HABI Trail

In our islands, between the mountains and the seas, textiles abound in a variety of hues and textures. Pursuing textiles from north to south, we found many treasures. Follow the HABI path of discovery and blaze your own trail to experience the Filipino cloth of many colors and weaving ways.

Scroll below to embark on your HABI journey.



Is the largest and most populous island in the Philippines. It is ranked15th largest in the world by land area. Located in the northern portion of the archipelago, it is the economic and political center of the nation, being home to the country's capital city, Manila.


Ilocos Norte

Ilocano weavers practice certain specialized weaving techniques. Aside from the plain weaving technique and binakul weaving, Tagudin, Santiago, and Paoay weavers are adept in pinilian, or the continuous supplementary weft design technique. Multi-heddle design technique is the specialization of Santa, Santa Maria, Paoay, and Pasuquin weavers.

Insukit, or the discontinuous supplementary weft design technique, is the sole mastery of Paoay weavers, while the hopping supplementary weft and warp float technique is the area of expertise of Pinili weavers. In 2012, the national government bestowed the National Living Treasures Award to Magdalena Gamayo, a master weaver in Pinili, who specializes in the hopping supplementary weft and warp design technique.

Today, there is a surge in the revival of textile weaving using the pedal-frame loom.



Ifugao is the name or designation of a group in the province of the same name, Ifugao, that is situated in the rugged heights of the central Cordillera mountain range.

Most active in the practice of textile weaving are the Tuali in the towns of Hingyon, Banaue, Hapao, and Kiangan.

During special occasions, such as the punnuk, the Ifugao wear their traditional attire that is all handwoven in the backstrap loom.

Hingyon weavers are in ikat, where natural dye materials, including mud, are used to produce traditional designs for ritual blankets and new designs for contemporary clothing.


Mountain Province

The women of Bontoc are adept in textile weaving. Until the 1990s, or prior to the lure of jobs outside the country, almost every house in Samoki had a loom set up under the house where the entire weaving process is done. Products include four-paneled blankets, or pinagpagan, and the brightly colored kinulibangbang, with design embellishments done in the warp float and multi-heddle design techniques.

Also woven are pallasan belts with long frills and with flower designs on a white ground, which are done in the suksok or inlaid supplementary weft technique. These traditional woven attires, including the ceremonial loincloth for men, are popularly worn during festivals, such as the Lang-ay held in April in the capital town, Bontoc, and participated in by all communities in the province.

Today, the women continue to weave wrap-around skirts in the traditional red-black-white color scheme and in the new color scheme of green-black-white.


/vɪˈsaɪəz/ vi-SY-əz

The Visayas are one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines, along with Luzon and Mindanao. Located in the central part of the archipelago, it consists of several islands, primarily surrounding the Visayan Sea, although the Visayas are also considered the northeast extremity of the entire Sulu Sea. Its inhabitants are predominantly the Visayan peoples.



The most prominent of the creative productions of the Aklanon is woven textile, using the fibers from the stem of the abaca and the leaves of the pinya, or the native red pineapple of the Bisaya variety. With the pedal-frame loom as the weaving implement, the Aklanon produce fine fiber cloth, or sinamay, from Musa textiles, and pinya or pineapple leaf fiber textiles, considered the finest of all Philippine textiles.

Geometric design forms, such as squares and rectangles, can be produced through the rengue technique, where several heddles and the corresponding number of treadles are employed.

The sinamay and the pinya are embellished with tiny floral designs done in suksok or discontinuous supplementary weft design.



Textile weaving is a rooted tradition among the Hiligaynon. The pedal-frame loom is the principal weaving implement, although the backstrap loom remained in use up to the 1910s along with the pedal-frame loom in some communities in Leon.

The weavers produce a variety of plaid compositions in bright color combinations for clothing. The most popular of these woven textiles is the patadyong, which is sewn into long skirts for women. Other woven products are for polo shirts or blouses, and trousers for men.

Weavers busy themselves with producing textiles for the uniforms of government offices and schools, and for the sablay, or academic graduation sash, of the state university.



Mindanao is the second-largest island in the Philippines, after Luzon and seventh-most populous island in the world. Located in the southern region of the archipelago, the island is part of an island group of the same name that also includes its adjacent islands, notably the Sulu Archipelago.


Cotabato City

The Maguindanaoan are dexterous in creative productions, such as brass casting and textile weaving. Musical instruments, such as the kulintang, are cast in bronze using the lost-wax method. Practitioners of the craft are confined to men and are mainly found in Cotabato City.

The Maguindanaoan produce various inaul handwoven fabrics, using the pedal-frame loom. The most popular of these is the malong, which is the tubular garment covering the entire lower half of the wearer—both men and women alike. The inaul weavers are knowledgeable in both the continuous and discontinuous supplementary weft design techniques. There are also those who specialize in the binaludan tie-dye resist or ikat design technique.

The binaludan weavers commonly use aniline dyeing material nowadays, but still there are those who use natural dyeing materials, including mud as a hue-vivifying element. The main yarn materials for weaving the malong are cotton, rayon, and silk.


South Cotabato

On valleys, the T’boli practice dry-rice agriculture. The fibers, stripped from the sheaths of the female abaca, are used as the main material for weaving the t’nalak, which is the traditional textile product of the T’boli women, using the backstrap loom.

The T’boli are adept in craft production. Aside from the t’nalak, they do metal craft, making such things as belts with a myriad of tiny bells, intricate ornamentations on the hilt of their big knives, and small figurines that are all done in the lost-wax method. They make blouses of commercial cotton cloth ornamented with designs that are done in cross stitch or cut and sewn colored cotton cloth attached in appliqué. Other ornamentations are tiny beads or mother-of-pearl sewn along the hemline and neckline, forming two-inch-wide weighty decorations.

Placing offerings—combs, blouse, malong beads, belt and scarf, woman’s outfit, a goddess’s attire


Zamboanga City and Basilan

The versatility of Yakan women in backstrap weaving has been sustained. The Yakan clothing ensemble—from the head cover square cloth (called saputangan for the women and pis for the men), to the wrap-around cloth (pinantupan) for women and the trousers of the sinaluan design identical in form and cut for both genders–are all produced on the backstrap loom.

The display of traditional attire is most evident during festive occasions such as the Lamilamihan. All participants, which include government officials, teachers, students, and community members, wear the Yakan traditional clothing. In Yakan rites, too, such as weddings and the pagtammat, or Quranic graduation, the Yakan traditional attire is worn.

Young weaver, Analisa Calamaddin, shows interest in weaving a Yakan cloth with warp float designs while an elder looks on.

Travel and find your true self

Traditional textiles, along with innovations on them, are reflections of our identity. Seek out these local crafts, cherish their innate creativity, and, hopefully, when you return home, you will better know who you are. 

As you traipse around the country, be sure to share your experiences of your own textile travels to complete the HABI Trail. Send your stories, pictures, and videos to support@habiphilippinetextilecouncil.com.

Sharing new information stimulates cultural evolution.