A new brand of hand woven apparel has been produced by members of the Suyo Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SMPC), ushering a new era for craft and folk arts in the town. In the Ilocos town, the new
collection is dubbed as “Namunganayan,” the hand woven fabrics and apparel are made from scratch by a
combination of Suyo elders and youth who have taken it upon themselves to revive the weaving industry which was started in the 70’s.

Namunganayan, translates to a return to origins, much like what was done by the SMPC, in their advocacy to revive the weaving industry in the town. The Municipality of Suyo, is a 4th class municipality in the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines. According to the 2020 census, it has a population of 10,766 people. Suyo is 101 kilometers from the provincial capital Vigan and 333 kilometers from Manila. Wikipedia In the old days, weaving in the community was made per household, not for commercial use, but for family needs only, with the family elder leading the creation of fabrics gifted to family members.

Locals say, it never took off and commercial production did not cross the minds of the producers during that time. Ilocos is known for traditional Ilocano handicrafts, like the “inabel” fabrics & “burnay” jars are folk arts with the “Abel” established as the traditional woven product of Vigan and the Ilocos region. But not all towns in the region take on weaving as an industry, Suyo as one of the areas where the industry was left idle for decades, venturing into other folk arts and economic endeavors.

Fast forward to 2022, when the SMPC decided to venture into weaving as an added facet of the cooperative, entailing the help of international photographer and designer, Eros Goze and a team of weavers and master tailors to mentor the pilot set of community artisans. For months the first set of tailors and weavers labored for months to study how to create weaves from thread and then cut and sew to transform the fabric into ready to wear apparel.

The Suyo Weavers and Tailors team completed the Phase 2 of what was dubbed as the “Cotton Project,” now with Goze at the helm of events, the artist- designer did not allow the feat of learning how to weave
and make wearable apparel to go unnoticed, so a fashion show was staged, to give thanks to the SMPC as well as to highlight the achievement of the team.

The otherwise simple graduation of the hand weaving and tailoring cotton project of the SMPC was transformed into the first Fabric Exhibition and Dinner Show of the town. A fashion show was alien to the Suyo municipality, but with the support of the SMPC and the magic of Goze, the first event to usher in the new venture of the cooperative was born. Models from the town were recruited, the Suyo Rondalla was also commissioned to accompany the First Namunganayan Fashion Show and the entire town saw how
members of the Cotton Project worked to make the show possible.

Over thirty ready to wear designs were displayed using the original weaves and designs of the SMPC Cotton Project team, giving the audience the surprise of their lives at the night of the fashion show. The faces of the locals showed a mix of pride and awe to the achievement that was made, a proud moment to the home gown success. The dinner fashion show was a first of its kind, it has become the compass to what the SMPC wants to achieve in the next years to come.

The weaving project will open the doors for more opportunities for its members as well as to make the town Suyo, go back to its weaving roots and make its distinct fabric known to the entire world! Kudos to the SMPC led by CEO, Arcano Romulus and Vice Mayor Samuel Subagan Jr. as well as the mentors, , Alvin
Taqueban, Joseph Sylvester Custorio, Mario Tapang, Jam Ahmed and the team of Evangeline Ariaga!
May the weaves of Suyo form the tapestry of the colorful future the endeavor holds!

Amianan Balita Ngayon