Sunday, July 02, 2017

Inabanga’s Raffia Festival to keep tradition aliveLloyd Lancer Gonzaga

Scene: There were tears, loud cheers and embraces as Lloyd Lancer Gonzaga, the man accused of the murder of environmental lawyer Mia Mascariñas-Green, was arrested on Friday afternoon.   "I'm happy they made an arrest, it is a welcomed news to all of us who are seeking justice for her death," said Pat Ruiz, one of the convenors of the “Justice for Atty. Mia Kalinaw sa Bohol Movement, in an interview Saturday.  "However, our attention now be focused on how justice will finally be rendered to her death."   Amor Maria Vistal, a friend of Green, posted the Facebook, “God is good. God heard our prayers.”

Scene: Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel on Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and detaining the best friend of his wife on the night he allegedly took and killed Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel.

Seen: One of the candidates in Miss Bohol 2017 is always late. “She has the potential to get the crown. But of course, she has an attitude problem,” said a beauty pageant expert VRS.  “While other girls were having fun during the many activities, she missed it,” added VRS.    

The news about a funeral wreath left at the town’s cemetery scared many residents days before the Inabanga town would celebrate its fiesta on June 30.

Inabanga Mayor Josephine Jumamoy
spearheads the Raffia Festival. Courtesy: Ric Obedencio
The “fake news” about a possible bombing on the town fiesta also circulated in text messages and social media worried some residents to go home to celebrate the feast of St. Paul.

“That’s not true,” said Mayor Josephine Socorro Jumamoy on the “fake news” reported.

“Dili nata anang news nga dili tinuod. Let’s try to live a normal life. Let us try to be an instrument nga atong lungsod and province nga maglinawon. Let us do our share,” she said.

To prove that there was no threat, the town held the Raffia Festival Streetdancing on Friday afternoon as part of the town's fiesta.  It was participated in by 10 contingents clustered from the 50 barangays.

The dancers dressed in colorful costumes and props spread cheers.  They also proudly showcased raffia products during the street-dance competition.

Since, Inabanga town just launched the the public free WiFi hotspots, residents flooded Twitter and the social media with hashtag #IloveINB during the event.

Raffia, a natural fiber obtained from "buri" palm, is one of Bohol's leading showcases of its hand woven industry.

The festival aimed to enliven the raffia loomweaving industry which was affected by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and the infiltration of the Abu Sayyaf members on April 10.

The dancers proudly display raffia strips, locally 
called hulahula, during the Raffia Festival in
 Inabanga, Bohol province.  Courtesy: Ric Obedencio
Some of the weavers lost enthusiasm and interest to continue weaving due to the impact of the quake.  Eventually, the basket industry declined.

“Nahinay, nahilum.  Naapektuhan gyud.  So karun,  sugod ta, atong banhawun,” said Jumamoy.

Jumamoy said there were more than 1,000 individuals who were engaged in home-based raffia loom-weaving  spa in the 50 barangays of the municipality.

Now, at least 500 plant-based weavers are still making raffia.

Before the earthquake, Jumamoy said Inabanga’s raffia-based crafts have gained momentum and are now recognized worldwide.

She said a room at The White House was decorated with raffia.  She also said actress Angelina Jolie was also seen carrying a bag made of raffia designed from Inabanga.

“Raffia in Inabanga is 100 percent hand woven. That’s the beauty, it’s natural,” she said.

Some dancers and members of the Bohol media
 at the media wall inside the Inabanga gymnasium. 
Contributed Photo
Raffia fiber is stripped from dried young buri palm leaves, some dyed, others in their natural colors and woven by hand or modern looms.

Jumamoy said that loom weaving has been the most important cottage industry in Inabanga since Hispanic times.

She said during the Dagohoy uprising, woven cloths were made into uniforms for resistance fighters.

Through the years the weaving industry evolved and were sold locally as well as abroad.

Jumamoy said next year’s festival will be bigger and brighter. 

Slowly, the Inabanga weavers could feel the urge to keep the tradition alive and to move on despite the tragedy that struck them and their town.


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