Center front row DOST CAR Regional Director Dr Nancy Bantog and 2nd from right front row DOST Benguet Provincial Director Dr Sheila Marie Singa Claver together Day 1 Resource Speakers and local weavers back row

(Center, front row) DOST-CAR Regional Director Dr. Nancy Bantog and (2nd from right, front row) DOST-Benguet Provincial Director Dr. Sheila Marie Singa-Claver together with Day 1 Resource Speakers and local weavers (back row)

22 May 2021

Baguio City –The Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOST-CAR), through the Provincial S&T Center (PSTC)-Benguet, together with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Baguio, through the City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO), conducted a two-day capacity-building activity on May 19-20, 2021, in line with upgrading the local Loom Weaving industry through Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).

In her keynote message, DOST-CAR Regional Director Nancy Bantog encouraged the attendees—composed of local weaver groups—to keep on innovating with science and culture. “For every thread of effort for innovation, when woven in unity and beauty, it will surely produce a fabric of competitive, sustainable and inclusive growth,” she said.

Recognizing the niche weaving industry in the Cordilleras, DOST-CAR, as Chair of the Regional Research, Development and Innovation Committee (RRDIC) pushed for the creation of the Cordillera Weaving Industry Council as part of the strategy in the Cordillera Weaving Industry Development Plan (CWIDP) 2020-2028, a regional policy that envisions a creative, vibrant, sustainable and globally-competitive weaving industry advanced by a community of artisans and entrepreneurs for the benefit of the Cordillera people.

Likewise, it can be recalled that Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Dr. Bantog signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on March 10, 2021, of which DOST-CAR, through the PSTC-Benguet, and the Baguio City Local LGU will provide appropriate equipment for loom weaving as well as the implementation of capacity-building programs to develop new loom weaving products and designs in the locality. This collaborative project is a result of the initiative of Mayor Magalong and his desire to improve the loom weaving industry in as much as Baguio is also a Creative City.

Provincial S&T Director for Benguet Dr. Sheila Marie Singa-Claver echoed the establishment of Common Service Facilities (in Middle Quirino Hill and Cypress Irisan) for loom weavers and the Botanical Garden in Baguio City as a loom weaving showcase and marketing center where loom weaving products will be put on display to the public—for tourists and residents alike, all targeted to be operational within the year, especially after the pandemic.

Key resource speakers on Day 1 included Benguet State University-Department of Social Sciences Dean Stanley Anongos, who elaborated on Cultural Appropriation and the responsibility of designers to protect cultural meanings and beliefs behind ethnic designs when woven cloth are used for fashion; and Bayo Foundation Owner Anna Lagon facilitated a workshop with the loom weavers on Purposeful Design, giving the artisans advice on improving their craft.

On Day 2, renowned Inabel Fashion Designer Harvic Dominguez shared his insights and experiences in creating his own brand of clothing during the Training on Basic Fashion Design, together with event designers Charmaine Joy Guzman and Chai Ramos who discussed and demonstrated fashion design and marketing techniques to the participants.

Also present were former Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operating Officer Marie Venus Tan, CSWDO Head Betty Fang-asan, and Baguio City LGU Executive Assistant Marlene de Castro (representing Mayor Magalong) who reiterated fruitful partnership with DOST-CAR and local weaving groups: D' Dreamers Association of East Quirino Hill, The Conquerors Assoc. of Middle Quirino Hill, Inc., West Quirino Hill Women's Organization, Share Weaver Assoc. in Irisan, Bloom Weavers Assoc., Agape Weavers Assoc., and Blessed Hope Assoc.

DOST-CAR notes that these STI initiatives among stakeholders will continue to offer avenues on sustainable livelihood and promote possible partnerships among businesses, thus enhancing the weaving industry in the city and neighboring Cordillera towns.// For photos, click here: Christian Robert M. Sandoval