Maguindanao to revive ‘inaul’ industry

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 Jan) – The provincial government of Maguindanao will stage next month the Inaul Festival 2018 to revive its “dying” textile industry by promoting the century-old traditional tapestry of the Moro people in the province.

A Maguindanaon shows off an “inaul” during a trade expo in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by KEITH BACONGCO

Ayesha Dilangalen, tourism secretary for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), told reporters on Monday the province has lined up several activities for the visitors during the seven-day festival that will open on February 8 until February 14.

This is already the second staging of the Inaul Festival since last year. Around 10,000 people came to see last year’s festivities, with tourism revenues worth P20 million. Of which, P1 million came from the sale of inaul, a Maguindanaon word for “woven,” a unique fabric manually and meticulously woven mostly by Maguindanaon women weavers, according to Dilangalen.

For the festival next month, the provincial tourism office targets to surpass last year’s record by 10 to 15 percent.

The tourism official added the province has created economic activities by holding the festival that has helped most especially the women weavers of the province.

Dilangalen added that the stronger promotion on their traditional textile, including the Mindanao Tapestry Show in the city during the Miss Universe 2017 pageant, has increased the demand for the “inaul.”

Dilangalen added there are 15 women organizations in the whole province of Maguindanao engaged in “inaul.” Each organization has 30 weaver members.

She assured the safety of the visitors during the festival as the police and the military have prepared a security plan.

She claimed the people of the province feel more secured with martial law in Mindanao because the government has deployed more forces to secure the whole of ARMM.

Dilangalen said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law since May 23, 2017, has yet to confirm his attendance to the festival.

In a briefer, the tourism office said the “inaul” is more than a piece of textile used traditionally as a “malong” because the tapestry is considered “Bara-Bangsa,” a term synonymous to “royalty, dignity and nobility” among the Moro people.

“In the past, the use of ‘inaul’ in Muslim Mindanao was a status symbol and worn always with pride and respect,” it added.

The briefer said that “inaul” weaving has 20 designs, with the royal heirloom piece as the rarest because it is no longer produced.

Weavers could also make “inaul” using other methods such as “umpak,” “binaludto,” “panigabi” or “taro” and “binaludan,” also known as “ikat” to T’boli and tribes of the Cordillera, it added.

On February 8, activities will be Kapaginaul (weaving) Competition; launching and inauguration of Negosyo Center; Drum and Lyre Exhibition; and Palamata (talent presentation); “Sipa sa Manggis” (traditional sport) and Sagayan Competition (war dance) on February 9; Alugan sa Maguindanao (Cooking festival), cultural dance and drama competition, and Kambayuka (music) exhibition on February 10; Solo Ethnic Instrumental Competition, Kulintang Ensembles Competition, a night with Moro Idols on February 11; Kagkuya na Kalabaw (carabao race) and Palamata nu Maguindanao 2018 Coronation Night on Febuary12; Kagya na Awang (boat race), governor’s night with Inaul Fashion Show, and Maguindanao Singers Showdown on February 13; and Dindang sa Laban Competition, float design competition, and Kulay Music Festival. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)