Piña weaving in Aklan is an age-old tradition handed down from generations. In fact, Aklan is known as the Piña Fiber capital of the Philippines. Kalibo’s Piña cloth was said to be traded during the Pre-Hispanic times and reached as far as Greece and Egypt during it’s heyday.
There’s no finer and more elegant fiber for the Barong Tagalog than piña fabric. Known as the Queen of Philippine Fabric, the piña fiber is extracted by hand from the leaves of the native pineapple (piña). Each strand is painstakingly knotted by hand and loom woven manually to produce piña cloth that is soft, and usually in ivory color.
In addition to piña fiber, Aklan is also known to produce other natural fibers such as abaca and raffia.
In the past decade, the Provincial Government of Aklan in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and other stakeholders has implemented various programs and projects to modernize the natural fibers industry. Through product development, new product designs came out in the market, using a mix of the different natural fibers.
As a testament of the private-public sector partnership in support of the natural fibers industry, the 10th Aklan Piña & Fiber Festival was held last 20-26 April 2009. A trade exhibit was held at The Trade Hall in the Provincial Capitol Grounds showcasing Aklan’s best products.
Aninag, Aklan’s Indigenous Fibers Fashion Show was held last 23 April at the ABL Sports Complex, showcasing the creativity of local designers and couturiers. No less than Honorable Governor Carlito Marquez and the rest of the provincial division heads and heads of national agencies were the models.
Aklan’s Piña and other natural fibers have already woven their place in Aklan’s and the Philippines’ history. These fibers were silent witnesses in numerous weddings, special occasions and national events.
The industry was not spared from the onslaught of Typhoon Frank, but as strong and resilient as the piña fiber, the people of Aklan survived and kept the industry alive. With the continued support from the private and public sector, the old traditions of piña weaving will continue to be nurtured and handed down for more generations to come.