines apart from the 895,000 pesos  given at the launching of the  SSF in 2016. Not only does it cater to embroidery needs of Hablon de Cebu but also provide the digitally crafted accessories that go with handwoven bags, leis, office uniforms, etc.

Dr. Concepcion believes that “as HABLON tradition continues, and as even brighter prospects await, relentless efforts will continue as it gains stronghold in  the fabric industry in this side of the country.” UICP